Hughes: Minsk ‘in fabulous form’ ahead of Spring Hurdle bid

DESSIE HUGHES has made no secret of the regard in which he holds Minsk, his high-profile recruit off the level from John Oxx.

The fact he could make his hurdling debut in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle — one of four Grade Ones on the card at Leopardstown on February 12 — is testament to that.

The entries for the Hennessy Gold Cup were released last week, with the likes of Synchronised, Quito De La Roque and Jessies Dream engaged. Now the list of possibles for the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, the Deloitte Novice Hurdle and the Dr PJ Moriarty Chase have now been made public.

“I am very happy with him and he could go to Leopardstown for the Grade One there next month and if he needs another week or so, there is a Grade Three at Fairyhouse on February 25,” said Hughes.

“I’ve been delighted with him and he has been in fabulous form.”

Tom George has also entered Baby Mix, although he may run at Cheltenham this weekend.

“I am not sure where he’ll go – he is in at Cheltenham at the weekend – so we’ll see,” said George.

Another entered in the same two races is Donald McCain’s Hollow Tree, already a Grade One winner.

Sportsmaster, Urbain De Sivola, Ut De Sivola and Hisaabaat are others to note.

Edward O’Grady is hoping Sportsmaster can develop into a true contender for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Sportsmaster is a 25-1 chance for the Triumph after making it second-time lucky over hurdles at Naas earlier this month.

“I’m pleased with him. I would hope he might make a Triumph Hurdle horse,” said O’Grady.

“It was disappointing he got wiped at Christmas so we had to change plans a bit.

“He seemed to win a muddling race at Naas, but the form seems to have been franked quite well.

“If he runs adequately in the Grade One at Leopardstown we’ll look forward to the Triumph Hurdle with him.”

The Jim Culloty-trained Lord Windermere is a possible in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.

“He has had a nice break since he beat Dylan Ross at Punchestown and the plan is that he’ll run at Leopardstown,” said Best Mate’s former jockey.

“He is in super form and is the type of horse that I think will continue to improve and he has come on a nice bit since his last run. I am looking forward to it and he will be my first runner in a Grade One.”

Willie Mullins is well represented with the likes of Boston Bob, Allure Of Illusion, Make Your Mark, Sous Les Cieux and Midnight Game.

Cash And Go, Il Fenomeno, Monksland and Sizing Symphony are also entered.

The Dr PJ Moriarty is always an informative affair, with Hidden Cyclone, Last Instalment and Sir Des Champs engaged at this stage.

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