Irish ace Bryan Cooper in action at Worcester on Monday

Bryan Cooper begins a new chapter in his riding career with one ride at Worcester on Monday.

The leading Irish rider suffered a major blow earlier this summer after losing the job as number one rider to Gigginstown House Stud, for whom he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Don Cossack.

With opportunities on home soil having been thin on the ground, media speculation on Friday suggested Cooper could be about to make move to ride in Britain, but he released a statement saying "there are no significant agreements in place at this time and I will continue to be based in Ireland.

"I have been asked to take up riding opportunities in the UK, and feel privileged to have been approached by a number of owners and trainers.

"Any further announcements will be made as and when appropriate."

Cooper travels across the Irish Sea to partner the Harry Whittington-trained Guiding Star, who is part-owned by Andrew Brooks, in the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber Of Commerce Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race.

The four-year-old is making his second competitive start having finished down the field on his only previous appearance at Huntingdon last November.

Whittington said: "I think the plan is for us to train nine horses for Andrew this season and I believe the plan is for Bryan to come over and ride his horses when he is available.

"Bryan was in the yard earlier in the week and had a sit on Guiding Star and few other horses owned by Andrew. His feedback was top class and having him around can only be a good thing. It's exciting.

"We ran Guiding Star in a junior bumper last year. He hadn't been in long, but he'd shown ability. He was just too green and too free and it was too soon for him.

"I told Andrew we'd give him plenty of time and I'm hoping he'll run well tomorrow."

Whittington is planning to have two runners for Brooks at Market Rasen on Saturday week and expects Cooper to ride both.

"Fou Et Sage is a really nice horse who was with Dan Skelton and then went to France and then came to me," Whittington added.

"He put it up to Double W's over fences at Wetherby last season and then he had a couple of problems so we had to give him some time off.

"All being well he'll go to Market Rasen for the Listed handicap hurdle.

"We also have a nice bumper horse by Arcadio called Simply The Betts. He's actually entered at Newton Abbot on Friday but I think he'll probably go to Market Rasen as well and, all being well, Bryan will be over to ride the two of them."


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