Bryan Cooper: received a total of 18 days' worth of bans at the festivalPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Cooper hit hard as jockeys suffer whip woe
BRYAN COOPER faces the prospect of missing both the Crabbie’s Grand National and BoyleSports Irish Grand National next month after being handed a 15-day ban by the Cheltenham stewards, who punished three other jockeys from Ireland for whip offences on Friday.
The pre-festival reminder for riders to remain within the whip rules by BHA director Jamie Stier seemed to have been forgotten on the meeting's final day as Cooper’s countrymen Paul Carberry, Adrian Heskin and amateur rider Noel McParlan were also banned.
It is understood Cooper plans to appeal the suspension handed out for his rides on third-placed Road To Riches in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and No More Heroes, who filled the same spot in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
It means Gigginstown House Stud’s jockey is banned for a total of 18 days after he got three days' worth of bans earlier in the week.
Eleven days of the ban are for his Gold Cup ride in which he used the whip 16 times, eight times above the permitted level. Cheltenham stewards could have enforced a 17-day ban but opted to use ‘discretion’.
Cooper, who missed Aintree last year after breaking his leg in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival, was banned for April 1-2, 4-6 and 9-14 inclusive. The Irish Grand National is on Easter Monday, April 6 and the Aintree spectacular five days later.
Cooper, who declined to comment, was also fined £1,250 for his Gold Cup ride. His ban for using the whip in an incorrect place on Don Poli, who provided his one winner at the festival, is on March 25-26, while he got one day - March 27 - for cantering Make A Track to the start on Thursday.
Carberry, who picked up a two-day whip ban on Thursday, got another one spanning March 28 and 29 for using his whip above the permitted level on Grand Annual runner-up Eastlake.
Heskin received two days for using the whip above the permitted level on Albert Bartlett winner Martello Tower, while McParlan was hit with the same punishment for his ride on Carsonstown Boy in the Foxhunter.