Cooper relieved to be back

15 February 2017 19:16:39 GMTPlus10

Bryan Cooper is relieved to be getting back into action this weekend having been cleared to ride again by his specialist.

Last season's Gold Cup-winning jockey has been sweating on his fitness with this year's extravaganza in the Cotswolds now less than four weeks away.

Almost miraculously, just six weeks after sustaining a fractured pelvis in a fall at Punchestown, Cooper will be back in the saddle this weekend at Gowran Park and Navan.

Retained jockey for the powerful Gigginstown House Stud operation, Cooper would have been fearing the worst when he sustained his most recent injury, described as a freak one after his mount Arkwrisht stood on his pelvis after they parted company on New Year's Eve.

The 24-year-old is eager to get back, with the Gigginstown team in fine form of late while he's been looking in from the outside.

"I saw my specialist, Dr Paddy Kenny, [on Tuesday] and he's very happy with me and has cleared me to ride this weekend," Cooper said.

"It hasn't been that enjoyable watching from the sidelines but the good thing is the [Gigginstown-owned] horses have been running well and there's plenty to look forward to."

Cooper can be backed at 5.00 to be leading rider at next month's Cheltenham Festival and he's already relishing some of the potential big-name rides he'll have at Prestbury Park.

"It will be great to get back, and while plans are still fluid, I think Tombstone could run in the Red Mills at Gowran on Saturday. He would have it all to do to beat Jezki, but his comeback run the last day was very good and full of hope.

"On Sunday, Identity Thief will run in the Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan. I schooled him today and he's in great form, so we're hoping he can get his season back on track."

"There are plenty of darts to throw at the board over the next few weeks and I can't wait. Petit Mouchoir has been fantastic and you'd be looking forward to Death Duty too - there really are plenty."

Petit Mouchoir is a 7.00 chance to win the Champion Hurdle on the opening afternoon of the Cheltenham Festival while Death Duty is available at 3.25 to land the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle on 16th March.

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