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Cheltenham: The hidden gold in Cooper’s Gigginstown assessment

| 03.03.2015

Gigginstown’s number one jockey Bryan Cooper is clearly a man to heed after the Tralee native’s 2013 Cheltenham Festival victories in the Triumph Hurdle, Jewson Novices’ Chase and County Hurdle, when just 20-years-old.

A few broken limbs since, including on the second day of last year’s Festival, had curtailed Cooper’s progress following his elevation to retained jockey at the Westmeath operation, but he has been back among the big winners this term, most notably in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase with Road To Riches.

That Noel Meade runner got a mention with a couple of other recent head-turners in Cooper’s column for racingfx.co.uk:

“They’re all in good form and it’s just a case of keeping them ticking over in the run-up to Cheltenham.

“The ones I’m really looking forward to at the moment are Don Cossack, Road To Riches and No More Heroes.

“They should all go there with great chances, while Outlander and Tell Us More are also great rides to have, but there is no final plan with them yet. The Neptune looks the obvious race for Outlander.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing to take from this list is the absence of Don Poli, favourite for the RSA Chase and the National Hunt Chase.

The only logical explanation is that Don Poli will line up in the latter, which is for amateur riders only. If/when this is confirmed, the six-year-old’s 4/1 odds will quickly melt away.

Of Cooper’s named quintet, Don Cossack is an outstanding 3/1 candidate for an RSA Chase not exactly brimming with in-form horses, after four wins from four this year including a comfortable Grade 1 triumph over 2014 Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere, among others.

At a slightly bigger price, Cooper’s near-confirmation of Outlander’s plans makes the five-time winner of huge interest at 6/1 for the Neptune.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune