Cooper reinforced his reputation as a jockey to watch at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, riding First Lieutenant to success in the Grade 1 Betfair Bowl and guiding Special Tiara to victory in the Grade 1 Maghull Novices’ Chase. Although he rides regularly for his father, none of those victories came from his home stable. Instead, they were spread across four of Ireland’s leading trainers: Mouse Morris, Tony Martin, Henry De Bromhead and Dessie Hughes. What more proof would you need that this is a jockey going places?
Just as everything appeared to be on the up, fate took a hand in the form of a horse called Tepalo in a beginners’ chase at Down Royal on Monday. Tepalo fell, leaving Cooper with a broken femur in his left leg. It’s the sort of injury many jockeys will suffer at some time or other, and for Cooper, it means a summer on the sidelines. Adrian McGoldrick, chief medical officer for the Turf Club said, “While it is a nasty injury, unfortunately it is a common injury. It should be four months at most. He should be back in time for Listowel.” That’s in September, so Cooper will have that as his target.
His agent, Alan Donaghue said, “I’d say the contact with the ground did it and it’s a clean break. I spoke to him last night and he was in good enough spirits. Bryan has had an unbelievable season and everything had been going so well. It’s one of those things that happen.”
Cooper has done enough as a jockey to demonstrate that he has a long and successful career ahead, of him, and there are many people who have pronounced him an Irish champion jockey in waiting. This break is likely to be a minor irritant in his rise to the top.