Minsk 'a natural' ahead of debut
Dessie Hughes feels Minsk will have to go close to making a successful debut over timber at Fairyhouse on Saturday 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 6-1 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 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."