Gold Cup winner Cooper retires aged 30

The jockey enjoyed no shortage of landmark victories during his time in the saddle

Friday, March 24, 2023

Bryan Cooper lifts the Cheltenham Gold Cup after his success on Don Cossack in 2016

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Bryan Cooper has announced his retirement at the age of 30.

Cooper steered Don Cossack to glory in the Festival showpiece in 2016 having burst on to the scene at the same meeting three years earlier, banking three winners across the week including the Triumph Hurdle on Our Conor.

That 2013 breakthrough soon led to a spell as Gigginstown’s retained rider, during which time he claimed the Gold Cup as well as Grade 1 honours with the likes of Apple’s Jade, Road To Respect and Don Poli.


He continued to be a regular visitor to the winners’ enclosure after parting ways with Michael O’Leary’s powerhouse operation, landing the Goffs Handicap Chase on the Paul Nolan-trained Quamino at the 2019 Dublin Racing Festival.

Latest Exhibition provided Cooper with another Grade 1 DRF success the following year and he took his Cheltenham Festival haul to nine when Mrs Milner won the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.

In a statement released on his social media, Cooper said: "After much careful thought and consideration for some time, I am officially announcing my retirement from race-riding with immediate effect.

"I've been lucky to have had a wonderful career over the past 14 years as a jockey. To my family, owners, trainers and stable staff who have supported me throughout my whole career, I can't thank you enough for some incredible days.

"It is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me."

The final win of Cooper’s illustrious career came at Leopardstown on March 6, when Wa Wa claimed the Rockbrook Handicap Hurdle for trainer Dermot McLoughlin.