Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 25 May 2016

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Big step up for Our Conor: Ruby Walsh

By Martin Kelly

Published 18/12/2013

Ruby Walsh will ride Our Conor in the Ryanair
Ruby Walsh will ride Our Conor in the Ryanair

Ruby Walsh believes young pretender Our Conor has something to prove when he takes on Hurricane Fly in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29.

Walsh admits the Dessie Hughes-trained Our Conor looked potentially top-class when running away with the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but that taking on a two-times Champion Hurdle victor is a different matter altogether.

"Our Conor looked like an exceptional juvenile. The way he won the Triumph was breathtaking, the way he travelled through the race, but this is a big step up for him," Walsh said.

"He's only a four-year-old taking on an older, hardened horse like Hurricane Fly. It will be a big step up for Our Conor. He looks potentially like he'll make it, but he'll have to prove he can."

On potential contenders for Hurricane Fly's Champion Hurdle crown, Walsh was impressed by The New One's victory in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

"I thought The New One was very good. You had to like the way he quickened up from the last. He's a very good horse," he said.

Meanwhile, Moscow Mannon is set to make his debut over fences and first start for Henry De Bromhead in the Navan Racecourse Membership Beginners Chase on Saturday.

The seven-year-old won three bumpers for Downpatrick-based Brian Hamilton a couple of seasons ago and finished fourth behind Champagne Fever in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

He made a decent start to his jumping career last season, winning a novice hurdle at Navan.

Potential opponents for Moscow Mannion include Willie Mullins' high-class juvenile hurdler Blood Cotil, last seen beating stable companion Diakali in an Auteuil Grade Three event in May.

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