Triumph Hurdle hopes fade as Minsk suffers hurdles debut defeat

JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Minsk suffered a surprise defeat on his hurdling debut at Fairyhouse.

Dessie Hughes’ charge was sent off as the 4-6 market leader for the Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle and travelled strongly for a long way.

However turning in it was clear he had a battle on his hooves with Burrenbridge Lodge alongside two out.

That more experienced rival was fluent at the last two obstacles and that proved crucial as he was driven out to score by a neck from the market leader and fast-finishing Bat Masterson.

Sky Bet pushed Minsk out to 16-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle on the back of this defeat.

Minsk’s owner, Barry Connell, said: “I’ll still let him take his chance in the Triumph and that will be his only other run over hurdles.”

Hughes added: “I thought we had him (Burrenbridge Lodge) covered at the last but he looked at it. If he had pinged the last I think he would have won.

“I wouldn’t use the ground as an excuse as none of them would have really liked it. I’m happy and disappointed.”

Kieran Purcell, trainer of Burrenbridge Lodge, said: “He will go for a break now. It’s been a long season for him and he deserves it. We may bring him to Punchestown for the Grade One juvenile hurdle and he may have a sharpener on the Flat before that.”