Bryan Cooper in demand

BRYAN Cooper appears to be the main beneficiary of the enforced absence of some of our top jump jockeys this weekend.

Cooper will ride for Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Noel Meade this weekend, with all three trainers missing their principal jockeys.

Champion jockey Paul Townend has been on the sidelines since September 22nd with a shoulder injury. Jack Kennedy dislocated his shoulder in a fall last weekend and is not expected back until Christmas, and a similar return date is predicted for Sean Flanagan who cracked vertebrae in a gallops accident.

Also on the wounded list is Robbie Power, who fractured his hand and damaged a tendon in his arm in a fall at Tramore last month, while rising star Jordan Gainford fractured his wrist in a fall at Naas last Saturday.

Willie Mullins traditionally unleashes some serious firepower across this weekend’s Cork and Punchestown cards but, with the ground still on the quick side, he has fewer runners. Among those riding for him this weekend are Cooper, Sean O’Keeffe and Brian Hayes.

Gordon Elliott has his old ally Davy Russell to call on, and he has also engaged Luke Dempsey for some nice rides, as well as putting Cooper on Abacadabras in Sunday’s Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle.

Abacadabras is one of four horses Cooper rides for his former employers Gigginstown House Stud this weekend.