Bryan Cooper Willie Mullins

Irish Jumps ‘Becoming A Willie Mullins Show’ – Bryan Cooper

Irish Jumps is in a very strong place these days but is it in danger of becoming a one-man show?

As part of a conversation with BoyleSports, recently retired National Hunt jockey Bryan Cooper revealed to us his thoughts on the success of one yard in Irish horse racing.

Cooper also gave us his view on a Netflix-style documentary to grow the sport and the issue of fixture congestion in England.

Irish jumps in danger of becoming the Willie Mullins show

Both on the jumps and the flat, to be fair, there is a semblance of one yard of dominance. If you look at the flat results over the last few months, Aidan O’Brien was probably one and two and then Joseph O’Brien third and Donnacha O’Brien fourth.

The jumps for sure too, it is becoming a Willie Mullins show. Then there’s Gordon Elliott, Henry de Bromhead and now Gavin Cromwell is doing very well too. I think Willie has simply set the bar for everyone and is getting bigger and bigger. 

He’s also spending bigger at the sales too, I have seen it myself. They are lucky they have loyal owners and can pump the money in. Gigginstown have been spending an awful lot as well.

Willie Mullins trained Galopin Des Champs is the favourite at 7/4 for the 2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup with BoyleSports’ horse racing odds.

Gigginstown making resurgence

From what I can see, they have spent a lot of money, yes. They have bought a fair few point to point winners, they have a lot of horses back with Gordon now so they seem to be spending a lot more.

I know Michael [O’Leary, Ryanair boss and Gigginstown owner] said he was getting out and scaling back but it wouldn’t be like Michael to play a few mind games…it is great for them to stay in the game and support the sport. 

It would be great to see one or two smaller trainers, like Emmet – I know he is a Mullins but he paddles his own canoe with a lesser string – but he is doing exceptionally well, as is Gavin Cromwell.

Racing Documentary Needs To Be On Netflix or Prime To Engage Young Audience

I’m all for it, definitely. I think it is a no brainer. Especially now with the times that we are in, you are trying to get new people into the sport. I know myself, I never used to watch F1 until I saw Drive To Survive on Netflix, that’s what got me hooked on it so this can only be a positive for horse racing. 

It’s going to be at the right time of the year as well where there is going to be some proper jumps racing. From what I read between the lines it is going to focus a lot around the high end of the sport, and I can see it being a very positive thing as long as it is done right. 

For me, it is the sign of a change that racing desperately needs and is going in the right direction.

Racing needed something, a change. We need to get younger people into the sport because it is a great sport, anyone is welcome into the game and we can perhaps change the mind of those in the crowd who might have a different opinion, we can change them.

I think it would have been better on a streaming service and I think with the younger generation especially, I imagine they spend a lot more time on Netflix and Amazon than they do watching ITV, they probably don’t even know what channel to type into the remote to get it. 

But look, it’s a start, everything can go forward from here but if it was on one of the streaming services then I think it would be easier for the younger generation to watch but I am sure, as I said, it is a step in the right direction and I am all for it.

The BoyleSports Grand Sefton at Aintree is fast approaching and you can place your horse racing bets for the big race at BoyleSports.

Docuseries To Head To Ireland?

I suppose they would want to look at the more professional side of things but I think it would be great if they head over for the Dublin Racing Festival or Leopardstown or Punchestown, they would be great meetings to get over to film, there would be some great viewing.

I definitely wouldn’t turn it down. It would help me in my media role as well!

Too Many Racing Fixtures In England

Over in England it was way too congested, definitely. There’s obviously the concern for the people in the industry when there was so much racing going on but, also, it was just really hard to watch on TV.

I know you can sign up to your extras and have dedicated channels, but for example on Boxing Day when you have 13 or 14 meetings that are going on, it just diluted the whole thing. More high end weekend racing is definitely the way forward, two or three to dedicate their time to switching between rather than six or seven can only be a good thing.

Ireland has it right – Sunday is the big day for racing but we very rarely have double meetings on a weekend. You could maybe have two but that’s it, aside from Boxing Day. Ok, we race on Bank Holidays, but it works and it draws the crowd, especially at the weekends.

The big race on Boxing Day is the King George Chase and you can get the latest horse racing betting odds for the race at BoyleSports.

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