Our Conor: remains a 5-1 shot for the Champion Hurdle despite defeatPICTURE: Getty Images
Our Conor beaten
on return to action
Report: Naas, Sunday
Woodlands 100 Club October Handicap (Premier Handicap) 1m4f, 3yo+
OUR CONOR could only finish fourth on his return to action over a flat 1m4f in the premier handicap won by Ancient Sands, who had a head to spare over Stony Grey at the line.
Last season's mighty impressive JCB Triumph Hurdle winner travelled well throughout the race but found traffic on numerous occasions before staying on well to finish fourth without ever troubling the winner.
The Dessie Hughes-trained gelding was unbeaten as a juvenile over hurdles last season and is a best-priced 5-1 for the Stan James Champion Hurdle despite the defeat.
"I'm delighted with him," Hughes said afterwards. "He ran well and you have to remember that he was running against horses that are on the go for the last couple of months. My fella is only coming back. I'd say he was about 90 per cent fit so he will improve for it.
"The thing about Our Conor is that he comes alive when he sees a hurdle," added the trainer. "We saw that last year. The Morgiana remains the target."
Our Conor was held in midfield by jockey Danny Mullins, who has taken over from previous jockey Bryan Cooper following his sale to Barry Connell in April, and despite seeming to have energy to burn, Mullins struggled to find a gap at the crucial stage and subsequently failed to catch the front three.