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AN unsuitable flight schedule has resulted in Ash Morgan regaining the mount on Hosier, who is defending his 1600m Coffs Harbour Cup “title” later this week.

Newcastle trainer Mark Minervini confirmed this afternoon that Jason Collett had pulled the pin on partnering the gelding in The Big Dance eligibility $150,000 feature at the Showcase meeting, which will be run on a Friday for the first time.

Morgan rode Hosier at his first start for his new trainer when a pleasing eighth in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on July 8, then Collett was aboard when the gelding was narrowly beaten by Barbie’s Fox in the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens a fortnight later.

“Jason wanted to ride Hosier at Coffs Harbour, but the Cup will be run at 4.10 pm and the last return flight to Sydney is only 35 minutes afterwards,” Minervini explained.

“With 10 races at Rosehill on Saturday and an early start, he wasn’t keen on staying overnight in Coffs.

“In any case, I’m happy to have Ash back on board.

“He has had another excellent season riding nearly 100 winners, and also had plenty of experience on the Coffs Harbour track.

“Ash came in last Saturday morning and rode Hosier on the grass at Broadmeadow, and was very happy with how he worked.

“Hosier would not have blown a candle out afterwards, and fitness wise he is spot on.

“Whilst we’re still awaiting the release of weights, I’m sure he will be hard to beat.”

Hosier had 57kg when he won last year’s Cup, with Hugh Bowman aboard, having his first start for fellow Newcastle trainer Kris Lees after being transferred from Victoria.

The former Irish gelding was sold online in May for $100,000, and Minervini syndicated him amongst clients.

Hosier will be floated to Coffs Harbour on Friday morning, and his trainer is understandably keen to post his first success at the track.

“I’ve had only two runners there,” Minervini said. “I took Super to Coffs in September 2019 not long after we moved to Newcastle from Adelaide, and he didn’t win but ran well to finish fifth.

“Super is the exact opposite to Hosier. He won’t go if there’s even a spit on the track, whereas Hosier certainly appreciates soft ground.”

Minervini has just completed easily his best season since relocating, training 26 winners and his horses earned nearly $1m prizemoney.

The Coffs Harbour Cup has attracted 24 entries – five of them from provincial stables.

As well as Hosier, Kris Lees (who has won the last two Cups with Itz Lily and Hosier) has nominated last start Winter Stakes runner-up Acquitted, Wyong’s Sara Ryan hasAttractable (a winner at two of his last three Sydney starts), Hawkesbury’s James Ponsonby has Philipsburg, and Kembla Grange’s Brett Lazzarini nominated last year’s Group 3 Newcastle Cameron Handicap winner Wild Chap.

The rail is in the TRUE position, and the track carried a “Soft 6” rating today, but the weather was fine.

*Words John Curtis, July 31, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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