top of page
  • Provincial Racing NSW


Updated: Feb 11

STAR Impact “set the pace” for Mark Minervini’s timely return to the winning list at his home track today.

The Newcastle trainer, who hasn’t enjoyed the best of health lately and had a pacemaker inserted yesterday at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital, watched from home as his mare clinched an easy victory in the Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m), leading home a local trifecta.

Whilst excitement was one thing Minervini didn’t need, he said Star Impact never gave him any worries in the run and heaped praise on jockey Aaron Bullock.

“It was a pretty easy watch; I stayed calm,” he said this evening.

“Aaron gave her a beaut ride; I was pretty confident she would win once he settled her in second last place 100m after the start in the field of six.”

Bullock began his move approaching the home turn, and Star Impact ($3.70) reeled in Nathan Doyle’s Ambassadors ($6), who had made the running, and forged clear over the closing stages to score by one and a half lengths.

Fellow Newcastle trainer John Bannister’s Poseidon Ruler ($3.40) was third, with $3.10 favorite Outakandy, chasing a hat-trick, fading to finish last.

His rider Robyn Freeeman told RacingNSW stewards the gelding raced keenly in the early and middle stages, and a subsequent veterinary examination revealed he was slow to recover.

Star Impact was Minervini’s fifth winner this season, but his first since Smiling Prophet at Wyong on November 29 – and there have been nine frustrating minor placings in between.

“Star Impact has been a really good mare for us,” Minervini said.

“We bought her online for $12,000 in December, 2022 after she had won her second race at Tuncurry (coincidentally ridden by Bullock).

“Star Impact has won three races at the provincials since and run second on five occasions (one of them on the Kensington track), and earned over $100,000 for her owners.”

The now five-year-old daughter of Mikki Isle’s overall record reads five wins and nine placings from 27 starts, and she has earned just over $157,000.

Whilst Minervini was understandably pleased to get such an overdue result courtesy of Star Impact, he has also been buoyed by stable star Hosier’s return to his stable.

The seven-year-old gelding gave his trainer a Sydney stakes breakthrough in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2000m) at Royal Randwick last August, defeating Military Mission.

He subsequently ran third to that horse in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) a month later, and hasn’t raced since the Group 2 weight-for-age Hill Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on October 7.

“Hosier had a good break, and came back to the stable last Monday,” Minervini said.

“Hopefully, we can get him to the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 6, and another wet Sydney autumn would suit us just fine.”

All of lightly-raced Irish import Hosier’s eight career victories from 20 starts have been on rain-affected ground; seven on soft tracks and the other on a heavy tracks.

Story John Curtis, February 10, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

228 views0 comments


bottom of page