Cooper set for quick return

Federici (right) and Adrian Heskin beats On The Shannon  to win the Handicap Chase at Thurles yesterday. Picture: Healy Racing

Bryan Cooper is expected to make a quick return to the saddle for the big weekend meeting at Fairyhouse despite suffering a fall at Thurles yesterday.

The jump jockey, retained by powerful owners Giggingstown House Stud, was stood down for the rest of the day following his tumble from Empire Of Dirt at the second fence in the Killinan Beginners Chase.

“He’s OK. He’s just sore after he got a kick on the leg,” said his agent Alan Donoghue.

“He’s hoping to make the Fairyhouse meeting on Saturday and Sunday, no bother.”

- Hot favourite Djakadam is among a field of 19 declared for tomorrow’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

Willie Mullins’ youngster will be attempting to create history as a five-year-old has yet to win the prestigious handicap.

It is also a race in which Irish-trained horses traditionally do not fare well, although Mullins did win the 2002 renewal with Be My Royal only for the gelding to be disqualified subsequently.

Djakadam is the only Irish representative in the historic race.

Heading the weights are Venetia Williams’ Houblon Des Obeaux and last year’s winner Triolo D’Alene for Nicky Henderson.

Others near the top of the handicap include 2013 runner-up Rocky Creek, David Pipe’s Ballynagour and Alan King’s RSA runner-up Smad Place.

Philip Hobbs’ Fingal Bay has his first run over fences for nearly two years, although he has won over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival in the meantime.

Oliver Sherwood’s Many Clouds will have plenty of supporters after a fine comeback win at Carlisle while Neil Mulholland’s The Druid’s Nephew has shown improved form for his new handler.

Dan Skelton’s What A Warrior has won both his starts since moving from Nigel Twiston-Davies while Anncacotty runs for Martin Keighley and was a Grade One winner as a novice last season.

Tony McCoy has returned from injury in time to partner Jonjo O’Neill’s Merry King, fifth in last year’s race. The Hennessy is one of very few major races the multiple champion has yet to win.

Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude will be ridden by Paul Moloney while Moloney’s boss Even Williams runs Wychwoods Brook, the mount of Adam Wedge.

Unioniste, Gary Moore’s Vino Griego and Via Sundown, Cheltenham Festival winner Midnight Prayer and Lucy Wadham’s Le Reve are the other runners

- Trainer Noel Meade is hoping he can finally get Monksland back on the track at Christmas after two years on the sidelines.

The talented performer has been dogged with niggly problems since winning the Christmas Hurdle over three miles at Leopardstown in December 2012.

“It’s been one little thing after another,” Meade told At The Races.

“Obviously the one thing we’re always worried about with horses is a leg or a tendon, but he’s never had anything like had. Instead he’s had a stress crack in a front tendon which held him up for a long time.

“We had him almost ready to go to Fairyhouse for the Hatton’s Grace and just as he started work, he started to go a bit sore behind.

“It transpires he had a kissing spine, so we had to treat that and that’s pushed us back now to Christmas.

“Hopefully we’ll have him out for Christmas, touch wood, if we keep going the right way.

“There are races for him to run in, it’s frustrating to see that we can’t get him out there to race but we’ll try to have him as fit as we can for Christmas.

“He belongs to the same owners as Apache Stronghold, so if he did go jumping fences he’d be running in the similar sort of races, so we’ve more or less decided we’d keep him over hurdles for the moment.

“He’s fine. He’s just very free. It’s hard to keep him settled and relaxed. Paul (Carberry) rides him most of the time and he gets on quite well with him. He’s a handful.”

- Jack Duern was handed a five-month suspension by the disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority following a referral hearing concerning continued misuse of the whip.

The apprentice’s ride on Lightscameraction, who finished second in the 20 Risk-Free Bet at Unibet Nursery Handicap at Wolverhampton on October 31, triggered the hearing as it was Duern’s fifth such offence, warranting a suspension of between two to six days, in the last six months.

He had also been referred to the BHA after a winning ride on Well Owd Mon in the Download the Coral App Handicap Stakes at Wolverhampton on November 22.

That was Duern’s fourth offence of misuse of the whip, warranting a suspension of seven days or more, in the last six months.


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