Mullins excited about first ride on Our Conor
THE eagerly awaited return of runaway Triumph Hurdle winner Our Conor will be the highlight of the action at Naas for many people and Danny Mullins, who will be partnering him for the first time in public, believes the four-year-old is 85 or 90 per cent fit for his reappearance.
Our Conor is no bigger than 5-1 to claim the Stan James Champion Hurdle crown next March and could clash with Hurricane Fly in next month's Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, but the first stepping stone is on the Flat in the Woodlands 100 Club October Handicap (4.55) and Mullins is understandably excited about the journey ahead.
"He's such an exciting horse and I'm very excited about riding him," Mullins said. "I've been down to Dessie's [Hughes] a few times to school him and each time he gave me a lovely feel. He'll improve for the run, there is no doubt about that, but I'd say he is probably 85 per cent fit, maybe even 90."
Although Our Conor was not stopping in two-mile hurdles last season, Mullins is a little concerned by the mile and a half trip, which he feels could stretch his stamina.
"If you look back through his runs on the Flat, you'd say his best performances were over a mile, when he won at Naas, and over nine furlongs when he was placed at Leopardstown and Listowel. They go that bit quicker on the Flat so this trip might be a worry, but only a slight one. He's a stronger horse now."
Away from Naas, Rock On Ruby and The New One's clash is the highlight at Kempton, while there is also racing from Bath and Cork.
Cork: good, good to firm in places on hurdles course
Kempton: good, good to soft on the bend adjacent to the lake
Naas: soft (Flat), yielding (jumps)