Former South Australian trainer Mark Minervini was determined to win with his first starter in his new home town of Newcastle and on Saturday his speedster Calipari did not let the likable trainer down. Minervini disillusioned with South Australian Racing because of disappointing prizemoney levels and a lack of government support pulled up stumps and moved to Newcastle ten days ago with nine horses.
He told Newcastle Herald readers on Saturday that he had set Calipari for a first up win to celebrate his move to Newcastle. The four-year-old purchased by Adelaide and Sydney clients for $42,500 after three starts in the 2018 Autumn under the care of the Snowden family was the $2.20 favourite in the 900 metre Maiden Plate on Saturday.
Minervini was advised by Novocastrian friends to book local jockey Aaron Bullock to ride his horse and Bullock had an armchair ride. Calipari is blessed with blistering speed and Bullock let the speedster stride to the front soon after the start.
He was always in control and won easily by a length and a half. An excited Minervini greeted Calipari and Bullock when the pair returned to scale. “I am pumped. Our dreams of a fairy tale start have come to fruition. This horse has been ready to win for a few weeks, but I wanted to keep him for when we arrived in Newcastle as I was so confident that he would win first up.
Aaron rode him a treat and he told me before the race that he was confident Calipari would win after viewing his recent trial. I have nine horses in Newcastle and another three or four will arrive next week. I hope to have 20 horses in Newcastle by Christmas. I intend to have three starters at Wyong next Sunday. The Newcastle Jockey Club have been so helpful, and their training facilities are first class” Minervini said.
Minervini is best known for his efforts with a mare called Vormista, who won the Group 2 UCI Stakes.
Racegoers at Newcastle on Saturday witnessed two promising Randwick trained gallopers win their respective races.
Japanese mare Stellar Impact trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott won the 1895 metre Maiden Plate at her first Australian start. The mare backed from $3 to $1.80 led all the way and fought off her challengers.
The Snowden family who enjoy a very good strike rate at Newcastle produced a smart filly in the final event, the 1200 metre Maiden Handicap.
Mayaaseh resumed after two runs in the Autumn where she was placed in the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes. Apprentice Cejay Graham produced a gem of a ride to land the filly a winner.
Kris Lees was the only Newcastle trainer to enjoy success courtesy of Great Danger.
Aaron Bullock and James Innes Jnr both rode two winners.