Bryan Cooper pays tribute after tragic loss of Latest Exhibition

Bryan Cooper has issued a heartfelt tribute to Latest Exhibition in the wake of the fatal injury suffered by Paul Nolan’s stable star at Fairyhouse last weekend.

Cooper partnered the eight-year-old on nine of his 13 career starts, including a Grade One victory at last year’s Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Latest Exhibition went on to be beaten a neck by Monkfish in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and was runner-up to the same horse in two Grade One novice chases last term.

Latest Exhibition (left) in action against Monkfish at Leopardstown
Latest Exhibition (left) in action against Monkfish at Leopardstown (PA)

Nolan’s charge reverted to the smaller obstacles for the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, but it proved to be his final outing.

Cooper said: “Latest Exhibition came along at a very important time in my career. He really helped me to get back on the big stage.

“It was sickening what happened to him and we’ll miss him. They’re horses of a lifetime and you don’t come across them every week.”

Cooper has been in demand from a number of Ireland’s leading stables this season, riding regularly for Gordon Elliott, Noel Meade and Willie Mullins among others.

This weekend the jockey will be on board the Mullins-trained Asterion Forlonge in Sunday’s John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, a horse he steered to an impressive course and distance victory in April.

“Asterion Forlonge is a high-class horse who’s held in high regard in Closutton,” Cooper added.

“He didn’t have the rub of the green earlier on in the season last year, but things finished off on a high note and he couldn’t have been any more impressive.

Asterion Forlonge and Bryan Cooper in winning action at Punchestown
Asterion Forlonge and Bryan Cooper in winning action at Punchestown (Brian Lawless/PA)

“He’s back into Grade One company now and I’m looking forward to him – he’s an exciting ride.

“I’m trying to keep everybody happy and so grateful to be getting opportunities from everyone – from Gordon, Willie, the Nolans, Noel Meade, everyone. It’s a great position to be in.

“It’s great to be getting the opportunities but you have to be seen to be making the most of them as well, so you just keep working hard but it would be very special to win on John Durkan day at Punchestown, better again if we could win the big one.”

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