Tralee's Bryan Cooper added another important win to his fabulous CV - to go alongside recent wins at Cheltenham and Aintree - with a terrific victory on Grey Gold in the 2ml2f novice chase at the final day of the record breaking Irish National Hunt festival at Punchestown on Saturday.
English trainer Richard Lee enthrusted Cooper with the mount, and he rode the perfect race. Closing to dispute three out, he soon went to the front and, jumping well, led at the last where the challenging Aup Charlie fell, leaving him to win in splendid isolation from Michael Dhaguenet, for his 63rd win of what has been a brilliant season for him.
Tralee native Dick O'Sullivan, the General manager of Punchestown, said at the conclusion of the meeting: "We had our best entry ever. The meeting started with Sprinter Sacre on Tuesday, and anybody that came will never forget the reception he got from the patrons, who were 10 deep around the parade ring, before and after the race. Hurricane Fly was awesome in winning the Roebank Champion Hurdle on Friday.
"In general it was a brilliant week, with our attendances up every day. Tuesday was our biggest attendance, but Saturday (was) family day, with another huge attendance of almost 25,000 patrons plus 6,500 children. Our total attendance for the week was 101,745 patrons, which included 20,000 from the UK. English champion jumps trainer Nicky Henderson summed it all up when he said Tuesday was the most memorable and enjoyable day he ever had racing."