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  • Provincial Racing NSW


NEWCASTLE trainer Mark Minervini has two targets in the next fortnight.

His immediate priority is crack the $1m prizemoney barrier in a season before the 2022-23 racing year ends next Monday.

And the second is to make another impact in the first week of a new season by clinching his most important victory since relocating from Adelaide nearly four years ago, with Hosier in Friday week’s $150,000 Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m).

Recent stable acquisition Hosier, who won last year’s Coffs Cup for fellow Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, was narrowly beaten in yesterday’s Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens at only his second start for his new trainer.

Victory would have taken Minervini past the $1m mark this season. Instead, going under in the last couple of bounds in a sparkling return to form, left him just a tick over $25,000 shy.

Hosier, who looked home when he hit the front, conceded the winner Barbie’s Fox 2.5kg.

Minervini, who in any case has had a memorable season by winning 26 races with a boutique stable, says he has two “live chances” in the last week to nail what would be an excellent achievement.

“I’ve got Beatlemania running at home on Tuesday on the Beaumont track in an 1150m Maiden against her own sex, and recent Canterbury winner New Republic tackling a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday at the final metropolitan meeting of the season,” he said today.

“The more rain the better for Beatlemania. She has started only five times and was placed on a ‘Heavy 10’ on the Beaumont track over the same course as Tuesday’s race, at her second start in late January.

“She is dropping back to a country grade Maiden on Tuesday from her first two runs this preparation in provincial class at Gosford, and has drawn an inside gate.

“New Republic is going really well. He won a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1900m) with 58.5kg at a Canterbury midweek meeting on July 12, and is ready to have a crack at a Saturday race in town.

“Jason Collett rode him for the first time in that win, and wants to stick with him.”

It’s a similar story with Hosier, whom Collett partnered for the first time when he almost landed the Winter Challenge at $15. As much as $91 was offered last Wednesday after acceptances were taken.

Minervini syndicated Hosier after purchasing him online for $100,000 in late May when offered for sale.

Whilst the six-year-old former Irish gelding’s seven Australian wins have all been on rain-affected ground (six of them on soft tracks, including the Coffs Harbour Cup nearly 12 months ago), his new trainer was prepared to start with a “fresh canvas” when he took him over.

“Hosier came to me in fantastic order, but was pigeon-holed as solely a wet tracker,” Minervini said.

“When any trainer takes over a horse from another trainer, you have to start afresh.

“Hosier ran really well first-up for us in the Winter Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on July 8 when he drew near the outside and finished off nicely.

“That race was run on a ‘Good 4’ surface, and his performance gave me confidence that he could run well yesterday on another good track, especially when he drew so well.

“I thought he was home, but Jason (Collett) had to make his run a little bit earlier than he probably would have liked, once he got clear running.

“He has pulled up well, and Jason’s manager has indicated that he would like to ride him again in the Coffs Cup.

“Obviously because of his wet track record, I won’t mind if the Coffs Harbour track on Friday week has the sting out of it.

“I don’t want to see a ‘Heavy 10’, but a ‘Soft 6 or 7’ would be nice.”

Coffs Harbour Racing Club’s feature event carries an important eligibility clause for The Big Dance (1600m), which will carry a $3m purse (boosted from $2m for its inaugural running last year), at Randwick on November 7.

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