Minsk will miss Triumph Hurdle
FORMER JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Minsk will miss Cheltenham after he was found to have an infection when beaten on his jumping debut at Naas.
As a result, trainer Dessie Hughes and owner Barry Connell have decided to pull the plug on Minsk's hurdling programme for this season.
The four-year-old will probably not run again until towards the end of the Flat season, when he will return to the John Oxx stable, for whom he won the Irish Cesarewitch in impressive fashion last autumn.
Minsk will then go back to Hughes to resume his career as a novice over hurdles.
"He has an inflamed throat. It's the start of an infection," said Hughes. "He can't go to Cheltenham now."
However, Black Apalachi and Rare Bob are both on course for the National after delighting Hughes at Fairyhouse.
The pair are likely to have one more run before the Aintree spectacular on April 14, possibly over hurdles, after finishing second and fifth respectively behind Prince De Beauchene in the Bobbyjo Chase.
Hanlon outlines Hidden ambition for Gold Cup
Shark Hanlon is likely to give exciting young chaser Hidden Cyclone two fairly low-key runs this season before setting his stall out for the ultimate prize in March 2013.
The Co Carlow trainer does not want to overdo it with the seven-year-old, as he has made no secret of his desire to pitch Hidden Cyclone into the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup next season.
His next port of call is likely to be at Naas in a two-and-a-half-mile novice chase on March 11.
He will be on a retrieval mission after being sick when a disappointing third to Sir Les Champs at Leopardstown last month, after having created a big impression when winning on his fencing debut there in December.
Hanlon said: "I'd say he won't run for maybe another two or three weeks. I'll just give him a couple more runs this year and then let him down early."