Unknown quantity Minsk fancied for Triumph Hurdle glory


Dessie Hughes feels Minsk will have to go close to making a successful debut over timber at Fairyhouse to justify his place in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

The Dalakhani gelding is a leading fancy for the four-year-old championship at Cheltenham at around 7-1 on the strength of his solid form on the Flat when trained by John Oxx.

His owner Barry Connell sent him to Hughes to be trained for a hurdling campaign after Minsk ran out an easy winner of the Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh in October.

And crunch time comes on Saturday in the Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle.

“I’d expect a good run from him. He has schooled well and looks a natural,” Hughes told At The Races.

“He’s able to fiddle a hurdle well and is good and quick when he meets one wrong. He’s not stupid.

“I think he’s going to be fit enough to do himself justice.

“He’d nearly have to win to justify that price. He looked a very good horse in the Cesarewitch and he looked quite good in the ladies race he won on quicker ground at the Curragh.

“For me I think he wants soft ground and I honestly think he’ll go on heavy ground.

“I’d be hoping when he gets to Cheltenham there’d be a good cut in the ground.”