Bryan Cooper, ambassador for Racing FX, who provide foreign exchange and payment services to the equine and sports industries, gives his thoughts on his weekend rides and some of his best Cheltenham chances.
“It’s been a busy week and I’ve been schooling plenty, trying to sit on as many horses as I can. They’re all in good form and it’s just a case of keeping them ticking over in the run-up to Cheltenham.
“I was at the big preview night in Waterford last night and it was great fun. There was a really good panel and there was plenty of banter, not least from Davy Russell.
“It was a real pity that Mark Walsh got injured at Thurles yesterday as he’s been having a great season. You have to take the ups and downs in this game. The jockeys’ title is going to be very difficult for him now, but he wasn’t home and hosed anyway as Ruby [Walsh] and Paul [Townend] are going to get some fantastic rides from Willie [Mullins] at this time of year.”
Bryan on his weekend rides
“It’s a low key weekend and I’ve got two rides at Leopardstown tomorrow. FORT SMITH (1.35) will probably be the bookies’ favourite, but he has a habit of getting himself beat. I’d say he’d be better off in a handicap than a maiden hurdle, but his form is rock solid and hopefully one day he’ll put his head in front.
“FINAL GIFT (4.25) has won his last three point-to-points and I’ve never ridden him before. I don’t know much about him to be honest, but you’d always respect runners from this yard.
“I’m at Navan on Sunday and my first ride is on DALLAS COWBOY in the maiden hurdle (2.50) for Gordon [Elliott]. This is the first time I’ve ridden him and he’ll be well up to winning a maiden at some point.
“AZORIAN (3.50) ran well the last day and he’s had his wind done since then. He should be good enough if getting his jumping together and this looks a nice opportunity.
“NO SECRETS (4.20) has his first start for Tony Martin in the veterans chase. He’s come over from David Pipe and he has some good form in the book. I’m not sure if Tony has improved him at all, but he’s a seasoned handicap chaser and he’d be capable of running a very good race.”
Bryan on some of the rides he’s looking forward to at Cheltenham
“At this stage final plans are still to be decided and we don’t know yet exactly where every horse will run.
“The ones I’m really looking forward to at the moment are DON COSSACK, ROAD TO RICHES and NO MORE HEROES. They should all go there with great chances but I’m not nominating one as my best ride as that’ll probably get them beat!
“OUTLANDER and TELL US MORE are also great rides to have, but there is no final plan with them yet. The Neptune looks the obvious race for Outlander.
“I’ll have more of an update on my Cheltenham rides next week.”
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