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  • Provincial Racing NSW


MARK Minervini goes to town on Saturday with a trio of runners – all to be ridden by different apprentices with different claims.

But the Newcastle trainer’s booking of Molly Bourke, Angus Villiers and Amy McLucas for Raging Bull, Dehorned Unicorn, and Quick Tempo respectively at Royal Randwick wasn’t by design.

“I had actually tried to book Brisbane apprentice Bailey Wheeler for all three horses,” Minervini explained on Thursday morning.

“He has been riding at Saturday meetings in Sydney the last few weeks whilst the winter carnival up north has been continuing, but was told earlier he wasn’t coming down this weekend.

“I got a surprise to find out he is now riding at Randwick.”

Bourke will claim 3kg on Raging Bull in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1800m), Villiers claims 1.5kg on Dehorned Unicorn in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m), and McLucas takes 2kg off Quick Tempo’s back in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m).

Former Sydney stayer Raging Bull hadn’t raced since finishing second in a Benchmark 88 Handicap (2000m) at Randwick on October 21 when unplaced on resumption in an unsuitable 1300m Benchmark 98 Handicap there on June 8.

“I’m sure there will be some improvement going up to 1800m, but he had a long break and I suspect is going to take another run or two before getting back to his best form,” Minervini said.

“He needs racing to regain full fitness again.”

Former Sydney sprinter Dehorned Unicorn, a $65,000 online purchase in February, made his debut for his new stable when 12th to Fleetwood in a similar race at Randwick a fortnight ago.

“I wasn’t disappointed with his run at all,” Minervini said. “He had 60kg, drew wide and raced wide throughout.

“Sam Clipperton rode him and said afterwards he was there until the 100m, and then peaked.

“He needed that run, has taken nice improvement from it and is much better drawn this time.”

Dehorned Unicorn has won five races (three of them in town), and Minervini was happy to secure English apprentice Villiers to lessen the gelding’s weight to 58.5kg.

“I have been taking notice of Angus, and am quite impressed with him,” Minervini said.

“He is a heavier apprentice, and I would have been pleased to have him on my three horses, but he had taken other rides in Raging Bull and Quick Tempo’s races.”

Minervini welcomed the forecast of further rain for Quick Tempo’s bid to get back into the winning list.

“He is racing well, and loves wet tracks,” he said.

“Quick Tempo will enjoy the ground if the rain does come and we get back to a heavy rating.”

Following a short break, Quick Tempo was an excellent second to Opal Ridge in the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) at the Scone carnival on May 18 before another solid performance when fourth to Mnementh in the Listed Bob Charley AO Stakes (1100m) at Randwick on June 8 on a ‘Heavy 9’.

Minervini also has two representatives at his home track meeting on Saturday; Got An Inspiration (Blake Spriggs) in the opener, the Benchmark 64 Handicap (2370m), and Aaron Bullock rides Star Impact in the closer, the Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m).

He reported stablemate Hosier has recovered from his latest 10th to French import Eliyass in the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Randwick on June 8.

“He pulled a shoe in the race and pulled up sore,” Minervini said.

“I’ve given him an easy time since and kept him ticking over, and he galloped at Broadmeadow this morning.

“I will get a vet clearance and find another suitable race for him in the coming weeks.

Minervini was unlucky not to have won with Diamond Model, who was narrowly beaten by Hawkesbury four-year-old Iron Man at Canterbury on Wednesday.

“Diamond Model drew near the outside in a field of nine and had to race wide all the way,” he said. “Nash Rawiller rode her and was very disappointed he didn’t win on her.

“She has now been placed in town at both runs this preparation, and in four of her six runs for us.

“I’m sure she will soon break through in Sydney.”

Story John Curtis, June 20, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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