Cooper bedevilled by further injury
Jockey beset by another setback as he will be out for 6-8 weeks due to broken pelvis
Jockey Bryan Cooper was last night recovering in his County Kildare home but facing into the prospect of a further eight weeks out of action with a broken pelvis.
Instead of toasting a year that saw him win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Don Cossack in March, Cooper spent New Year's Eve in Blanchardstown Hospital following a fall from the Joseph O'Brien-trained Arkwrisht in the beginners' chase at Punchestown on Saturday.
Despite winning the most prestigious race in National Hunt racing for his retainer, Gigginstown House Stud, Cooper has had a luckless run with injury and his broken pelvis is the latest serious setback for the 24-year-old.
The Kerry native recalled: "When I had my fall at Punchestown, I felt sore, but I didn't think it was much more than that when I walked into the ambulance.
"I didn't feel that bad at the time, and I thought it was just a bang on a leg that I had broken before, and on my lower back, but the doctors at the course were keen to send me for an X-ray and it wasn't a nice thing to find out that I had actually fractured my pelvis."
The extent of how long Cooper is expected to be out of action for will become somewhat clearer later in the week when he meets with his surgeon, Dr Paddy Kenny.
"My specialist wasn't around and I am going to see him in person on Friday, but they emailed the X-rays to him, and the initial prognosis is that I will be out for about six to eight weeks.
"But I will know more on Friday and hopefully I will be able to start my rehab straight afterwards."
During the summer, Cooper had a pin taken out of his right leg that he had previously broken, but returned in time for the Galway Festival, although that return to action was short-lived as he was unseated from Tiger Roll in a novice chase on Galway Hurdle day and suffered a small laceration of his liver and a partially collapsed lung.
Cooper returned in September but in October he broke his arm after a fall from Ball D'Arc at Fairyhouse in a beginners chase.
Despite that injury woe since the summer months, Cooper enjoyed big race success last week in the Ryanair Hurdle aboard Petit Mouchoir for Henry de Bromhead and Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud, and he was also onboard Apple's Jade for Gordon Elliott when winning the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
He has ridden 31 winners in Ireland so far this season and should be back well in time for the Cheltenham Festival, providing early assessments of his injury prove accurate.
Cooper's first ride of the new year was due to be on the Gordon Elliott-trained Woods Well, who went on to prevail in the opening maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Keith Donoghue deputised on the bumper winner who was seven-and-a-half lengths too good for his nearest rival, Gettysburg Address, with odds-on favourite C'est Jersey only able to finish third in the stamina testing ground at the Meath track.
Elliott's lead over Willie Mullins in the trainers' championship remains at just short of €200,000 with no Irish jump racing until Cork on Saturday.
The champion trainer had just one winner yesterday with Next Destination justifying favouritism in the last under his son, Patrick, but New Year's Day was a memorable one for David Mullins who enjoyed a treble at Tramore, including the feature listed chase on Champagne West.
Henry de Bromhead, who had an across-the-card four-timer, trained Champagne West who made all to score an emphatic 12-length victory over Roi Des Francs.
De Bromhead's double at Tramore was instigated by the Mullins-ridden Adreamstillalive, while the Fairyhouse brace came courtesy of Montana Belle and Balko Des Flos, who were both ridden by Dylan Robinson.