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Our Conor - Cheltenham - 15.03.13

Our Conor: a magnificent winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Hughes: Conor top horse in next year's Champion

SPRINTER SACRE hogged the attention on Saturday as Nicky Henderson showed off his impressive Champion Chase winner but Dessie Hughes was equally keen to talk up Our Conor after he produced the other performance of the meeting in the Triumph Hurdle.

Our Conor was quite brilliant as he took apart the field in the JCB Truimph Hurdle, cantering to the front before the penultimate flight and bursting clear to win by 15 lengths.

Hughes labelled the performance "unbelievable" on Saturday and feels he is in a strong position to target a third Stan James Champion Hurdle in 2014 - a race he won twice with Hardy Eustace in 2004 and 2005.

Hughes said: "It was unbelievable to see Bryan [Cooper] looking behind him so far out, it was like something you'd see in a maiden hurdle. I would actually have preferred if he had a bit more cover but it just happened that he was settled in second.

"He has come out of the race great and, being only four, should be getting better. He has great attributes in that he loves racing and his temperament is excellent."

Owned by the Man About Town Syndicate, Our Conor is pressing dual Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly for favouritism at around 5-1 for next year's Champion Hurdle on the back of his win at this year's festival.

Asked if Our Conor, who is set to have his final start of the campaign at Punchestown next month, looks the horse to beat next year, Hughes said: "He probably is, yes."

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