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  • Provincial Racing NSW


MARK Minervini was speaking to a cousin in Adelaide last week by phone and mentioned he had five or six runners this week, and all had chances.

When odds-on favorite Fire And Ice (pictured) won the closer at Wyong, it meant he had trained five winners – including two doubles – in four days.

The former South Australian trainer, who relocated to Newcastle in 2019, began his hot streak with Bubbles For Me ($5) and Astral Thoughts ($4.80) at Port Macquarie last Monday.

Then track specialist Super ($3.80 favorite) bolted in at Broadmeadow the following day, and Star Impact ($5) and Fire And Ice ($1.90) put the icing on the cake.

His sole “blemish” was Media Man ($8.50), who ran fourth at Wyong.

“It’s been a big week all right,” Minervini said just before leaving the Winners’ Bar at Wyong to travel home.

“I was telling my cousin last week that I thought all my runners this week had chances, but it never happens does it?

“Obviously it’s the biggest week I have had as a trainer, but the writing was on the wall with four recent seconds.

“Bubbles For Me rattled home at Tuncurry on May 13 and was unlucky not to have won, and then we had seconds with Toyger, Star Impact and Fire And Ice at Newcastle a week later.”

The five-winner haul has assured Minervini of his best season since settling in Newcastle at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, with 21 winners already to his name.

He trained seven winners in his inaugural year, and then 13 and 16 the next two seasons.

Minervini’s outstanding success this week is all the more remarkable when it is considered he keeps no more than 16 horses in work.

“We could have a bigger team, but that’s not my style,” he said.

“I much prefer a boutique stable, and drive our staff crazy to present our horses with the best possible chance when they go to the races.”

Minervini purchased four-year-old mare Star Impact for $12,000 online last December after she had been a $40,000 2021 Inglis Classic yearling sale product.

“Some of her owners wanted to stay in her, and asked if I would be interested in buying her,” he explained.

“We have now won two Provincial races with Star Impact (the first was at Newcastle in January at $16) plus a couple of seconds, so she has been a good buy.”

Minervini purchased Fire And Ice for $80,000 at the 2021 Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale – but didn’t go there with the intention of taking him home.

“I was walking through the stalls at the sale, and noticed on this Hellbent colt’s pedigree that his dam Cersei (Cersei Lannister was one of the major characters in the hit Game Of Thrones series) was out of my good mare Vormista, whom I had a lot of success with, and she was also runner-up three times at Group 1 level,” he explained.

“Fire And Ice has now won two races, but his record should be even better as I ran him in the $2m Millennium and Group 2 Skyline Stakes at Randwick in February last year early in his career after he ran fourth on debut at that track.

“He was never going to lose today and being a rising four-year-old with only 13 starts, I’m sure he has more wins ahead.”

HOOFNOTE: Minervini’s hot streak winning run may not be over yet, either. He has two-year-old Toyger (narrowly beaten at Newcastle a fortnight ago) in at both Newcastle on Saturday and Muswellbrook on Sunday, and is leaning toward starting the Lohnro youngster at the former venue in a Maiden Plate (900m) against his own age, with Ash Morgan the rider.

*Words John Curtis, June 1, 2023 - Pics Steve Hart Photographics*

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