Kerry jockey Bryan Cooper announces his retirement from race riding with ‘immediate effect’

The Tralee man won nine races at the Cheltenham Festival including the 2016 Gold Cup aboard Don Cossack

Tralee jockey Bryan Cooper

Paul BrennanKerryman

Tralee jockey Bryan Cooper has announced his retirement from the saddle with immediate effect, saying he is looking forward to the next chapter in his life.

The 30-year-old from Farmer’s Bridge, just outside Tralee, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2016 aboard Don Cossack for Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud, but he had failed to reach similar heights since, with injuries playing a big part in curtailing his riding career.

In recent seasons Cooper – who enjoyed nine victories at the Cheltenham Festival – has rode winners for Paul Nolan, Willie Mullins and Joseph O’Brien, and was still regarded as a leading jockey on the jumps circuit.

Through a statement posted to his Twitter account this afternoon, Cooper said: "After much careful thought and consideration for some time, I am officially announcing my retirement from race-riding with immediate effect.

"I've been lucky to have had a wonderful career over the past 14 years as a jockey. To my family, owners, trainers and stable staff who have supported me throughout my whole career, I can't thank you enough for some incredible days.

"It is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me. Thank you, Bryan Cooper.”

Cooper, who is the son of trainer Tom Cooper, didn’t have a ride in Cheltenham last week, and his last ride was 12 days ago at Naas when he was unseated.

His most recent winner was on March 6 when he won a handicap hurdle at Leopardstown on board Wa Wa.

Gordon Elliott, trainer of Don Cossack, said via Twitter: "Happy Retirement @92bryan92. We've had some great days together. Best of luck for the future from all of us at Cullentra House Stables."