Gary Harley – The Herald & RNSW 15.09.23

Newcastle trained horses dominate early betting markets for Friday’s $300,000 Group 3 Sharp Office Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m). The Kris Lees pair Cleveland (TAB $4) and Kalapour (TAB $4.80) head the markets with Mark Minervini’s Hosier (TAB $5) third favourite. The trio have all drawn adversely, however all three are in good form and with luck in running one of them could be only the second stayer from Newcastle to win their hometown Cup since Rock Mal in 1961.  Lees’ Mugatoo won the Newcastle Cup in 2020.

Hosier’s Newcastle Cup preparation was interrupted two weeks back when he was pulled out of the Wyong Cup when a horse fell in front of him. Minervini told yours truly on Wednesday that Hosier took no ill effects from the incident and is spot on for the Cup. “He is a very fit horse and although the barrier draw did us no favours I believe we have the right jockey in Jason Collett, and he pulled up well after the Wyong Cup dramas. The Williams team put Hosier on the market for $100,000 and I emailed my clients, and he was syndicated before I bought him. He has been a great buy as he has won $184,000 in the five starts I have given him. My wife Michelle and I pulled up stumps in Adelaide four years ago and relocated to Newcastle and have fallen in love with this city. A Newcastle Cup win would be the icing on the cake” Minervini said.

The seven-year-old Hosier won the Group 3 Randwick Premiers Cup on August 19, and he has won eight of eighteen.

The Lees pair Cleveland and Kalapour have drawn the carpark and they will probably go back from the start. Ben Melham rides the Victorian owned Cleveland which resumed from a spell when he came from a long way back for an eye catching fourth behind Hosier in the Randwick Premiers Cup. He was only two lengths from the winner in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes in March when trained by Irishman Joseph O’Brien.

Kalapour will be ridden by Damian Oliver, and he was another victim of the Wyong Cup drama when he lost Tim Clark during the race. He was a close third in the Rosehill Premiers Cup Prelude on August 5, and he won the Group 3 Doomben Chairmans Handicap in May.

Chris Waller has trained three of the last five Newcastle Cup winners and he has accepted with Wineglass Bay (TAB $10), Desert Icon ($34) and Bonny Ezra ($41). Waller won last year’s Cup with Durston who won the Caulfield Cup at his following start.

Annabel Neasham has accepted with five stayers and Bois D’argent is the most fancied at $7.50.

The Group 3 $250,000 Australian Bloodstock Cameron Handicap (1500m) is a wide-open affair. Waller’s Skyman is the $5 favourite in early markets with the Lees pair Luncies and Inver Park equal second favorites at $5.50. Skyman has barrier 11 however he was brave in the Group 2 Tramway when beaten a length at Randwick on September 2.

Luncies is a stayer with a good first up record, and he finished second in this race last year. Inver Park put the writing on the wall when he flew home from way back when beaten 1.58 lengths at Rosehill last start.

Peter Snowden has won all five of the Newcastle Jockey Clubs Group 3 events in the Spring and Autumn, and the training partnership with son Paul can win the Group 3 $250,000 Yarraman Park Stud Tibbie Stakes (1400m).

Four-year-old mare Wollombi represents the stable and she is well placed under the set weight conditions. Wollombi was unlucky second up in the Listed Mona Lisa Plate at Wong last start when a fast finishing third, less than a length from the winner. She won the Group 3 Vanity at Flemington in February, and she will appreciate the big track and long straight.

Razeta’s first up fourth at Rosehill was a ripper and she is a backmarker with a powerful finish. Sanstoc was runner up in the Mona Lisa last start and she has a good record.

It is a cracking Newcastle Cup Day program and with a 30-degree day predicted, a good track and all function rooms booked out it will be a tremendous day.

The second day of the NJC’s Spring Carnival is Saturday and it’s the Charlestown Square Ladies Day!