Our Conor to miss Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown

Triumph Hurdle winner suffered from minor injuries in his comeback run at Naas last month

 Bryan Cooper guides Our Conor over the last on their way to winning the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last March. Photograph:  Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Bryan Cooper guides Our Conor over the last on their way to winning the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last March. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 20:55

Our Conor will miss the StanJames.com Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday week after failing to fully recover from minor injuries suffered in his comeback run at Naas last month.

Last season’s stunning Triumph Hurdle winner made a pleasing return to action when fourth in a Flat race at Naas, with connections immediately stating their intention to engage in a potentially mouth-watering clash with dual Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly at Punchestown on November 17th. However, plans are now fluid for the four-year-old.

Trainer Dessie Hughes said: “He won’t make the Morgiana. In his race the last day he got in the wars and came out of it with cuts and bruises. I thought they’d heal quicker than they did do but it was two weeks before he was cantering again and he’s only been cantering a week now.

“I wanted him 110 per cent and I’m not willing to take a chance with him. We’ll just wait and find a conditions race somewhere before Christmas. He was never lame and I don’t think it’s anything major.”

Owner Barry Connell says he would not be concerned if his charge does not run again between now and the Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown at the end of December.

A few knocks
Connell said: “He got a few knocks in Naas and he is 100 per cent sound now, but he has missed some work and isn’t going to be ready for the Morgiana. He could go straight to the two-mile race in Leopardstown at Christmas. He’s already had a run and after Christmas there is the race at the end of January (Irish Champion Hurdle), so there is no rush to run him.”

Meanwhile, Noble Prince looked back to his best as he took the Listed John Meagher Memorial Chase at Thurles today, scoring under Ruby Walsh for trainer Paul Nolan. The nine-year-old’s last success was at Naas in October 2011.

It was Walsh’s first time to ride him and he jumped the last fractionally in front, going away on the run-in to score by three and a quarter lengths.

Realt Dubh was sent off the 11/10 favourite, but he had to settle for second under Barry Geraghty while Fosters Cross was third. Quito De La Roque could only manage a disappointing fourth under Davy Russell.