The State’s leading jockey Aaron Bullock put on a master class at Wyong’s Winter Race Day combining with Mark Minervini to take out the 1350m BM64 on Star Impact and Fire And Ice in the 1100m BM68.
The pair have become a formidable combination in recent months, with Bullock riding five winners and four placings for the Minervini stable from just 10 starters.
His Wyong double took his tally for the season to 148, with James McDonald second on 110.
Minervini is also enjoying his best season in recent years with 21 winners to date, five of those in the past four days.
He was thrilled with the Wyong double and full of praise for Bullock.
“You always go to these meetings with plenty of hope, but it doesn’t often happen, so to train a double was great. We are still pinching ourselves to be honest,” he said.
“It’s great to have Aaron on board. He’s riding with so much confidence at the moment and is very focused. He rode my first winner for me when we came over from Adelaide.
“I’ve given him a few rides recently and we’ve just gelled together, so I hope it keeps going.
“It’s taken us a while to get established since moving to Newcastle. It’s a big job and if I’d realised how long I would have taken I probably wouldn’t have done it. We’re over the moon now and hopefully the future is only going to get better.”
Young guns Tyler Schiller, Dylan Gibbons and Jett Stanley weren’t to be denied, assisting their respective mounts to victory.
Comeback jockey Adam Hyeronimus couldn’t hide his delight, returning to scale after booting home Notabadone for Jim and Greg Lee.
Hyeronimus was sidelined for two years and four months by stewards for betting offences, returned to the saddle on May 26 and has already ridden a winner. He was having his first ride back at Wyong and his only ride for the day.
Hyeronimus, was keen to partner Notabadone, the $2.10 favourite narrowly beaten at his last start at Nowra on May 21.
The Group 1 winning jockey, who spent much of his time while suspended working as a tree lopper, said he had expected the slower tempo in the 1350m 4YO & Up Maiden would suit Notabadone.
Gibbons combined with his boss Kris Lees to take out the 1100m Provincial Maiden with three-year-old Orlabent. The short-priced favourite didn’t disappoint winning by more than two lengths and looks headed for bigger things. The victory took Gibbons to 90.5 in the Apprentice’s Premiership, giving him a narrow 1.5 lead over Tyler Schiller.
A patient ride by Schiller in the 1600m Maiden resulted in a significant form reversal by Doutelle. Matthew Smith’s Olympic Glory three-year-old was beaten more than 10 lengths at his last start at Kembla but was able to turn that around, courtesy of Schiller, in the 1600m Maiden.
Stanley continued a great run since moving north riding the Maher Eustace trained Windshadow home in the 1350m CG&E BM64. After being purchased as a $900,00 Magic Millions yearling, the four-year-old was on sold to the current owner Maree Anderson for just $22,500, his Wyong win taking his prizemoney to date to almost $70,000.
John Thompson had planned to send his well-bred filly California Grass north for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks but she came up as fourth emergency he opted for the Wyong race.
And she didn’t disappoint, putting more than four lengths on her rivals in the 2100m Class 1 and Maiden, with Keagan Latham in the saddle. The Al Maher three-year-old was coming off a last start Newcastle win over 2300m and looks destined to go on to bigger things.
Well-bred Written Tycoon colt Mafia will likely head back to Metropolitan grade on the strength of his debut win in the 1000m Maiden. Snowden’s $850,000 colt was resuming from a spell and the win never looked in doubt. Stable representative Colm McCullagh said Mafia had always shown plenty of ability but had taken plenty of time to mature. Chad Schofield was the winning rider.
*Pics Steve Hart Photographics*