Our Conor proves a class above the rest
Bryan Cooper bags two winners, McCoy pilots McManus’s At Fisher’s Cross to victory
Bryan Cooper riding Our Conor clears the last to win The JCB Triumph Hurdle Race on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
At Fishers Cross, ridden by Tony McCoy goes on to win The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Race. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Our Conor outclassed his rivals with a scintillating display in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Dessie Hughes-trained son of Jeremy had headed the market ever since recording an impressive victory in the Spring Hurdle at Leopardstown but was easy to back on the day as the money poured in for favourite Rolling Star.
Diakali, second to Our Conor last time, set out to make the running, in front of the eventual winner, Far West and Rolling Star with the market leaders all towards the head of affairs.
David Casey stretched his advantage on the rising ground but the field had closed right up by the time they started to come down the hill with none going more easily than Bryan Cooper and Our Conor.
A flick of the reins took him to the front to and left his rivals immediately floundering in his wake as he eased clear to record a remarkable 15-length success without being asked for maximum effort.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Far West was the horse to chase him home from stablemate Sametegal with Diakali rallying to gain fourth as Rolling Star had no more to offer on the climb to the line.
Cooper said: "I've never had a feeling like that before in my life, I was there a mile too soon. I sat for as long as I could but nothing could come with me.
Cooper was at it again when aboard 10/1 chance Ted Veale in the Vincent O'Brien Country Hurdle.
David Casey, stepping in as a late replacement for Paul Townend, rode a well-judged race from the front aboard Tennis Cap (11/1) and when he kicked on down the hill the move looked to have caught his rivals napping.
But the Tony Martin-trained winner cut through the chasing pack and loomed up behind Tennis Cap approaching the final flight.
Cooper was wise to make his challenge as late as possible because Ted Veale failed to find much for maximum pressure, but he did enough on the run-in to account for the runner-up by one and a half lengths.
Manyriverstocross (25/1) finished third, ahead of Shadow Catcher (16/1), with Tankero Emery fifth and Edgardo Sol rattling home for sixth.
Cooper, who also took the Jewson Chase for Martin 24 hours earlier at the meeting, could scarcely believe that he was in the winner's enclosure again.
"Our Conor is the one I thought about the most, because he was the favourite. I thought if I could go home with one winner and a couple of places that would be amazing - to be going home with three winners is amazing," he said. "It rode pretty soft there for my lad, he's a good-ground horse but the rain is getting in.”
Tony McCoy broke his duck for the meeting with a cheeky success on At Fishers Cross in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
The 17-times champion jockey toyed with African Gold on the long run to the final flight and pressed on after getting a great leap out of the Rebecca Curtis-trained gelding.
The 11-8 favourite pulled clear up the hill to score by four and a half lengths from African Gold (9-2) with Inish Island (13-2) just a nose back in third.