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  • Provincial Racing NSW


MARK Minervini was looking to pinhook a yearling in the autumn of 2020 to educate and prepare him to sell six months later at the Inglis Ready2Race sale.

Along came Quick Tempo out of the blue.

He didn’t make it to the Ready2Race sale because, to use the Newcastle trainer’s words “he was a bit naughty and needed to be gelded and time ran out”, but Minervini still tried to sell him overseas.

“He won his first two trials and first two races the following year, but the Chinese reckoned he was too small,” Minervini said.

“So we kept him, and sold some shares to a few clients.

“I’m glad we didn’t sell as he has been a beauty for us.”

Seven wins, five placings and earnings of nearly $350,000 later, now five-year-old Quick Tempo goes back for The Gong meeting at Kembla Grange on Saturday, where he was successful at the same program 12 months ago in restricted class.

“It was during a COVID period, and I bought Quick Tempo from a virtual sale,” Minervini explained.

“I told Chris Russell from Inglis that I was looking for a yearling to prepare for their Ready2Race sale as an early two-year-old, and he mentioned there was a nice Rubick colt who had been passed in.

“They called it an Easter 2 sale, and I bought him for $20,000.”

Quick Tempo in fact was unbeaten from his first five starts at Mudgee, Muswellbrook, Taree (twice) and Newcastle between August and December 2021, going from a Maiden to a Benchmark 68 Handicap.

After a couple of subsequent city placings, the gelding’s sixth victory came in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m) at last year’s The Gong meeting, and his trainer has taken a line through that performance, coupled with his last start Royal Randwick victory on November 7, to give him a great chance of making his mark in open company in the $300,000 The Warra (1000m).

“Jason Collett rode him that day when he carried 58kg and ran 55.94 seconds, faster than The Warra winner Athelric, who had 53.5kg and ran 56.32secs,” Minervini said.

“If Quick Tempo is in the same form on Saturday, and his latest win and subsequent work indicates he is, I’m sure he is going to give a great account again.”

Minervini has followed a similar pattern to last year – with a better return already – heading toward The Warra.

Whereas Quick Tempo was a totally luckless seventh at the same Randwick meeting 12 months ago in a Benchmark 84 Handicap (1000m), his apprentice rider Zac Lloyd unable to get clear running in the straight, it was a far different story this time.

Collett took full advantage of Quick Tempo’s sharp beginning, kept pressure on the favorite and front-runner Iowna Merc, and beat him in spite of conceding 4kg.

Understandably, Minervini is happy to have Collett stay aboard for his The Warra assignment.

“Jason is top class, and has ridden Quick Tempo five times for two wins, a second and a fourth,” he said. “He gets on well with him.”

Quick Tempo carried 60.5kg in his recent success, and drops to the limit (54kg) for his tilt at open company.

Twenty-two horses were nominated for The Warra, and 16 can run, but the Newcastle sprinter is assured of a start as he is currently 13th in order of ballot.

Eleven Eleven is topweight with 60.5kg, just ahead of last year’s winner Athelric and the pacy Malkovich (both 59.5kg).

Fellow Newcastle trainers Jason Deamer and Kris Lees have nominated Hard To Say and Brudenell respectively (both also are on the limit), and Wyong trainers Tracey Bartley and Kristen Buchanan have other 54kg weighted entries Mabel and Cecil Street Lad.

In the all-in market issued today by prior to Wednesday morning acceptances, Quick Tempo is at $15 with three horses (Dragonstone, Malkovich and Insurrection) sharing favoritism at $6 in an open affair.

Chris Waller’s Osipenko, one of his seven entries for the $1m The Gong (1600m), is a clear $3.50 favorite.

Along with Quick Tempo, Minervini is chasing a Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m) at Kembla Grange with New Republic (56.5kg), another Collett mount.

“New Republic was having his second run back when fifth in a similar race over 1800m at Rosehill on November 11,” Minervini said.

“He finished off well that day, and will be fitter for the run.”

*Story John Curtis, November 20, 2023 - Pics supplied*

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