PHOTOS: Council Honours Tralee’s Gold Cup Hero Bryan Cooper

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Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Terry O’Brien and Cathaoirleach/Mayor of Kerry County Council, Cllr Michael O’Shea, congratulate Bryan Cooper on his civic reception honour. Photo by Dermot Crean

THE achievements of a young man from Tralee were recognised by Kerry County Council on Thursday with a civic reception to recognise his sporting achievements.

Jockey Bryan Cooper was joined by his family at Council Chambers where he was feted for his achievement of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Don Cossack earlier this year. It’s not the first time a member of the Cooper family has been given a civic reception, as his father Tom was also honoured after Total Enjoyment triumphed at Cheltenham in 2004.

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It was Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Terry O’Brien, who proposed that the 24 year old – who was joined by his parents Tom and Geraldine, sister Sarah  and other family members in the Chamber – be honoured in this way and he congratulated Bryan on his success, despite betting on another horse in the race.

“I’d like to congratulate Bryan on his fantastic achievement. I have to put it on the record though, that I backed Don Poli. So you can count yourself lucky we’re not giving this reception to Davy Russell!” said Cllr O’Brien.

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Bryan Cooper with parents Geraldine and Tom and sister Sarah. Photo by Dermot Crean

“Just to give you a idea of how rare  and difficult it is to win the Gold Cup, over the last 30 years, 26 jockeys have won this holy grail. It’s a fantastic achievement. I can guarantee you the celebrations in Blennerville were immense,” said Mayor O’Brien who said rumours of people riding a life-size model from Skelper Quane’s horse up the street later that night could not be substantiated…but he had the names if the Press wanted them!

The Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Michael O’Shea had great praise for the jockey.

“There is no more deserving recipient of a Civic Reception than jockey, Bryan Cooper. To have achieved what Bryan has in his almost 24 years is enormous. The win brought great joy to Tralee and the entire racing community around Kerry and indeed Ireland.

“Bryan – we salute you on your win. You have achieved greatness in the saddle at such a young age. That is testament to your hard work and dedication over the years. You are a deserving recipient of this honour from the Council here this evening.”

Bryan then addressed members of the Council.

“I’d like to thank members of the Council, it’s a great honour. Winning the Gold Cup for me is a lifetime dream. Some people say they’d love to win the Grand National, but I’d pick the Gold Cup over it any day. To win it so young is a big achievement, but I’m lucky as I have a big job [riding for Gigginstown Stud] which is a big help,” he said.

He also recalled the homecoming night in Blennerville back in March.

“What made it special was Tom [Quane] had organised a pony and trap to bring me over the bridge. I also saw the videos from Quane’s and The Castle Bar when I won the Gold Cup and I think they gave better celebrations I had! If I have a few bad days racing, I can look back and think that I’ve won a Gold Cup and if I never again won anything, I can say that I’ve achieved that. So we’ll go back next year and if Don Cossack gets there, hopefully we’ll be celebrating again,” he said.

A number of councillors present also congratulated Bryan on his achievement before photos were taken and refreshments served to the guests.

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Councillors with Bryan Cooper and members of his family at the Civic Reception on Thursday evening. Photo by Dermot Crean


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