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2014 Champion Hurdle tips - Our Conor jockey confident of swatting the Fly

Jockey Danny Mullins believes Our Conor has the number of Hurricane Fly ahead of their clash in the Stan James Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

Hurricane Fly has already won this contest twice before and also came out on top on the two occasions he has met Our Conor this season, prevailing at Leopardstown in the Ryanair Hurdle in December and the Irish Champion Hurdle in January.

However, last year's runaway Triumph Hurdle hero gave his older rival a real fright the last time they met and Mullins insists he saw enough in that encounter to convince him that the five-year-old can defeat the 10-year-old in this fascinating battle of the ages.

In the Irish Champion Hurdle, Our Conor came with a smooth run to challenge the Fly at the final flight, forcing Ruby Walsh to hustle up his mount before the veteran's superior flat speed proved decisive on the run-in at that Flat track, but Cheltenham will present a different set of conditions with a tough uphill finish.

Mullins declared: "I thought jumping the last I had him. In fairness to Hurricane, he gritted his teeth and battled on well again, but we're hopefully getting stronger every day.

"Last year at Cheltenham, he showed he's well able to gallop; he was in front a long way from home. At Leopardstown last time I got Ruby off the bridle going down to the last, so he's shown stamina and he's shown speed. Touch wood, he jumps well, so our options are pretty wide open at the moment. It's just a matter of figuring out the race and seeing what way we'll fit into it best."

History suggests Our Conor should improve again at Cheltenham on the big day, as shrewd handler Dessie Hughes performed the same trick of bringing Hardy Eustace along slowly before peaking when it mattered most - not just once but twice!

"Dessie's trained him for the day," added Mullins on At The Races. "Hardy Eustace's record going into the race wasn't fantastic the two times he won it. We've been beaten twice this year, so definitely need to improve, but hopefully we can find that little bit more.

"Hurricane Fly has won it twice and is definitely the one to beat, but we've plenty of plans. Everything can change once you jump off as you can find yourself in different positions, so you have to have a plan for every letter of the alphabet and hope one of them will fall into place on the day."


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2014 Champion Hurdle tips - Our Conor jockey confident of swatting the Fly

Jockey Danny Mullins believes Our Conor has the number of Hurricane Fly ahead of their clash in the Stan James Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

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