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Cooper gets Listowel target date for return

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Jockey Bryan Cooper

Jockey Bryan Cooper

SPORTSFILE

Jockey Bryan Cooper

The Turf Club's chief medical officer, Dr Adrian McGoldrick, is predicting that rising star Bryan Cooper – who suffered a broken leg when falling from Tepalo at Down Royal on Monday – will be back in the saddle ahead of the Listowel Harvest Festival in September.

Five spectacular wins at Cheltenham and Aintree, including memorable Grade Ones on Our Conor, First Lieutenant and Special Tiara, highlighted Cooper's status as one of jump racing's most precocious riding finds.

However, the 20-year-old's whirlwind year came to an abrupt halt when Tony Martin's Tepalo crashed out at the fifth fence at the northern venue. Cooper underwent surgery on a fractured left femur yesterday morning, and McGoldrick is optimistic that the Tralee native will be fighting fit in time for his local festival.

"While it is a nasty injury, unfortunately it is a common injury," he explained. "It should be four months at most. He should be back in time for Listowel."

Listowel's seven-day gala gets under way on September 15, when Dessie Hughes' stable jockey will be starting from scratch, having drawn a blank since the new season began last week.

Meanwhile, with the Epsom Derby on June 1 confirmed as the next stop for Jim Bolger's brilliant 2,000 Guineas hero Dawn Approach, the picture for the premier colts' Classic will begin to take real shape from here on.

Aidan O'Brien, who has conceded that winter ante-post favourite Kingsbarns is unlikely to be ready in time for the 12-furlong Group One, relies on Ruler Of The World in tomorrow's Chester Vase, a Group Three that he won two years ago with Treasure Beach, which was subsequently only just nosed out by Pour Moi at Epsom.

Rule Of The World won tidily on its Curragh debut last month. He is a top-priced 25/1 for the Derby, although, of Ryan Moore's mount's four opponents tomorrow, only the John Gosden-trained Feel Like Dancing also has an entry in the big race.

On Saturday, O'Brien has Nevis in the Lingfield Derby trial, but Sunday's Derrinstown Stud-sponsored test will be far more informative.

Ballysax Stakes victor Battle Of Marengo, second favourite for Epsom at around 11/2, will bid for a fifth win on the spin in the Leopardstown Group Two, with Bolger's unbeaten Loch Garman, successful in the Criterium International when last seen at Saint Cloud in November, among 11 potential rivals.

With Ballydoyle likely to pitch a number of runners in against Dawn Approach at Epsom, it is interesting to note that Frankie Dettori has been riding out at the famous Rosegreen establishment this week.

After the Italian's long-standing association with Godolphin was revealed to be over in the autumn, he received a surprise call up to ride Camelot in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe when Joseph O'Brien couldn't do the horse's allocated 8st 11lb weight. The 19-year-old champion jockey continues to fight a difficult battle with the scales.

As a result, the presence at Ballydoyle of Dettori – who is preparing for his return from a six-month drugs ban on May 20 – will inevitably lead to speculation that, not only could he have a role to play for the stable at Epsom, but also beyond.

At Longchamp on Sunday, the two French Guineas will take place, with O'Brien responsible for Festive Cheer, Gale Force Ten and Flying The Flag in the colts' Group One. Bolger has left in Loch Garman, Leitir Mor and Trading Leather. Tommy Carmody's Fort Knox completes the Irish entry, though he will miss the race in favour of the Irish 2,000 Guineas on May 25 after being purchased by Sheikh Mohammed.

Dermot Weld, who has confirmed that his top-class stayer Rite Of Passage is on course to return in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown next month ahead of a likely bid to regain the Gold Cup that he won in 2010 at Royal Ascot, has put Big Break in the fillies' mile Classic.

Irish Independent