Willie Mullins is threatening to become the Aidan O’Brien of Irish jumps racing i.e. all dominant (Picture: RacingTV)
Exclusive with jockey Bryan Cooper: Frankie Dettori has copied Lionel Messi in heading Stateside and young people won’t know what ITV is when new docu-series is released – it would be better on Netflix
Cooper was speaking to Boylesports who offer the latest Cheltenham betting markets, CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK
Bryan Cooper is a retired Irish jockey who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2016 and was considered one of the sports brightest talents before surprisingly calling it a day
Cooper believes the newly announced racing docuseries is a great idea – but it shouldn’t be on ITV
It was no surprise Frankie Dettori reversed his retirement – he’s following in the footsteps of Lionel Messi and David Beckham
Jumps racing is becoming the Willie Mullins show – but Michael O’Leary and Gigginstown are spending big again
Frankie Dettori is following in Lionel Messi’s footsteps – but maybe he dealt with things the wrong way before reversing his retirement
I thought he was maybe following in the footsteps of those higher echelon footballers, you know your Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, David Beckham, going off to live the glamorous lifestyle!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have that opportunity! I can see where he is likely coming from, he is still riding at the top level, yes he said he was going to retire but I know as a jockey that when you are still racing, you have that bug, it is very hard to give it up and walk away. Especially with Frankie after he rode those two winners at Ascot the way he did, he couldn’t have left it at that.
Yes, maybe he dealt with it in the wrong way when he signed out at Goodwood and all of these other places when it was supposedly going to be his last time but I firmly understand where he’s coming from.
I’ll be looking forward to seeing him back on the track soon. He’s a great rider, a great character and hopefully we will see him on this side of the water again soon.
Flat jockeys have a much more glamorous career than jumps – I should know
BC: You can extend your career more and flat jockeys certainly have a better lifestyle than us that went over the obstacles, that’s for sure. It is a worldwide sport for them, they can head off to Dubai or Saudi and ride around in glamorous conditions whereas we were trekking around in winter tracks in minus one degrees and torrential rain.
It is a very high end sport on the Flat, the prize money has shot up, and when Frankie was earning that he probably found it hard to step away when he was racing on the big days.
I knew when I was getting out. I’d had a lot of injuries and was worried about getting another one. I was waking up every morning with a worry and that’s not what you want. Frankie I suppose is waking up in the California sunshine!
I got out on my terms and in one piece and knew I was never going to go back but if I had the career that Frankie has had, then I might have done things a bit differently.
I had two or three winners on the flat but things worked a little bit too quickly for me on the flat, my brain didn’t react as quickly so that stopped my career as a flat jockey.
The Irish jumps is in danger of becoming the Willie Mullins show
BC: Both on the jumps and the flat, to be fair, there is a semblance of one yard of dominance. If you look at the flat results over the last few months, Aidan O’Brien was probably one and two and then Joseph O’Brien third and Donnacha O’Brien fourth.
The jumps for sure too, it is becoming a Willie Mullins show. Then there’s Gordon Elliott, Henry de Bromhead and now Gavin Cromwell is doing very well too. I think Willie has simply set the bar for everyone and is getting bigger and bigger.
He’s also spending bigger at the sales too, I have seen it myself. They are lucky they have loyal owners and can pump the money in. Gigginstown have been spending an awful lot as well.
Gigginstown are making a resurgence despite initially scaling back their involvement
BC: From what I can see, they have spent a lot of money, yes. They have bought a fair few point to point winners, they have a lot of horses back with Gordon now so they seem to be spending a lot more.
I know Michael [O’Leary, Ryanair boss and Gigginstown owner] said he was getting out and scaling back but it wouldn’t be like Michael to play a few mind games…it is great for them to stay in the game and support the sport.
It would be great to see one or two smaller trainers, like Emmet – I know he is a Mullins but he paddles his own canoe with a lesser string – but he is doing exceptionally well, as is Gavin Cromwell.
I bought a horse called Butcher Hollow. I think he will be a very smart horse this winter. He won a point to point by 18 lengths in February and, at the time, his sire Kingston Hill wasn’t too popular then within the space of two months, everyone wanted to buy a horse that was by Kingston Hill, so I think we have a bargain.
If there was one dark horse to follow, I think he could be very competitive this coming winter.
It’s great that the jumps are back and it’s tough to pick a standout Mullins horse – he has so many
BC: I have noticed social media a lot over the last few weeks has certainly become more active now that the jumps are back.
It’s all about Willie Mullins again. I have been through his stable tour and my god he has some unbelievable horses in his yard. It’s tough to pick a couple of his horses to follow from him but it is also hard to stray away from his yard because you want to keep an eye on other horses.
One I was looking forward to seeing though, away from Mullins yard, is Inthewaterside for Paul Nicholls. He won two bumpers last year, he was very impressive and could be one of Britain’s best chances going forward in the novice hurdle division at the top end.
It is a very exciting time of the season and a very important couple of months are coming up.
I’m looking forward to Allaho’s return and one particular Mullins novice
BC: I am always looking at his novices. Kargese won the same race that Gala De Marceau won last year in Auteuil and was brought by the same connections since, I imagine she will go down the same route in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. She’s one I am definitely looking forward to seeing.
Then there is Corbetts Cross for Emmet Mullins. I think he is a bit of a forgotten horse as he ran out in the Albert Bartlett earlier in the year at the last, but he won between two and three miles so if he goes novice chasing for Emmet this year, he could be very interesting.
I’m looking forward to seeing Allaho come back as well, if he comes back, he could be a massive King George contender. He missed last year through injury so hopefully he gets a good crack at it this year.
Gordon Elliott will be keen to put up a fight to Willie Mullins this year
BC: He has spent a lot of money on some point to point horses, so I will be very interested to see where they go.
I am very interested to see where Gerri Colombe goes on soft ground, he is probably Gordon’s standout horse. I am also keen to see where Irish Point goes, he won at Aintree, if they go chasing with him he could rank highly.
Teahupoo as well, he has paid his way. Gordon has some money spinners there and he is always interesting to follow in the big field handicaps. He throws a lot of firepower at them and then the Paddy Power Chase at Christmas time and the Irish Grand National too. He’s very determined on putting it up to Willie as best as he can.
I think he is doing things differently this season, a few of their winter horses have taken a run whereas previously they might have been waiting at this time of year so maybe he is attacking it in a different way.
Bryan Cooper’s five to follow this season
Kargese – Willie Mullins
Mirazur West – Willie Mullins
Inthewaterside – Paul Nicholls
Corbetts Cross – Emmet Mullins
Butcher Hollow – Tom Cooper