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FIVE Newcastle-trained stayers are among the 72 first acceptors for the $8m Melbourne Cup.

And one of them is a fresh newcomer to the Mark Minervini stable.

Minervini has taken over the training of former Sydney five-year-old Raging Bull, who was nominated for the 3200m Cup at Flemington on November 7 by his previous trainer David Payne.

“I purchased Raging Bull last week and have paid the first acceptance fee ($2000) for him as well as our Newcastle Gold Cup placegetter Hosier,” Minervini said this evening.

Hosier has 50.5kg in the Cup, and Raging Bull 0.5kg less.

Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has also kept Cleveland (51.5kg), Kalapour (50kg) and Protagonist (52kg) in the Cup.

Kalapour (3rd) and Cleveland (6th) both ran well enough behind Cup second favorite Just Fine ($8) in last Saturday’s Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick to remain in the famous “two-miler”.

Protagonist and Hosier both will line up in Saturday’s $2m Hill Stakes (1900m) – to be run at weight-for-age – at Rosehill Gardens.

Lees’ gun apprentice Dylan Gibbons will ride Protagonist, and Rachel King is a new rider for Hosier, who bypassed The Metropolitan when he drew poorly and faced a “Good 4” surface.

King was aboard the import and odds-on favorite Just Fine when he won The Metropolitan in new track record time.

“Jason Collett was committed to Fireburn in the Hill Stakes,” Minervini explained.

“Rachel rode Quick Tempo twice for us earlier in the year in town for placings both times, and I’m sure she has her tail up after winning the Group 1 last weekend.

“I’ve been really happy with Hosier since his brave Newcastle Cup third on September 15. He is in magnificent order.

“We’re keeping the Melbourne Cup dream alive, and looking forward to seeing him run well on Saturday and hoping Melbourne gets rain leading up to the big race.”

Raging Bull has won only two races (at 1800m and 2100m), but his original trainer always considered him a 3200m prospect.

Payne thought enough of him to run in some of the three-year-old classics last year. He ran sixth in the ATC Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 2, and fourth in the VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington 23 days later.

Raging Bull also was a photo-finish second in the Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill in March.

Minervini intends to trial the gelding at Warwick Farm on Monday, keen for Jason Collett to “get a feel” of his new addition.

“Raging Bull will have his first run for us at Randwick on Saturday week in the ATC St Leger Stakes (2600m), and then go to Melbourne and probably run in the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) at the night meeting on October 27,” he said.

“Raging Bull is 50th in order of entry (24 can run) at present for the Melbourne Cup, and I think he is half a chance of getting a run.”

Cleveland is currently 30th in order of entry, Hosier is 38th, Kalapour 46th and Protagonist is 54th.

But the first acceptance number of 72 is certain to be lessened when second acceptances ($3000) are taken on October 17.

Third acceptances ($4000) are due on October 30, and final acceptances ($49,500) will be taken at 4.30 pm on November 4, after which the final field will be declared and barriers drawn.

The breakdown of Cup prizemoney is:

1ST - $4.4m; 2ND - $1.1m; 3RD - $550,000; 4TH - $350,000; 5TH - $230,000; 6TH – 12TH - $160,000.

The five Newcastle stayers in latest betting all are at long odds for the Cup. Cleveland, Kalapour and Protagonist are at $101 with, Hosier is at $201 and Raging Bull is listed as one of the rank outsiders at $301.

*Story John Curtis, October 5, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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