Aidan Coleman in line for Coneygree ride at Haydock
Richard Johnson could still take ride on Gold Cup winner if Menorah declared a non-runner
Aidan Coleman is in line to partner Coneygree at Haydock on Saturday. Photograph: Getty/Alan Crowhurst
With regular rider Nico de Boinville on the sidelines, champion jockey Johnson had been first choice to partner the 2015 Gold Cup winner on his much-anticipated return to action.
However, Johnson has been claimed by his boss Philip Hobbs to ride Menorah in the same race.
But with plenty of rain forecast, connections may decide the ground is unsuitable and withdraw him from the Grade One on Merseyside.
Should that be the case, Coleman has been informed by Coneygree’s team that Johnson will take over aboard the nine-year-old.
Sara Bradstock, assistant trainer to her husband, Mark, said: “Basically, Aidan Coleman will be declared to ride Coneygree.
“We’re of the understanding Richard is riding Menorah but if for any reason Menorah doesn’t run then Richard will step in.
“Aidan is fully aware of the situation and is fine with it.”
The British Horseracing Authority said on Thursday morning that the Bradstocks would be allowed to make the proposed change under the rules of racing.
Coneygree and Menorah are two of seven declarations for the first Grade One in England this season.
Cue Card, already twice a winner of this race, will aim to continue the great recent form of trainer Colin Tizzard.
Another dual winner is the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti, with his first victory in the race arriving four years ago.
Seeyouatmidnight will aim to become the first northern-trained winner of the race as he represents Borders handler Sandy Thomson.
His jockey Brian Hughes will also be full of confidence after a five-timer at Musselburgh earlier in the week.
Irish Cavalier, who beat Cue Card in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, meets that rival on 4lb worse terms.
There is even French interest this year with Emmanuel Clayeux sending over Vezelay.
God’s Own and the Gordon Elliott-trained duo of Outlander and Roi Des Francs were withdrawn at the final declaration stage.