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  • Provincial Racing NSW


NEWCASTLE trainer Mark Minervini is happy for Jason Collett to ride his The Metropolitan hope Hosier overweight at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

“I expect he will ride 0.5kg over at 53.5kg, but I wouldn’t worry if he had to declare 1kg over,” Minervini said this afternoon.

“I’d rather have a jockey such as Jason on the horse in such a big race who knows him, rather than someone who doesn’t.”

Hosier will be Minervini’s first Sydney Group 1 starter in the $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m), and is happy with the gelding’s progress since his third to Military Mission in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 15.

“He will have his final gallop on Wednesday morning,” Minervini said.

Minervini has asked Hosier’s part-owner Kerrie Dailey to select the gelding’s barrier when the draw is made at Randwick in the morning.

“We’re hoping for a low gate so that he can get some cover,” Minervini said.

“He raced outside the leader in the Newcastle Cup, and was brave to the line in new track record time.”

Hosier is currently 25th in order of entry for The Metropolitan, where 18 horses are permitted to start with provision for four emergencies.

Minervini has been told by Australian Turf Club officials that his horse will definitely secure a start as there will be quite a few dropouts.

Hosier carried 56.5kg at Newcastle, and comes down 3kg on Saturday if Collett declares 0.5kg overweight.

He will meet Military Mission, who was penalised 1.5kg to 51.5kg for his Newcastle Cup victory, 0.5kg better.

Fellow Newcastle trainer Kris Lees also is hoping for low gates for his Metropolitan pair Cleveland and Kalapour, who drew the two outside barriers in the Newcastle Cup and faced impossible tasks to come from well back to figure in the finish.

“I’m really happy with both horses,” Lees said this afternoon.

“Blinkers are going on Cleveland. Sometimes these older stallions need them.”

Provided both horses come through their final work in the morning, they will line up on Saturday.

Cleveland, 17th in order of entry, is assured of a start, and Lees also believes Kalapour (currently 35th), will also make the field.

The Newcastle trio are at double figure odds for The Metropolitan, with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s UK import Just Fine, impressive in both recent Sydney wins, a dominant $2 favorite.

Cleveland is at $18, with Hosier and Kalapour both $26 chances.

Lees will not have a runner in either of the remaining two Group 1 features on Saturday; the $1.5m Epsom Handicap (1600m) and $750,000 Flight Stakes (1600m).

Meanwhile, Hawkesbury trainer Edward Cummings is delighted with the promising Strait Acer, who has returned to his stable after a week’s break.

“Strait Acer went out after winning the Shoot Out Mile at Randwick on September 19, and has freshened up nicely,” Cummings said.

“The plan is to go to the $1m Silver Eagle (1300m) at Randwick on October 14, and then hopefully the $10m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens three weeks later.”

Strait Acer, a $25,000 Inglis Ready2Race purchase in 2021, has been in brilliant form, winning four of his five starts (the last three in succession) this preparation.

Cummings’ triple Group 1 winner Duais will not be an acceptor for The Metropolitan, and has remained in Melbourne following her excellent third to Alligator Blood in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday.

“Craig Williams gave her a proper ride, and she ran really well,” Cummings said.

“There are plenty of options for her in Melbourne.

“Every race we run Duais in this spring is our aim. She is in great order.”

*Words John Curtis, September 25, 2023 - Pics

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