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  • Provincial Racing NSW


A Wyong-Newcastle Cups double mission is on the radar for Hosier, who steps back up to a middle distance at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Newcastle trainer Mark Minervini, heartened by rainfall earlier this week, is looking forward to starting the accomplished wet tracker in the $250,000 Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2000m).

Randwick was rated a “Heavy 8” this morning, and the lightly-raced seven-year-old import’s seven career wins have all been on rain-affected ground (six on soft and the other on heavy).

Minervini purchased Hosier online for $100,000 in late May and syndicated him amongst clients, so the $140,000 first prize for Saturday’s race would more than recoup that outlay.

After being narrowly beaten by Victorian visitor Barbie’s Fox in the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 22, Hosier finished fourth to Attractable (conceding him 4kg) in the Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) on August 4.

“Obviously I was disappointed we didn’t win the Cup, but certainly not with his performance,” Minervini said today. “Hosier lost his position midway through the race, and it probably cost him winning. “He finished off really well under his 61kg topweight, and was beaten only one and a half lengths.”RacingNSW stewards reported Hosier had to be steadied after improving on to heels rounding the turn near the 1000m. Hosier goes to 2000m at Randwick – he won consecutive races over 1800m at Sandown and 2000m at Flemington on soft ground two years ago during a four-win streak – and drops to 54.5kg.

Jason Collett rode Hosier when just beaten in the Winter Challenge, and his manager said he was keen to be on him again,” Minervini said. “I’m pretty kind to Hosier, and don’t do a lot with him between races. He gallops only once a week, and I keep him ticking over.

“He is in great order, and the certainty of wet ground on Saturday will give us a good guide to going ahead to races such as the Wyong and Newcastle Cups.”

The $240,000 Listed Wyong Cup (2100m) will be run on September 1, and $300,000 Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) a fortnight later. Minervini has taken the precaution of also nominating Hosier for both the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Cox Plate (2040m) on October 21 and 28 respectively in case Melbourne gets a burst of wet weather around that time.

Five horses have won the Wyong-Newcastle Cups double in the same year (the latest was subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Durston last year) since the turn of the century, and Hosier’s former trainer, Newcastle’s Kris Lees, also has his sights on achieving both with Kalapour.

Another lightly-raced seven-year-old who, like Hosier, also began his career in Ireland and has started only 14 times, Kalapour raced well in Brisbane earlier in the year, including winning the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 13, and resumed with a strong-finishing third in the Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 5. He carried 59.5kg, and conceded the winner Bold Mac and runner-up Fawkner Park 3.5kg and 7kg respectively.

Lees could have run Kalapour in Saturday’s Premier’s Cup, but opted to head straight to the Wyong Cup and then the Newcastle Cup, which he won with Mugatoo in 2020. Provincial trainers Paul Perry (Newcastle) and Kristen Buchanan (Wyong) came up trumps at yesterday’s midweek Canterbury meeting, with double figure odds winners.

Perry landed the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1900m) with Olympic Gaze ($13), and Buchanan the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m) with $16 chance Cecil Street Lad. The much-travelled Cecil Street Lad, who was first sold in Adelaide as a yearling in 2020 and then later that year in New Zealand as an early two-year-old at a Ready To Run sale, has now won races in the three Eastern states.

The five-year-old was having his first start for Buchanan, who praised jockey Lee Magorrian for his winning ride. Buchanan, who has already won 10 Midway Handicaps in Sydney, is hoping to chase another with Cecil Street Lad – but not just yet.

“His NSW benchmark rating went up four points to 73 for yesterday’s win, but we could use an apprentice to claim on him,” she said today. “But he has to have another two starts for me before he can run in one of the Saturday Midways in town.”

Article by John Curtis, 17th August 2023. Photo - Bradley Photography

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