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Minsk to make hurdling debut for Hughes in Graded event

One of the best meetings outside the major Festivals has been scheduled at Leopardstown on February 12 -- with four Grade Ones on the card.

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 been made public.

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 a Grade One, the Spring Juvenile, is testament to that.

"I am very happy with him. 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. Another entered in the same two races is Donald McCain's Hollow Tree, already a Grade One winner.

"I've put him in at Cheltenham but whether he goes or not I'm not sure," said McCain. "I've entered him in Ireland but I'm in no great rush to decide."

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

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.

Irish Independent