Aidan Coleman was born in Innishannon, Cork in August 1988, to a family not associated with horse racing. Both of his parents were teachers but, growing up in Cork, he was surrounded by horses. As a teenager he showed a natural aptitude for riding and that led to him becoming interested in a career as a jockey. He started out race-riding in 2007, the same year his older brother, Kevin, won the Galway Plate.
He moved to the United Kingdom in 2007 and was taken on by trainer Venetia Williams, following a recommendation from Henrietta Knight. He immediately started to make his mark in the sport, showing great natural talent and horsemanship.
In 2008 he became one of the youngest jockeys to ever ride in the Grand National, riding ‘Mon Mome’ to a tenth place finish at the tender age of 19. At the same meeting, he rode his first big winner when he led ‘Stan’ to victory in the Red Rum Chase. That was part of a successful first season riding that ended with him being named top conditional jockey in the UK for the 2007-08 season.
He has continued to make steady progress in his career, showing some flashes of brilliance, and is undoubtedly one of the rising stars in the sport. He is a dependable and skilled jockey that always gives his all in every race.
In 2009, off the back of a brilliant start to his career, he signed a sponsorship deal with TV channel Racing UK. That meant Coleman wearing their logo whilst riding and he in turn would be given good media exposure.
Success hasn’t come gift wrapped for Coleman and he has had to work hard for every victory he has achieved during his career so far. Currently at just under 700 overall winners in what is his tenth full season, he is still looking for that big break or great horse to push him on to the next level.
He has become increasingly more successful as his experience and reputation grows, with 2013/14 being a big year for him. He finished that season with 97 winners over the jumps in the UK and amassed total prize money of over £1million for the first time. The following season he fell just short of that mark but it was still classed as a successful campaign for him.
His most successful season to date has been the 2015/16 campaign, in which he rode 130 winners over the jumps in Britain and accumulated overall winnings of £1,375,705. He also rode 112 second places and 103 third places in a season that saw him really come to the fore in British jump racing.
In September 2015, Coleman hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he was attacked after a meeting at Southwell. The assault led to him suffering injuries to his face, including chipped teeth and a bloodied nose, but it wasn’t enough to deter him and he returned to the saddle the next day. After the incident, carried out by a group of intoxicated people, there have been calls for increased security and better crowd control at race meetings.
The Irishman is yet to win a Group/Grade One race in his career but has ridden several big winners. These include ‘Emperor’s Choice’ in the 2014 Welsh Grand National and victories at both the prestigious Cheltenham and Aintree Grand National festivals. With his natural talent never being questioned and his experience and reputation growing, it can only be a matter of time before he lands a winner at the top level.
At just 27 years of age, Aidan Coleman still has several years ahead of him to fulfil any ambitions he may have and it would be no surprise to see him as champion jockey within the next few seasons.