Cooper back from injury and gunning for glory on Clarcam
1.55 Gowran Park
Red Mills Chase | 2m4f | Grade 2 | ATR
Bryan Cooper is back from injury and there is surely no better way to exorcise his demons than to ride the horse who left him with one of the nastiest leg breaks Turf Club medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick had ever seen. in the 2014 Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival.
Clarcam made up for that mishap in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival three years ago by giving Cooper a Grade 1 victory in the Racing Post Novice Chase in December 2014 and he returned to winning ways after a seven-month drought when landing a conditions chase at Clonmel this month.
Cooper has been out of action since cracking his pelvis in a fall from Arkwrisht at Punchestown on New Year's Eve.
Cooper said: “I can't wait to get back. It has been a long six weeks. I have done lots of rehab and I feel great."
He added: “Clarcam has given me a few great days but one horrible one. It was great to see him come back to himself and win at Clonmel last time. That will get his confidence back and, if the rain stays away, I'd like to think he has a decent chance although Ballycasey will not be easily brushed aside.”
The Willie Mullins-trained Ballycasey is certainly the one to beat. He might not be the force of old but is officially rated 9lb better than his rivals. He has won two of his four starts around Gowran and his best performance for some time came over course and distance in October, when he destroyed Road To Riches in the Grade 2 PWC Champion Chase.
Montys Meadow was fancied by many to run a big race in the Thyestes last month but he could not live with Champagne West and trailed home 46 lengths behind in 11th. Jimmy Mangan puts that poor showing down to the ground and expects big improvement this time.
Mangan said: “It was too lively for him in the Thyestes but we have no excuses on that front this time as the ground will be perfect for him. Paddy [Mangan] minded him when his chance had gone in the Thyestes. He's in good form and I think he'll run well.”
The quartet is completed by the ex-Willie Mullins-trained Mozoltov, who is now in the care of Mouse Morris.