Cooper is rated a 1-5 chance by Paddy Power to take over the top spot at Gigginstown, but the young rider declined to comment when asked before racing at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day.
Gigginstown’s racing manager Eddie O’Leary revealed his brother Michael’s operation is yet to firm up a successor.
“We haven’t decided anything. We’re talking to a few and there’s no news yet. When we know, you’ll know,” he said yesterday afternoon.
Since Russell was informed by Michael O’Leary at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve he would no longer be the official number one to Ireland’s champion owners after seven years in the job, Cooper has been strongly linked with the role. Russell was in action at Tramore where he was runner-up on Roi Du Mee for Gigginstown in the feature Holden Plant Rentals Chase, before taking the Tom Carroll Memorial Handicap Chase on That’s The Dream for trainer Robert Tyner.
Cooper went one better in the Gigginstown colours when steering Lieutenant Colonel to victory in the New Year Maiden Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
He went on to complete a double for trainer Dessie Hughes on the JP McManus-owned Off The Charts in the Special Offers In Bobbyjo Bistro Handicap Hurdle.
Asked about the prospect of possibly losing Cooper as his stable jockey, Hughes said: “It would be a good job for him, but a big blow for me. It’s taken me four years to make him, he’s matured now and he’s at his best. Hopefully he would still ride for me as much as he can.”