ireland’s Betfred Ebor hopes are headed by Ted Veale who carried a mud-splattered Bryan Cooper to Cheltenham Festival glory in March.
Tony Martin’s dual purpose horse heads to York just four days after winning at Bellewstown, while Cooper continues to recover from a broken right femur which he suffered shortly after he announced himself to the British racing public with a series of nerveless, high-profile wins at Cheltenham and Aintree.
Cooper is back riding out and hopes to return to competitive action in time for the Emerald Isle’s Listowel festival next month, but he has no doubts that his County Hurdle hero can be a major player on the Knavesmire.
“You definitely have to respect him,” the well-spoken 21-year-old, son of trainer Tom Cooper, told the Yorkshire Post.
“Mr Martin wouldn’t be bringing him over if he didn’t have a proper chance. He handles good ground well but I think he’s even better on soft.”
After the Cooper-inspired Benefficient beat Dynaste in the Jewson Novices’ Chase and then Our Conor confirmed his rich promise with a win in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, he was full of confidence when he mounted Ted Veale as the storm clouds opened.
“Because I had had two winners, I was going out there with confidence,” said Cooper who has been cycling and swimming to regain his fitness. “It was the first time that I had sat on him, but Tony Martin gave me even more confidence because he didn’t doubt the horse.
“He won quite well for me and looked the winner all the way. He likes to be dropped him and come late – that’s what Fran Berry will try and do today. With the injury, the one thing that it allowed me to do was sit back at home, watch the replays and appreciate what I achieved at Cheltenham and Aintree, and how I was fortunate to win on horses like First Lieutenant and Special Tiara at Aintree.”