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09 Jan 17 20:28
Date Joined: 13 Oct 10
| Topic/replies: 12,539 | Blogger: tony57's blog
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Report frank60 January 9, 2017 9:13 PM GMT
Great article Tony, i have to admit im not the greatest fan of Bryan Cooper . ,i would rate him no better then good; Gigginstown is a ruthless operation that would think nothing of sacking anyone who they feel is not doing there job to there Satisfaction. I wouldn.t be surprised to see young   Jack Kennedy being there No 1 next season. Like the  article says along with the bad look with injurys Its isn’t easy being Bryan Cooper at the min.
Report CheltenhamRoar January 10, 2017 11:57 AM GMT
Be much easier for everyone if people would copy and paste the actual article instead of the link.
Report tony57 January 10, 2017 12:00 PM GMT

anyone interested in this job ..let me know im friendly with the boss....only people in ireland need apply.
Report tony57 January 10, 2017 12:11 PM GMT
yes frank..i thought it was a good hits home about the pressure the job brings, but the rewards are worth it?
Report workrider January 10, 2017 12:23 PM GMT
Gosh Tony, Ozy would be staggered, a Scouser offering someone a job....Laugh
Report norn iron January 10, 2017 9:26 PM GMT
It isn’t easy being Bryan Cooper

There is no such thing as an easy life for a jump jockey. Everyone is familiar with how fundamentally dangerous their pursuit is, but less appreciated are the day-to-day struggles of early mornings, strict weight management and endless driving around the country. All of these things contribute to make it a brutally-tough existence that yields precious little lasting reward for most of them.

Of course, some are worse off than others. It is natural to sympathise with the injury prone, those that struggle with their weight or those that simply don’t ride many winners. However, it is perhaps ill-advised to assume that those that have risen to a lofty position in the jump jockey ranks have it easier than those that are more obviously struggling.

Bryan Cooper is one to consider in this context. While the 24-year-old initially had a relatively clear run of it in terms of injuries after returning from a broken leg so severe that at one stage his doctor considered amputation in 2014, he hasn’t been as fortunate this season.

He suffered a lacerated liver and partially collapsed lung in a fall at the Galway Festival in late-July, broke his arm at Fairyhouse in October and most recently suffered a fractured pelvis at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve that is expected to keep him out of action for six weeks of what is a crucial part of a campaign.

However, Cooper is never likely to get too much sympathy for such setbacks. Injuries are an inevitability for jockeys, but unlike so many others in the weighing room, when he returns from injury he is assured that his high-profile job as the retained rider to Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud will be there for him and he will be straight back riding high-class horses.

That said, while that job is unquestionably one of the best retainers in all of National Hunt racing, it perhaps isn’t appreciated enough just how incredibly difficult and pressurised it must be.

There has arguably never been a large-scale National Hunt racing operation quite like Gigginstown. They have grown into one of the most significant ownership powers in the sport, one that has been crowned the leading owner in Ireland for three of the last four seasons, but what makes them unusual is the ruthless, business-like manner that their racing matters are managed in.

They make no apologies for being a results-based business and anyone that is not doing well enough for them will be removed from the fold. Their ever-evolving roster of trainers is perhaps the most public evidence of this, with their decision to remove their horses from Tony Martin and Sandra Hughes earlier this season being a demonstrative recent example.

While Gigginstown have not been anything like as quick to change their retained rider, the manner in which they deal with their trainers would be impossible for Bryan Cooper to ignore.
O'Leary and Cooper

Photographer Pat Healy captured a great image at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting (above) of Cooper chatting to Michael O’Leary, who was holding two cups of tea at the time.

Cooper’s heart might well have skipped a beat when he saw O’Leary coming in his direction with tea in hand, as almost three years ago to the day O’Leary had infamously invited Davy Russell to join him for a cup of tea before telling him that his seven-year run as Gigginstown’s retained jockey was over.

As far as we are aware, no such conversation took place this time around, but all joking aside, one can only imagine the pressure that Cooper feels in the position that he is in.

For him, it isn’t simply a case of doing his best to win on every horse he rides for Gigginstown, the pressure starts long before he gets the leg up at the racecourse. It is very common for there to be multiple horses representing different trainers in the Gigginstown silks in races from run-of-the-mill maiden hurdles all the way up to the biggest Grade 1 races and they are all there to do the best they can.

This may well be a wonderful thing for Irish National Hunt racing enthusiasts as it ensures far more competitive races than if Gigginstown sought to keep them apart, but it must be a source of immense pressure on Cooper. Rather than just having to worry about riding to the best of his ability, he also has to worry about making high-pressure decisions as to which horse to ride on a near daily basis.

Given the strength and depth of the Gigginstown team, even the best judge is certain to get it wrong on occasion. No matter how much a team player he is, watching horses that he has passed over win big races under other riders must be soul destroying for any competitor, never mind one whose employer is so results-based in his thinking.

The frustration and pressure can only be heightened when those Gigginstown horses that he has opted against go and win a big race under the guidance of a rider such as Jack Kennedy, as was the case in the Lexus Chase last month when Kennedy rode Outlander to victory as Cooper’s choice Valseur Lido languished back in fourth.

That result is only like to have been made harder to stomach given that Kennedy is very much considered a future Champion Jockey in the making and has already forged significant links with Gigginstown.

Any rider in Cooper’s position would be forgiven for looking over their shoulder with such a prodigious riding talent waiting in the wings behind him. With race-riding being a game in which confidence is so important, it would take a sportsman made of stone to be unaffected by such a situation.

The frustration is only likely to grow for Cooper, as he is likely to face another six weeks on the side lines with his fractured pelvis in which time Jack Kennedy will have first choice of the Gigginstown horses, a reality that has already seen Kennedy ride the Gigginstown-owned Death Duty to Grade 1 success at Naas on Sunday.

In a game that the expression “out of sight, out of mind” could well have been coined for, there is never a good time for a jockey to be injured, but missing the next six weeks or so will be especially tough for Cooper. These are the months that pecking orders are established and all-important evidence is gathered in advance of the season and indeed career-defining Cheltenham Festival.

Cooper will inevitably have to make some incredibly tough decisions as to which horses to ride at Cheltenham and not having the benefit of having ridden most of them in their prep races will only make them more difficult. Not to mention the fact that he will only have a few weeks a best to regain the peak fitness and confidence that comes with race-riding in advance of Cheltenham.

While Bryan Cooper may not be the most obvious candidate for sympathy given the struggles that so many less successful jump jockeys deal with every day, it would perhaps be unfair to consider him immune from such empathy due to his lofty position in the sport.

They say one never knows a man’s struggles until walking a mile in their shoes. While Cooper’s shoes may look pristine and desirable on the outside, it wouldn’t surprise if they are often the source of lame steps and sleepless nights.

Follow @kevinblake2011
Kevin Blake Blog Archive

    It isn’t easy being Bryan Cooper

   SORRY NO caps LOCKGrin
Report Catch Me ifyoucan January 11, 2017 1:32 AM GMT
Well done NORN - who thought you to type like that much easier on the eye Tongue Out
Report Pre-Fat-Low-Fat-Foods January 11, 2017 8:25 PM GMT
Blake is a bottom feeder, and an ugly one to boot.
Report Mordin. January 11, 2017 11:46 PM GMT
Is Kevin Blake becoming a full time journalist or is he still semi professional as depicted in his book?
Report Irish Whisper January 12, 2017 11:55 AM GMT
It takes a special kind of coward to insult someone from under a veil of anonymity. Come talk to my face if you have an issue and we'll work it out.

I have been a full-time journalist since 2010. Betting has always and still comes second to that.
Report Catch Me ifyoucan January 12, 2017 12:08 PM GMT
Hear, hear.
Report mrtopnotch January 12, 2017 12:38 PM GMT
Well said Irish Whisper
Report elvissss January 12, 2017 12:44 PM GMT
Kevin Blake always worth a read - talks a lot of sense unlike  most journos

Don't see what the problem is
Report roadrunner46 January 12, 2017 12:58 PM GMT
yes ive read his articles on the atr, always a very good read.
Report shogun January 12, 2017 1:40 PM GMT
Been a while since I posted here but.....
Haters be hating Kevin.. ye will never be truly rid of these ar$eholes!!
As ye said, its a special type of tramp hides behind a keyboard throwing insults.

Probably an habitual loser who lodged another €50 determined to be the next JP..
ignore the smell...

Report neill d January 12, 2017 2:11 PM GMT
Fair play Kevin.
Report frank60 January 12, 2017 3:09 PM GMT
I named Pre - Fat   The Potato Blight man of the betfair forum; spreading his Pioson with his nasty one liners and running away,I doubt Irish Whispers if he had guts to meet you or any one else he has Insulted.
Report CheltenhamRoar January 12, 2017 4:33 PM GMT
Pre fat has now been banned, unsurprisingly.
Report workrider January 12, 2017 4:59 PM GMT
Anyone who has even spoken to Kevin knows he's passionate about his racing and love of same,he has contributed many a excellent article on the subject, Pre -Fat on the other hand contributes nothing but Poison as Frank has pointed out.
Report wildmanfromborneo January 12, 2017 5:10 PM GMT
I didnt like Pre Fats comment but I don't agree with him being banned.

Kevin Blake is a good writer and that is an excellent article.
I've seen Kevin Blake on ATR and even the hard to please denizens of the horse forum were impressed,never afraid to oppose a favourite.
Report Joe Lampton January 12, 2017 5:19 PM GMT
Kevin is one of the very few who has raised issues that others shy away from and he has also carried out some very good analysis of various matters in terms of letting the numbers speak for themselves.

In terms of the most recent piece on Bryan Cooper I found it interesting. On a wider point about Gigginstown and it being run as a business I do feel this can often be a bit ruthless. Thats business some will say but is it always to the benefit of the horse? I'd welcome a statistical review of the leading trainers and owners in terms of how often horses are ran on average before they're cast aside...sorry sold on. The perception is that Gigginstown require a quick payback for their investment and this filters down to the trainers they engage. Of the top five trainers in Ireland it's noticable who has the highest average runs per horse ratio and the gap to the others can be fairly wide. This could be cross referenced to owners for further interesting numbers. To follow this through what happens to the horses that don't make it.........HIT sales etc.....but often there's little left as they been bottomed owing to the frequency they've been ran. I think there's a possible interesting piece in terms of following the stats all the way through to the actual horses that are sold on and what happens to them.
Report workrider January 12, 2017 5:33 PM GMT
Joe, some interesting points there,most owners no matter who want to be rid of their rubbish,Gigginstown are no worse than any other owner in that respect imo.The name of the game is to run your horses as often as possible and win as much as you can. Sentiment is practically non existent in the racing game, having said that some owners look after retired warriors excellently Gigginstown included .
Report Joe Lampton January 12, 2017 5:54 PM GMT
workrider, you'll likely remember the piece Kevin did that covered the perceived high frequency of last flight falls of Ruby Walsh mounts. What was good about his analysis was the near as could be be like for like comparisons and the caveats attached to what the raw numbers showed. He let the numbers paint the picture and it was well put together for anyone to draw their own conclusion. He merely laid out the facts in a clear well put together way and he's done it in other areas as well. Like I said above the numbers are interesting in terms of how often horses are ran for the top five and if cross referenced to owner more so.
Report mincer11 January 12, 2017 5:59 PM GMT
Gigginstown wouldnt know when they had enough eaten in relation to anything to do with horses. They even came out with dropping Valseur Lido back in trip after his defeat in the Lexus. Going for the Ryanair they said even though it would stay 4 miles if it had to.
The name of the game is most certainly not to run your horses as often as possible and win as much as you can. Run your horses as often as they do and very often you dont have a horse at the business end of the season.
As for looking after their warriors, you should tell that to First Lieutenant when he was running in Aghabullogue last Sunday.
Report CALLING CARD January 12, 2017 8:37 PM GMT
irish whisper started posting here some years ago as a would be reporter and has remained very inciteful in all his contributions.
as regards Gigginstown , Mincer Eddie o LEARY has been running one of the most successful pinhooking operation for a number of years and is very highly respected in the industry, racing wise they adopt a scatter gun approach and are very hasty in their decisions with regard to changing horses from trainers etc.
jockey wise they seem to need their own man at all costs and have moved from a has been dishonest man to a nearly man.
with the money they have at their disposal and the network they have in place they can do what they like and will outlast the like of RICCI etc
Report workrider January 12, 2017 8:38 PM GMT
Mince, why would you contend that V/lido would stay,if connections deem otherwise ?
Report CheltenhamRoar January 13, 2017 12:01 AM GMT
All Valseur Lido does is stay, typical of modern day connections, horse doesn't run up to expectations in a certain race and thoughts are immediately drawn to change trip, case in point been Cue Card most recently.
Report CustomCut January 13, 2017 12:26 AM GMT
I can't have Valseur Lido as a stayer after his finishing effort at Leopardstown. He travelled all over them from the word go at Down Royal too, never had to find anything for pressure. He might have been a stayer for Mullins but he looks different for De Bromhead. We all saw Viconte Du Noyer go from a 2 miler to a 3m3f horse after leaving De Bromhead, makes perfect sense to me that a horse he recruits is suited by a drop in trip. Sub Lieutenant another recruit of his that looks a lot speedier than he did for his previous yard.
Report mincer11 January 13, 2017 8:51 AM GMT
Calling Card
Eddie O Leary is respected by who exactly, by you is it ?
I know of four people who i would definitely respect who dont hold him in any kind of esteem at all, and thats not just a personality thing either.
They obviously have huge resources so its hardly surprising that they win lots of races.
As for referring to their former jockey as a has been dishonest man, well then its time to call time on engaging with you after that little beauty.
Clearly you have a dislike for the same rider and have some pre conceived idea that is inscribed by some losing bet at some time, but whatever about anyone being dishonest, and please could anyone point out any jockey who is not at some stage dishonest, the notion that he is a has been is completely wide of the mark.In fact he is riding better than ever in his career right now.

As for Valseur Lido, the horse wants soft to heavy ground, simple as that. Anyone who thinks he doesnt stay hasnt an iota about the game.
The day Ruby parted company with him in Leopardstown, he was staying that day wasnt he ?
In fact he'd be better at further than 3m and not less as last years Ryanair shows.
Report workrider January 13, 2017 9:44 AM GMT
Mince, did he not do the exact same thing in the Lexus as last year,came there pulling double then fell when looking all over the winner, this year came there full of running didn't fall,but found nothing.
Report winsamsoon January 13, 2017 9:49 AM GMT
He doesn't stay imo either, just taking your 2 examples, the day Ruby parted company, he looked like he was going to stay alright, but he didn't; he fell. I couldn't get that race out of my head this year, hence I had a good bet on him for the Lexus this year. He jumped the last in front but clearly was out stayed by 3 horses including the winner Outlander. There's no way Outlander beats Valseur Lido over 2m5f/2m6f.
Last year's Ryanair is probably the best performance of his career,  6l 2nd to Vautour, over 2m5f.
Report mincer11 January 13, 2017 9:57 AM GMT
Wonks, Ruby fell off him after a bad mistake, he was going to bolt in.
This year he was in real trouble by the time he got near the last fence, but it had nothing to do with stamina. The horse needs soft ground and actually excels on heavy. And quite possibly he wasnt right at Christmas either, as some of De Bromheads didnt perform great around the time.
He won in Down Royal over 3m so stamina is no issue .
The issue is that he's not really a top horse, maybe a bit like Djakadam in that he's about half a stone below the real top horses. Saying that hes a solid horse who can be competitive in any Grade 1 chase.
Report winsamsoon January 13, 2017 10:15 AM GMT
Just looking back over his form, the 3 times he has stayed or looked like staying, Ruby has ridden him. He's just different class when it comes to settling horses.
Report mincer11 January 13, 2017 11:56 AM GMT
Its irrelevant now anyway as Valseur Lido is finished and wont be in any race at Cheltenham this year or any other year.
Report kavvie January 13, 2017 12:37 PM GMT
may i ask why hes finished?.he seems a mass of contradictions to me.the ground maybe but im not convinced heavy would turn him into a stayer? you say at one stage he was going to bolt in one day?well most non stayers look like that?.ive no beef with you mincer and quite enjoy ur musings but the jockey in question has a bad reputation  deserved or rate him v highly as a jockey and to me hes second only to ruby..
Report kavvie January 13, 2017 12:52 PM GMT
im not up to speed ..sorry just hear bout valsur
Report neill d January 13, 2017 1:28 PM GMT
Pat Keane was saying as well he is convinced it is heavy ground that is the key to him and I'd tend to agree. Wouldn't be surprised to see him win the Hennessey if he gets his ground.
Report Arklearkle January 13, 2017 2:01 PM GMT
My belief is that if WM had his way he would have run Valseur in last years Gold Cup rather than the Ryanair
Report TellTheKing January 13, 2017 7:55 PM GMT
As alluded to above, i wouldn’t say that Giggy get too sentimental with their "old warriors". They only have kept onto a handful of retired horses. the majority of horses end up running in english p2p’s as far as i can see (though I’m sure they are generally well looked after over there).

As Del Boy would say, it’s all epidemic now re. Values Lido. My two cents is that the horse stays three miles fine and he just didn’t give his full running in Leop. He was weak when he should have been strong and it would be no surprise if he picked up the injury in the race. If you freeze the race after the last you couldn’t see him getting beat as far as he was.

As a general point, it’s hard to know what to make of the Lexus form. My view is that we have a lot of good horses about in ireland and very few real top notch stayers (Don Cossack was the exception). It’s been rare in the past number of years that the form between the various Grade 1 three mile chases held up in a season compared to the likes of Beef Or Salmon, Florida Pearl et al. since the turn of the millennium.
Report olddesperado January 13, 2017 11:22 PM GMT
Horses staying is a funny one really,

Ive always felt that a non stayer will struggle to get home in distances a few furlongs above their limit but the bigger the gap the better the chance they have.

A bit like the old adage a 2.5 miler for the grand national,

The reason being their cruising speed puts stayers under pressure and the longer the race the slower the finish so the non stayer is at less of a disadvantage plus he might have burnt off a few anyway with his superiour pace mid race.

In summary while Valser might have struggled in top class races over 3 to 3 1/4 he might have been very good at 3 mile 5 or further with his cruising speed,
Report CheltenhamRoar January 13, 2017 11:47 PM GMT
Bit like Gilgamboa in the national last year!
Report olddesperado January 14, 2017 12:16 AM GMT
Gilgamboa is a very interesting horse chelts,

Decent run in the paddy power off top weight for 4th where he was the only  horse to carry 11 plus in the first 10 or so and travelled well from memory.
Dissapointing in the irish GC in what looked a poor renewal but then upped again he put in his best ever performance where again and ive just checked he was  4th and the only horse carring 11 plus in the top 15 on soft ground 2 at aintree.

They were his only runs above 21 furlongs .
Report CheltenhamRoar January 14, 2017 12:32 AM GMT
He's a very decent horse, travelled like a dream in the national last year (I backed him) but found little from 2 out, I think he's a stayer though so maybe with another year experience under his belt he can be a contender, pretty sure his seasons is been geared up for the big one at aintree
Report olddesperado January 14, 2017 12:34 AM GMT
They have gone back to 2 mile with him and he reminds me a lot of papillion but he does seem to need soft and carrying 11 plus again if he gets soft will be very hard so its a case of damned if you do and all that.

Probably his only hope would be if a really top class one held their ground and let him in with a chance.

I suppose he has the right owner to make that possible.
Report G Hall August 9, 2017 8:05 AM BST
Report Catch Me ifyoucan February 11, 2020 9:42 PM GMT
Report kincsem February 19, 2020 2:15 PM GMT
Nice to see Kevin reads the thread and offered to discuss the matter. Cool
Report punchestown February 19, 2020 7:21 PM GMT
That Bryan Cooper article a great read.
Report Catch Me ifyoucan February 19, 2020 7:22 PM GMT Devil
Report Catch Me ifyoucan February 19, 2020 7:22 PM GMT
weighed-in-episode-three-racing-in-saudi-arabia-social-media-trolls Devil
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