Bryan Cooper: Jockey replaces Davy Russell at Giggginstown

Bryan Cooper winning on First Lieutenant at Aintree in April

Bryan Cooper has landed one of the top jobs in Irish racing as retained rider for Gigginstown House Stud, owned by aviation boss Michael O'Leary.

The 21-year-old had been tipped for the role after Irish champion jockey Davy Russell, 33, lost the position.

Russell said he was "shocked and disappointed" after being informed that the seven-year association was to end.

Gigginstown own several big Cheltenham Festival contenders including Sir Des Champs and First Lieutenant.

O'Leary runs the operation - which has horses with several trainers - alongside his brother Eddie, who said Russell would still be used but Cooper would be first pick for the major rides.

"I can confirm that Bryan Cooper will be our number one retainer," said Eddie.

"He's a very good rider and I hope it will be the start of a long and happy association."

Cooper rode three winners at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival, including Ted Veale in the County Hurdle for trainer Tony Martin who called him "the new Ruby Walsh", a reference to the Festival's all-time leading rider,

There had been speculation Walsh might not have first choice on the Gigginstown-owned horses in the care of champion trainer Willie Mullins, but Eddie O'Leary said: "That is not the case. Bryan will be the number one retainer for all our horses."

"Davy will continue to ride plenty for us. There has been no falling out of any kind,"

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