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  • Provincial Racing NSW


MARK Minervini had never had a runner in Sydney when he relocated to Newcastle four years ago. The former South Australian trainer had campaigned horses in his home State, Victoria and Queensland – but not New South Wales.

So the reality of clinching his first Sydney winner on Saturday – and at headquarters at Royal Randwick with a stakes success to boot – was still sinking in today as he fielded congratulatory calls and media enquiries.

Minervini landed the $250,000 Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2000m) with recent acquisition Hosier ($5.50), a horse who began his career in Ireland and then won five races in Victoria and another two in NSW, when he bought him online for $100,000 in late May and syndicated him amongst clients. “I hadn’t won a race in Sydney and was looking for a nice horse to when I noticed Hosier was for sale,” he explained this morning.

“Fellow Newcastle trainer Kris Lees had already won a couple of races (the Coffs Harbour Cup last year and a Benchmark 88 Handicap at Randwick, both at 1600m) with Hosier from only a few starts. “My first bid was $50,000 and I made a couple more higher bids before finding out there was a $100,000 reserve on him. “That gave me extra confidence to buy him that they weren’t letting him go cheaply for something like $20,000. “I was virtually bidding against myself, and when I increased the bid to $100,000, I was advised I had reached the reserve price. “If someone else had put in a higher bid, I would have missed out.”

Minervini had no trouble securing owners to race Hosier with he and his wife Michelle.

“There are 700 names on our data base, and I sent out an email a day before the sale updating everyone that I was keen to buy Hosier. “We quickly had 70 per cent of him sold, and once he was ours, we had fully syndicated him within 48 hours. “Being a rising seven-year-old at the time of purchase didn’t bother me, as he had raced only 13 times for seven wins.

“My view was that for $100,000, if I couldn’t win another race with him in town given the outstanding prizemoney available, I may as well give the game away.”

From four starts for his new trainer, Hosier has already more than recouped his purchase price, earning just over $180,000 – and Minervini is confident the “ride” is by no means over.

“I said to my wife Michelle when they settled down yesterday and Jason Collett had got Hosier into a perfect position and the favorite (Fawkner Park) was way out the back that I was confident we were going to win.

“It was an easy watch, and a soft win. Jason didn’t have to ride him right out, and I feel he had more to give.” Hosier has pulled up well, and Minervini is heading to the $240,000 Listed Wyong Cup (2100m) on September 1 with the gelding, and then his hometown $300,000 Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) a fortnight later.

Minervini has just come off a breakout season with 26 winners from his boutique stable, keeping no more than 16 horses in work at his Broadmeadow stable.

HOOFNOTE: One of Hosier’s owners, Newcastle electrician Chris McLennan, would have been on course at Randwick, but instead had to watch the race on his phone from his John Hunter Hospital bed. McLennan had a medical episode last Friday, and was transported to hospital, but managed to give the ambulance driver a “tip” for Hosier.

“I was pleased to win such a good race for all our owners, and certainly Chris,” Minervini said. “He sent me a lovely text after the race to say we had made he and his family very happy. “They all went to Coffs Harbour to see Hosier race in the Cup earlier this month, and we sincerely hope he is back on his feet very soon.”

Article by John Curtis, August 20th 2023. Photo: Bradley Photographers

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