The Tralee jockey suffered the horror injury when falling two out whilst on the Gordon Elliott-trained Clarcam in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on Wednesday.
“It’s what we call a compound fracture,” said Dr Adrian McGoldrick yesterday. “It came through the skin, but there were multiple fragments, which is the nature of a fall at that speed. It’s very much like you see with motorcyclists who come off motorbikes at high speed.”
Cooper was transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where he is expected to stay for somewhere between one week and 10 days. Assuming there is no infection, he will then be transferred home to Ireland.
“I was with him [Thursday] evening,” said Dr McGoldrick. “His primary surgery went very well. Mr Curran, who is a fantastic surgeon at Gloucester, operated on him. They cleaned it and stabilised the leg.
“They did an angiogram to test his circulation which was perfect and then he was transferred to Frenchay [Thursday] evening for further surgery [Friday]. He’ll have an external fixator put on and he’ll have bone grafting done to stabilise his leg.
“It will be very much the same type of procedure that Ruby Walsh had done in Belfast following his fall in Down Royal [in November 2010]. I would expect that we will have him followed up by Mr David Moore in Tallaght Hospital who is the Irish expert in that area.”
The nature of the injury has inevitably led to speculation as to the length of time the young jockey will face away from the saddle but McGoldrick was quick to rule out the more pessimistic of the rumours which spoke of a career-threatening situation.
“It’s much, much too early to say,” he said when asked specifically for a time-frame. “It’s a very nasty injury.
“We’ll have some idea after the secondary surgery [performed last night] but even then he’ll obviously have to have X-rays over the next couple of months to see how the bone’s heeling and then we’ll have a better idea of how he is doing.
“But he will be back racing, that’s the bottom line.”