Horses To Follow » Our Conor

Our Conor

Our Conor put up a really good performance to win the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday. He did everything well, he travelled easily, jumped quickly, and came clear to win in a good time.

Bryan Cooper settled Our Conor just behind the front rank, he improved between horses to be in third setting off down the back straight, and he was really the only challenger to the front-running Diakali as they left the back straight. He travelled easily from the top of the home straight, and the way he quickened up, initially to join Diakali as they began the turn for home, and then again to move past Willie Mullins’ horse coming to the final flight, was really impressive. He just had to be kept up to his work after that all the way to the line to win by five lengths.

Dessie Hughes’ horse has now taken a big step forward with each of his three runs over hurdles. As well as the strong visual impression that this performance made, there was also significant substance to it. This was a hot juvenile hurdle. Diakali and Blood Cotil were probably Willie Mullins’ best juveniles going into the race and they finished second and fourth respectively, while the third horse, Ruacana, brought British form into the race having won the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow on his previous run. The time was the second fastest comparative time on a top class day’s racing, and a full five seconds faster than the time that Tennis Cap clocked in landing the competitive handicap hurdle run over the same course and distance later on the day.

The Spring Juvenile Hurdle has been a really good pointer to the Triumph Hurdle in the last two years. Unaccompanied won it in 2011 before going on to finish second to Zarkandar in the Triumph Hurdle, while last year’s Triumph Hurdle runner-up, Hisaabaat, won the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, and had last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner, Countrywide Flame, back in third place in the race. Our Conor is right at the top of the juvenile hurdle pecking order now, and odds of 6/1 for the Triumph Hurdle are still more than fair.

9th February 2013