Thursday 14 December 2017

Cooper breaks leg for second time

Bryan Cooper broke his leg while racing in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Bryan Cooper broke his leg while racing in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Jockey Bryan Cooper suffered a broken leg for the second time in less than year when taking a crashing fall at Cheltenham.

Cooper, who is retained rider for powerful Irish owners Gigginstown House Stud, fell at the second-last flight aboard the Gordon Elliott-trained Clarcam in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

He was taken to hospital where he was expected to undergo surgery on Wednesday evening.

The highly-rated rider had been due to partner Last Instalment in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

He will be replaced in the blue riband of steeplechasing by Brian O'Connell, who steered the Philip Fenton-trained nine-year-old to victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month.

Gigginstown racing manager Eddie O'Leary said: "He's broken his tibia and fibula.

"He's had quite a bad break and is having surgery this evening, hopefully.

"It's the same leg he broke last year, but it's lower down this time."

Cooper only returned to action in September after breaking his leg at Down Royal in May, and is expected to be out for up to six months.

The 21-year-old jockey shot to prominence last season when he secured three winners at the Cheltenham Festival.

He then added two further Grade One triumphs a month later at Aintree.

On immediate jockey plans, O'Leary said: "It will revert back to Brian O'Connell for Last Instalment. He won on him in the Hennessy and rides for Philip Fenton.

"Brian will ride Rule The World in the World Hurdle, David Casey will ride Rathlin in the Ryanair and Davy Russell will ride Mozoltov in the JLT (Novices' Chase)."

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