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Cooper suffers highs and lows

THE rollercoaster life of being a National Hunt jockey was demonstrated by Bryan Cooper on Monday.

Following the high of riding Cheltenham and Aintree Festival winners, and earning many headlines in the process, the Kerry pilot suffered a nasty fall at Down Royal which left him with a broken femur, an injury that is set to rule him out for four months.

Cooper enjoyed the elation of riding his first Cheltenham winners when Benefficient caused an upset in the RSA Chase, followed by Our Conor's rout of the Triumph Hurdle and a magnificent week was capped off by Ted Veale winning the County Hurdle for Tony Martin.

It was Martin, who trained Benefficient also, who Cooper was riding for on Monday and as crushing a blow as it is for Dessie Hughes' stable jockey, in light of recent events with some of our other jockeys, he can look forward to a return and at just 20, he has plenty of big days still ahead of him.

Cooper tweeted on Monday night: "Thanks for all the messages. Broke my left femur so having an operation in the morning also thanks to all the staff at Down Royal for their help."

And dramatically on the same day, champion point-to-point rider Derek O'Connor also suffered a fall at Dawstown which resulted in him breaking his left tibia and he faces 8-10 weeks out of action and therefore will miss the remainder of the point-to-point season.

O'Connor leads Jamie Codd by 18 winners in the point-to-point leading rider race, but Codd himself has been sidelined since breaking his wrist at the end of March and faces a race against time if he is to try and close that gap.