Darren Cleary
Darren Cleary

12.34 13 Mar 2019


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Bryan Cooper has revealed to OffTheBall.com that he will ride in the Gigginstown colours at this year's Cheltenham festival.

The jockey told Ger Gilroy that got he got a call from Eddie O'Leary on Tuesday and has agreed to take the ride on the Noel Meade-trained 'Cap York' in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (2.50pm) on Friday.

Cooper was sacked by the Gigginstown Stud from his post as retained rider in July 2017.

The Kerry man had been O’Leary’s main man since the start of 2014 and brought them the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Don Cossack in 2016.

Friday will mark the first time he'll ride for O'Leary at Cheltenham since Gigginstown axed him in 2017.

Explaining the decision at the time, they said: "Gigginstown plans to use the best available jockey (which will include Bryan) on a race-by-race basis this year and wishes to sincerely thank Bryan for his contribution to its success over the past four years."

Bryan Cooper lost his job as retained rider in 2017

Cooper was a guest on The Shot Clock with Kieran Donaghy when he revealed the news: "It's funny there, I got a phone call from Eddie O'Leary to ride for them on Friday.

"It's my first ride at Cheltenham since I lost the job, you never know it could rewrite the books here.

"It's great to be here once you're taking part, as I said you cant be turning down rides in Cheltenham either."

Journalist and Off The Ball contributor Johnny Ward is thrilled to see Cooper back in the saddle for O'Leary and hopes that he can land a winner: "He does ride for them now and then since he lost the job as top jockey.

"In fairness they've invested a lot of faith in Rachael Blackmore, Jack Kennedy and Davy Russell so on and so forth.

"The relationship between Cooper, Eddie O'Leary and Michael O'Leary wouldn't be anywhere near what it was but they're very pragmatic businessmen in the way they operate, they're quite fair I would argue.

"Bryan getting a ride on that horse, it does have a glimmer of a chance that race can be very attritional and can throw up some pretty odd results, what a story it would be if he could win it."


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