Minsk expected to improve
View from connections: Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes
Last Updated: September 18, 2012 4:08pm
John Oxx: Believes Minks will benefit from the run
John Oxx believes that Minsk will benefit greatly his return to action at Listowel on Wednesday.
The four-year-old lines up in the Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes having not been seen since racing over hurdles at Fairyhouse in late February when he was second on his debut in that sphere.
Minsk had been towards the top of the ante-post betting for the Triumph Hurdle before that race, his only run to date for Dessie Hughes.
He had a successful end of season on the Flat for Oxx, wining his last three starts, culminating in the Irish Cesarewitch.
"We had a great autumn with him last year and he had just the one run over hurdles for Dessie Hughes in the spring, so he's had a good long break," said Oxx.
"He came back to me in early June. He did well over the winter and put plenty of weight on so it's taken us quite a while to get him ready.
"He needs the run. We have to get him out and the plan is to run him in this Listed race then another at the Curragh in mid-October, the Finale Stakes, then he'll return to Dessie for the winter.
"I'm sure he'll be in a maiden hurdle in November. We're just getting him started. It's a small field and I think he'll run a good race but it will be testing ground and he'll need the run.
"We feel he needs this race to put him right, so I'm not expecting him to be at his best by any means.
"He's done as much at home as he can, but I can't see him being at his best just yet."
Michael Halford believes Listowel is the ideal course for Defining Year to be having another attempt at a mile and a half.
The four-year-old failed to stay on his first try at the trip when unplaced behind Aklan in a Listed contest at Roscommon in July.
However, he was an encouraging fourth to Alla Speranza over a mile and a quarter in a Group Three at Leopardstown earlier this month.
"All is well with him. He's back over a mile and a half and he won at Listowel as a two-year-old," said the County Kildare trainer.
"I think on a level track he has every chance of getting it. A mile and a quarter might suit him better but this is a nice race for him."
Connections of Tandem have warned the lightly-raced three-year-old might not run if conditions are not suitable.
The Dansili gelding, trained by Dermot Weld, has already created a good impression with two wins from three starts.
He will, though, be stepping up from a mile to a mile and a half.
"We are looking at the ground. I'm hoping it will be all right," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.
"He's a progressive horse, but there are always the little unknown things.
"He's in very good form, but if the ground got too bad he probably wouldn't run."