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  • Provincial Racing NSW


NEWCASTLE trainer Mark Minervini has given his Friday Scone Cup hope Hosier a clean bill of health, and says only an upgrade to a good track will prevent him from starting.

Hosier hasn’t raced since tailing out in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 30, and has since trialled twice – at Wyong on April 23 and Newcastle on May 8.

“We’ve kept a close eye on Hosier since that first-up failure, and he’s in great order,” Minervini said on Thursday morning.

“Being an older horse (he will turn eight on August 1), I feel he didn’t put in at Rosehill when he wasn’t comfortable on the good track.

“Provided the track stays in the soft range (it was a Soft 6 on Thursday morning), Hosier will definitely go to Scone.

“The only reason he won’t run is if it’s a good track, but I don’t think that will be the case.

“Whilst Hosier has drawn wide, that isn’t a concern because they have a long run along the back straight from the 1600m start.”

All of imported gelding Hosier’s eight victories have been on rain-affected ground – seven of them on soft tracks.

Minervini has given Group 1 winning jockey Blake Spriggs, recently resettled in Newcastle, an opportunity to get back into the spotlight.

Spriggs rode a winner (Got An Inspiration) for him at Muswellbrook last Monday.

“Blake has been riding work for me, and is a very good communicator,” Minervini said.

“I quite enjoy his company, and am prepared to reward him with some rides.”

In spite of his excellent soft track credentials, Hosier was a $51 outsider with on Thursday morning for the $200,000 Listed Cup (1600m), which carries eligibility for the $3m Big Dance over the same distance at Royal Randwick in November.

The 2022 Scone Cup winner Rustic Steel later that year clinched the inaugural running of The Big Dance.

Minervini will have runners on both days of the Scone carnival, with Rubi’s Serve and Shall Be – both to be ridden by Ashley Morgan – joining Hosier on Friday.

“I’m really looking forward to starting Shall Be in the Inglis 2YO Challenge,” he said.

“He is a nice horse and has done well at both runs at home for a second and then a win.

“It’s a hard race to line up because they are coming from everywhere, but I’m very happy with him.”

will have two runners at Saturday’s metropolitan stand-alone meeting – Alideel (Listed Woodlands Stakes, 1100m), and Quick Tempo (Listed Ortensia Stakes, 1100m).

Debutante Alideel (Sam Clipperton), a $160,0000 Inglis Classic yearling buy last year, is a sister to three-times winner Mare Of Mt Buller, who was placed in last Saturday’s Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) at the Sunshine Coast en route to the Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm next month.

“It’s obviously a decent test tackling a Listed race at her first start, but the big track at Scone will suit and it’s a good chance to pick up some black type,” Minervini said.

“Quick Tempo is over the odds ($31). Mikayla Weir is unbeaten from two rides on him, and he is definitely up to a race such as this.

“Again, the big track will be in his favour.”

. Newcastle’s gun apprentice Dylan Gibbons was narrowly beaten on Luncies in last year’s Scone Cup at his first ride in the feature event.

Now he has a terrific chance of going one better on the Australian Bloodstock-raced Nugget in Friday’s renewal.

Withdrawn from the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) a fortnight ago for Scone, Nugget was a $4 favorite on Thursday morning.

Gibbons has ridden him once previously when fourth to Fangirl in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last October, and the gelding is entitled to favoritism on the strength of his latest fourth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile over the same distance there on April 6.

Story John Curtis, May 16, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos


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