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Hurricane Fly - Leopardstown 26.1.14

Our Conor (left) finishes one and a half lengths behind Hurricane Fly

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Our Conor has 'fighting chance' at Cheltenham

DESSIE HUGHES gave a bullish assessment of Our Conor's Stan James Champion Hurdle chances on Monday, the day after watching last year's JCB Triumph Hurdle winner run Hurricane Fly to within one and a half lengths at Leopardstown.

The margin of defeat was significantly reduced from the pair's last meeting in December, when Our Conor was almost six lengths adrift two-time Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly.

"Our Conor was absolutely fine this morning. I thought for a few strides after the last hurdle that we were going to win, but Hurricane Fly rallied and wore our horse down," said Hughes.

"Our Conor got closer to him than he did at Christmas and showed the improvement I expected from him. He improved a lot between his Grade 1 win at Leopardstown last season and the Triumph, so we're in a good place with him now.

"We know he handles Cheltenham well and he will appreciate the better ground we should get there. We're positive and he should go there with a fighting chance."

Our Conor is a best-priced 7-1 shot for the hotly-anticipated Champion Hurdle, behind Hurricane Fly, The New One and My Tent Or Yours in the betting.

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