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REMARKABLE CHAIN OF EVENTS SURROUNDING MERITABLE




BAD luck comes in threes, so they say!

If that superstitious belief rings true, then surely Mark Minervini is due for a change of fortune with New Zealand-owned sprinter Meritable.

The Newcastle trainer has revealed a series of events which has led to the five-year-old stallion not contesting any of three races at Flemington, Newcastle and Canberra later this week.

Minervini’s initial plan was to send Meritable south for a Benchmark 84 Handicap (1100m) at Flemington on Saturday.

“We had Damian Lane booked to ride him, but the forecast for very hot weather in Melbourne on Saturday resulted in the program being reduced from 10 to eight races,” Minervini said.

“Meritable’s race has been added to the Ballarat program on Monday, but we won’t be going there.”

Minervini also nominated Meritable for both Friday’s $250,000 Group 3 Newcastle Stakes (1400m), and Sunday’s Listed National Sprint (1400m) at Canberra.

Remarkably, he drew the outside barrier in both races; 16 at home and 12 at Canberra – and has been withdrawn from both races.

“Bad luck comes in threes, so hopefully that’s our bad luck out of the way,” Minervini said.

“We’ll wait another week and go to Rosehill Gardens on Saturday week for the Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100m).”




Minervini will have dual representation in the McCarten on the opening day of the Golden Slipper Festival as he also plans to start Quick Tempo.

Stable ace Hosier will gallop with stablemate Dubai Flyer between races at Friday’s Newcastle Stakes meeting.

“Jason Collett is coming here for the meeting (booked for topweight Zeyrek in the Stakes), and will ride Hosier,” Minervini said.

“I haven’t trialled Hosier so far this time in work, and will be guided by what Jason has to say after Friday’s gallop.

“I’m not in any hurry with the horse. I want to make sure he is ready before he goes back to the races, and there is always the Brisbane winter carnival.”

. The highly regarded former New Zealander Jimmysstar is heading north for the Stakes, and Tyler Schiller will ride him from the rails barrier.

Beaten only once in four Victorian starts – and that was as a $1.26 hotpot last time at Flemington over 1400m when just run down by outsider Makram – Jimmysstar is currently on the fourth line of betting at $15 with TAB.com.au for the $4m Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick on April 6.

Not surprisingly, he is a dominant $2.10 favorite for Friday’s Group 3, with Unspoken ($6) the only other horse under double figures.

Jimmysstar (50kg) is currently well down in order of ballot for the Doncaster and, whilst a victory on Friday will improve his chances, the Newcastle winner does not secure ballot exemption for the feature Randwick “mile”.




Connections also have to decide whether to accept a wildcard invitation to start Jimmysstar in the $3.6m All-Star Mile at Caulfield on Saturday week, whereas the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill on March 30 guarantees the winner a start in the Doncaster a week later.  

The talented four-year-old gelding has won five of his seven starts, and finished second in the other two.

He is also an acceptor for the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday, but connections decided to dodge the very hot weather forecast for Melbourne.

Story John Curtis, March 6, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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