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  • Provincial Racing NSW


MARK Minervini’s Melbourne Cup dream is over.

“I’m a bit flat,” the Newcastle trainer admitted today after pulling the pin on a start with Raging Bull in Saturday’s Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) at Flemington, where the winner automatically gains a berth in the $8.4m Cup (3200m) field next Tuesday.

“Raging Bull worked as good as he ever has for me last Saturday morning, but I haven’t been entirely happy with him since.

“He is going to the paddock for a spell.”

As a result, Minervini did not nominate Raging Bull – an unlucky second at Royal Randwick on October 21 at his second start since joining his stable – for the $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Archer, for which 25 horses have been entered.

Neither did he pay the third acceptance fee for the Cup, where the numbers have dwindled further from 44 to 32 (including fellow Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ pair Cleveland and Kalapour).

Twenty-four horses can run in the Cup, and the final field will be declared and barriers drawn at the conclusion of Saturday’s Derby day program.

Former South Australian Minervini has never had a Melbourne Cup runner, and now isn’t likely to have a representative at all at the Cup carnival.

He was contemplating sending Quick Tempo south as a travelling companion for Raging Bull, but is leaning toward resuming him at Randwick next Tuesday instead.

“I will work Quick Tempo in the morning and make a decision after he gallops,” Minervini said.

“But its’s most probable that he will go to Randwick for the Choisir Handicap – a Benchmark 100 over 1100m.”

Whilst Minervini is understandably disappointed at not having the chance to get a Melbourne Cup runner, he is moving on and has three starters at Wednesday’s Kensington meeting.

He runs Perfect Point (1400m Maiden Plate), and Bubbles For Me and Smiling Prophet (Benchmark 72 Handicap, 1100m for fillies and mares).

Kerrin McEvoy will ride Perfect Point and Smiling Prophet, and jockeys’ premiership front-runner Tyler Schiller partners Bubbles For Me.

Kris Lees’ Luncies (Blake Shinn), with 59kg topweight, has drawn barrier 11 for Wednesday’s $500,000 Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m).

A capacity field of 16 has accepted to contest the race.

Stablemate Willinga Beast has been entered for Saturday’s Group 3 Furphy Sprint (1100m) for mares on the opening day of the Flemington carnival.

Kris Lees' Cleveland has been penalised 0.5kg for his Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) win at The Valley last Friday night, to 52kg, 3.5kg less than he carried at The Valley.

*Story John Curtis, October 30, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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