Printer Friendly

MINSK CAN BRING THE HOUSE DOWN; Hughes gelding set for hurdling joy.

Byline: PETER O'HEHIR

DESSIE Hughes-trained Minsk will be the focus of attention when he makes his eagerlyawaited hurdling debut in the Grade 2 Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The Dalakhani gelding, off the course since completing a hat-trick in Curragh handicaps for John Oxx last October, bolting up in the Irish Cesarewitch, has been favourite for Cheltenham's JCB Triumph Hurdle over the winter months.

And Minsk's reappearance should prove the highlight of today's action, which also features the appearance of a number of John Smiths Grand National hopefuls in the Grade 2 At The Races Bobbyjo Chase.

Last summer, Minsk registered his first success off a mark of 76 and progressed to slam Cry For The Moon in the Irish Cesarewitch, off a mark of 93, when wearing the colours of Barry Connell for the first time.

Now rated 106 on the flat, Minsk is undoubtedly an exciting hurdling recruit and is expected to outclass his nine rivals in today's opener as a stepping-stone to Cheltenham, Bryan Cooper's mount, which has reportedly taken well to hurdling, should overcome his inexperience sufficiently to beat the Dermot Weld-trained CELEBRITY SEVI, rated only 5lb inferior to Minsk on the level and far from disgraced in his only start over hurdles, when sixth to His Excellency in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Winner of three Grade 1 novice events last season, including Cheltenham's RSA Chase, BOSTONS ANGEL has proven a major disappointment during the current campaign and must concede weight to his seven rivals in the Bobbyjo.

A well-beaten sixth behind Quel Esprit in the recent Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown, Robert Power's mount will wear blinkers again and must improve dramatically on recent effort.

Dessie Hughes runs three and puts blinkers on MAGNANIMITY, last in the Hennessy, for the first time while the long-absent BLACK APALACHI and RARE BOB are both heading for Aintree.

Black Apalachi, winner of this race in 2009 and runner-up to stable-companion Vic Venturi two years ago, has not raced since chasing home Don't Push It in the Antree spectacular in 2010.

In a tricky race, I'll take a chance on another Aintree-bound animal, the Willie Mullins-trained PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE, whose only outing for his current trainer was a fifth behind Groody Hill in the Troytown in November.

Unlike most of his rivals, he's open to some improvement and gets the vote to score for Paul Townend.

Although disappointing when third to Gates Of Rome at Naas last time, the Tom Taaffe-trained NINETIETH MINUTE is expected to open his account over fences in the beginners chase, in which he must confirm course form with MACKEYS FORGE.

And REALLY UNIQUE, raised 5lb for his second to Cootamundra in the Pertemps Qualifier at Punchestown last time, should go close for John Joe Walsh and Tom Doyle in the New ATR Horse Tracker Handicap Hurdle. He looks a rock-solid each-way investment.

IRISH MEETINGS TODAY: Fairyhouse TOMORROW: Naas THURSDAY: Thurles FRIDAY: Dundalk * SATURDAY: Navan SUNDAY: Leopardstown * FLAT

CAPTION(S):

THREAT Celebrity Sevi READY TO RETURNDessie Hughes trained Minsk is the highlight of today's card s
COPYRIGHT 2012 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EXBE
Date:Feb 25, 2012
Words:515
Previous Article:ARE YOU THE WEAKEST LINK?
Next Article:FITZ HAS HIS EYES ON PRIZE.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters