August, 2019

Danny O’Brien happy with racebook omen, Mark Zahra gets double

Trainer Danny O’Brien leaving an earlier hearing. Photo: Vince CaligiuriFlemington trainer Danny O’Brien has spent the week at the RAD board as one of the key figures in the long-running cobalt saga, so to simply step out on a race track in the summer sunshine to saddle up a handful of runners with live chances must have felt like a huge relief.
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Whatever his off-track travails, O’Brien has always presented as a cool character on course, and he was no different on Saturday when he welcomed back the lightly raced – and well-backed – Tyrannize, who scored comfortably under Ben Melham in the benchmark Lanec Handicap for three-year-olds at headquarters.

O”Brien joked that he knew his luck was in when he arrived at Flemington and picked up the race book which had a photograph of a horse carrying Rupert Legh’s navy blue with yellow lightning bolt colours on the front cover, so he was happy to take it as a positive omen for the son of O’Reilly’s prospects.

Punters agreed, the gelding being backed into a starting price of $7, having opened at $10.

“He’s the first horse we have had for Rupert, we have always had a good opinion of him even before this campaign. He’s two for two now as a gelding and we are starting to see some of that ability out on the track,” he said.

“I was very surprised at his price, I thought he would probably be near favourite on his earlier form. The bookies don’t always get it right, I thought he was a 3-1 or 4-1 chance, it looks like they have taken some of the odds that were on offer.”

Englishman Sam Pritchard-Gordon is one of a number of young trainers from the UK and Ireland now calling Australia home and he is steadily making a name for himself.

Having city winners always helps, and he did so with the progressive mare A Lotta Love, the $2.90 favourite, who took out the Lola and Trish’s Handicap in the hands of Mark Zahra. It was the first leg of a double the jockey completed aboard the front running Crimson Cape ($6.50) for the Robert Smerdon stable in the Plenary Group Handicap two hours later.

A Lotta Love’s win came with a sad postscript, however. One of the mare’s part owners, Tom Thring, died in Queensland last Wednesday, so his colleagues dedicated this triumph to their friend’s memory.

Russell Boyd, one of the winning owners, said : “He was just a very dear friend of ours. It was very emotional for me, and great for his family watching in Brisbane. it was very sudden. He had cancer and had complications. He was only 61. He was in a couple of horses with us, and he would have been in a lot more.”

Pat Carey and Rhys McLeod are a long-established combination and the Mornington-based pair struck early in the day when Shakesperean Lass defied a betting drift from $10 to $13 to take out the First Response Pharmacy Trophy over 1000 metres down the straight.

McLeod had the daughter of Written Tycoon well balanced and lying close to the pace all the way and she was good enough to score by a length-and-three-quarters from the topweight Tykiato.

Carey believes that now she has proved she can perform down the straight there will be other opportunities for the four-year-old as she works up from a low rating.

“Credit to Rhys, we took the visors off her and he gave her a great ride. She hit the line strongly. We have always had a good opinion of her, she has always displayed good ability.”

The Hawkes stable doesn’t often back up horses within seven days so punters who read the formguide ahead of the Western Health Adamo Cafe Cup might have taken the tip when they saddled up Longeron just six days after his disappointing effort at Traralgon last Sunday – especially as it was their only runner of the day.

Despite giving Patrick Moloney a torrid time the front-runner made every post a winning one to score as a $4.60 chance.

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Australia vs West Indies first cricket Test: Short course could whet appetite for leftover pies

The chairman of the national selection panel, in attempting to assign his own perspective to the day-night Test match, reckoned that Peter Nevill’s first innings top score of 66 was worth double, as was Shaun Marsh’s 49 in the second dig.
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Which made Nathan Lyon’s 34 surely Bradmanlike.

I guess you may as well double all the runs made, halve the wickets and triple the catches, a Test match revolution to rival Twenty20 cricket brought about not so much by a pink ball and floodlights but manipulation of the numbers.

Cricketers of any level can’t hide from their statistics. That is what the notion of averages is all about.

You take the easily made runs with the softening Kookaburra in perfect batting conditions along with runs not made when the Duke is talking up a swing melody.

Besides, the Adelaide Test was a very watchable, wicket-taking revelation compared with the previous two. I wonder will the next step be to divide the runs made by the Australian batsmen at Bellerive by the temperature on Friday, plus Jason Holder’s shoe size, minus Marlon Samuel’s boredom index.

The West Indian bowling was scary, not “bruising, break some bone scary”, not “every ball could get you out” scary but, as my old opening batsman John Dyson, used to say on those rare excursions onto flat pitches facing third-string bowlers, you were simply too scared to get out and miss the party.

Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh spent all day and night at the party, imbibing deeply with scarcely a hint of a hangover.

The selectors now have a peg to hang their persistent but oft-questioned choice of Marsh firmly on. He has made a big hundred and that is all that can be asked of him.

It is scarcely his fault if the attack needed a denominator to truly express the value of his score. Runs were being gifted to batsmen who had to peer into the distance to find most of the fieldsmen. There was no pressure from fieldsmen posted to block infield runs or force a stroke away from the orthodox and little threat from the actual deliveries.

Make no mistake: this was a very good batting surface and had the new wave of toss prohibitionists been in vogue or Jason Holder called differently the West Indies may have made a first day score themselves.

Not 438 though, and not for the loss of three wickets.

The value of Voges’ and Marsh’s runs was clear; they shared a significant partnership that put the Australian team in a strong position. The numerator stands by itself. The value of Darren Bravo and Kemar Roach’s partnership late on day two could be measured not simply by runs. As they negotiated their way through some testing seam and crafty spin with studied defences, play and misses and positive strokeplay the gate takers and caterers were urging a Windies resurgence.

At 6-116 after skipper Holder was seen off by umpire Marais Erasmus with a nod and a wink from the non-striker, a two-day Test was looking a strong possibility.

A weekend with no pie or hot dog sales would be disastrous for the local businesses, and another nail in the coffin of Bellerive as a Test venue.

The manner in which the top order folded, with the aid of a pitch just starting to give a tad of uneven bounce and Nathan Lyon a smidgen sideways to go with his ever-present extra vertical, was not up to Test standard, so in that respect it at least matched their bowling. Darren Bravo’s innings certainly was up to standard. He and Roach may not have saved the Test match but they saved their teammates from serious professional and personal embarrassment. They combined decent techniques and patience with some old-fashioned ticker and for a while Australia had to struggle. There was a lesson for some closer to the top of the order about care and respect for your wicket. The second innings was barely worth mentioning.

The talk from the Windies coaching staff trying to make an underdog believe they could perform beyond their limits worked for precious few.

The Australian attack may have been without their new leader in Mitchell Starc but this gave James Pattinson the opportunity to express the coach’s mantra with his pace. Maybe he tried a bit too hard on the second day, concentrating more on the radar readings than getting the fundamentals of line and length correct. Such is the impetuosity of youth, especially that which is put on bowling rations by those who think workloads rather than skill are the secret to making a champion.

His spell on the third morning was destructive. He followed the tenet of “length and line and you’ll be fine” and used that variation in bounce to full effect.

His speed was below his top but he made the batsmen play and they often missed.

The Pattinson-Josh Hazlewood opening combination followed by Peter Siddle bit relentlessly.

A rout inside three days reduces the workload delightfully; they now might have to eat all the leftover pies.

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Cronulla protests: what is the anti-fascist group Antifa?

Members of the anti-fascist Antifa group at Cronulla on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The Antifaschistische Aktion flag on Saturday.
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Anti-racism activists turn violent at Cronulla rally

Dressed in black, faces covered, members of Antifa are the self-appointed enemies of the far-right.

During the protests and counter-protests that marked the 10-year anniversary of the Cronulla riots on Saturday,  Antifa members carrying red, black and white flags emblazoned with the words Antifaschistische Aktion clashed with anti-Islam protesters.

A woman draped in an Australian flag was surrounded by 20 to 30 Antifa members who shouted at her to “take that fascist flag off now”.

Antifa, or anti-fascists, are a loose collection of socialists and anarchists, anti-racists and small-l liberals.

Antifaschistische Aktion is the name of a German anti-fascist organisation that reportedly has its roots in the German communist party in 1932, and was dissolved in 1933 by the Nazis and resurfaced in the 1980s in Europe as a response to resurgent right-wing groups.

Today the hard-left group is transnational, and part of hard-left common at the protests that usually mark G20 and other global leader summits in Europe.

In Australia members or self-professed members of the group have become an increasingly common sight at rallies organised to oppose the far-right protests held by groups like the United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia.

Antifa Australia’s Facebook page has as its most recent post on November 17: “These deranged far-right scum want to damage society and bring everyone down. If the Authorities won’t stop hate speech, the leftist community will now need to implement their own authority via grassroots action.”

It describes itself as the “militant Left-Wing”, and in October wrote on Facebook that “a war … will break out in Cronulla when the far-right hold their rally”.

“We are one against the racists and their masters of the rich Australian ruling class,” the post read.

Antifa’s Wordpress website lists its goals as opposing fascism, as well as to “defend the working class and their organisations from fascist attack”.

In keeping with the groups historical links to socialism, it also paints itself as anti-capitalist.

Members of Antifa in Australia have deliberately remained anonymous.

That’s despite attempts by opposing groups to out some of its most outspoken Australian advocates such as Andy Fleming, a pseudonym used by a Melbourne-based anti-fascist who runs a blog called slackbastard that tracks the far-right movement.​

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Jewish leader condemns Camille Paglia for calling Taylor Swift a “Nazi Barbie”

Firebrand academic Camille Paglia slams Taylor Swift for ‘obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine’Jarryd Hayne apologises for ‘Jews killed Jesus’ tweets
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A leading Australian Jewish organisation has denounced American cultural critic Camille Paglia for calling Taylor Swift a “Nazi Barbie”, calling on her to apologise for the “absurd and offensive comparison of Swift to the Nazis”.

The chairman of B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Dr Dvir Abramovich, said Paglia demeaned and trivialised the suffering of the victims of Nazi Germany with her comments about Swift and social media posts about her celebrity friends.

In an essay in The Hollywood Reporter, Paglia contends that Swift’s “…twinkly persona is a scary flashback to the fascist blondes who ruled the social scene during my youth”.

Paglia also suggested the singer should retire the “obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props.”

Dr Abramovich said Paglia’s references to Nazism and fascism were “obscene and insensitive”.

“While Paglia is entitled to her views about Taylor Swift’s music and performance, her absurd and offensive comparison of Swift to the Nazis, whose genocidal policies and actions resulted in the systematic persecution and slaughter of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust, betrays an ignorance of what really happened in Hitler’s Third Reich,” Dr Abramovich said.

“Such obscene and insensitive equations have no place in our cultural discourse and only serve to  demean and trivialise the memory and suffering of the victims.”

Dr Abramovich said the comparisons made by Paglia were not only historically inaccurate and extreme, but “they are also hurtful to Holocaust survivors, their families, as well as to those who fought bravely against the Nazis in World War II”.

“We call on The Hollywood Reporter to repudiate the article, and would urge Ms Paglia to apologise and to refrain from using such Holocaust imagery in the future.”

The ADC was founded in 1979 to fight anti-Semitism through educational programs that combat bigotry, prejudice and all forms of hatred.

Earlier this year, the ADC demanded former NRL player Jarryd Hayne apologise for suggesting Jewish people were responsible for killing Jesus.

Hayne, who now plays football in the United States, posted the offending comments on social media in July while in Sydney for the Hillsong annual conference. He later wrote an apology on social media, addressed to the Jewish community.

Dr Abramovich has also taken millionaire MP Clive Palmer to task for calling former Queensland premier Campbell Newman a Nazi.

In her essay, Paglia argues that Swift and other women in the entertainment business should forge productive friendships based around mentoring, exchanging advice and developing innovative projects.

​”Women need to study the immensely productive dynamic of male bonding in history,” she writes. “With their results-oriented teamwork, men largely have escaped the sexual jealousy, emotionalism and spiteful turf wars that sometimes dog women.”

Paglia’s comments have received some support, but have been greeted with outrage by fans of Swift, who is touring Australia.

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem once invoked the Third Reich in an attack on Paglia: “Her calling herself a feminist is sort of like a Nazi saying they’re not anti-Semitic.”

Paglia reportedly took umbrage at the references to Nazism but invoked the name of another genocidal killer, calling Steinem “the Stalin of feminism”.

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Helicopter called in to locate runaway horse at Kembla Grange

Early present: Blake Spriggs (white cap) and Sir John Hawkwood take out the Christmas Cup at Royal Randwick. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛 Lost and found: Arigold was located in dense scrubland at Kembla. Photo: Supplied
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Bemused racing officials were forced to charter a helicopter to find a horse that got loose before the start of a Kembla Grange race and became lost in dense bushland.

The Jason Coyle-trained Arigold dumped rider Mitchell Bell on the way to the barriers and managed to flee the track. It was eventually located in thick scrub near Mullet Creek, the waterway that runs alongside the course and adjacent to the Princes Highway.

“They needed a helicopter to find the horse and they eventually found it right next to the creek with its saddle still on,” said Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy, who was officiating at the Randwick meeting on Saturday.

Arigold’s scratching added to an already eventful race, which was slated to have just three starters. After Arigold’s withdrawal there were just two runners, Anthony Cummings’ Calm And Serene winning the match race against Chris Waller’s Katinka.

Collett to the fore

Jason Collett’s previous best haul of four winners in a day came at Dargaville in New Zealand, a track where they race only twice a year. But Cradle Me’s withering burst down the outside to win the listed Razor Sharp Handicap was enough to deliver Collett a quartet of winners – of sorts – at Randwick on Saturday.

“I didn’t think she could win as she was struggling to stay in touch with them, but she sprinted really well,” said Collett, who had earlier won on Rule The River, Lady Sniper and shared honours on Shutter Bug.

David Pfieffer’s mare led home a wall of horses, which included Aussies Love Sport finishing a long neck adrift in second and Boss Lane a half-length further back in third.

Many happy returns

David Vandyke’s first day back at work after a short holiday couldn’t have gone better as Sir John Hawkwood made Sydney Cup plans a little firmer with victory in the listed Christmas Cup at Randwick.

“I wasn’t sure where he was at going into today,” Vandyke said. “He had tightened up since his last start and I wasn’t sure if he had tightened up too much. I am still learning about him and I think the way we had him prepared today is the key to his future. I think the fact he turned for home and couldn’t get a run and came right back on the steel gave him the chance to let down.”

The Waratah Thoroughbreds project, which has already passed through the Craig Ritchie and Peter Moody yards, just found enough to down the grinding favourite Jiayuguan and Lucky Lucky Lucky.

Camera can’t split Shutter Bug

Jason Collett thought he had won, Kerrin McEvoy wasn’t sure and the judge? He decided to give it to them both. Keeping with the theme of the enthralling Highway Handicap series, Collett’s Shutter Bug and McEvoy’s Pera Pera fought out a rare dead heat at Randwick.

“I thought I had won,” Collett said. “We had the momentum and when I put the head down I knew we were half a stride out. I still thought I had it anyway, but when the number didn’t come up I thought, ‘oh no, this is not good’. It is not often they have a dead heat in the city.”

Goulburn trainer Danny Williams has been peppering the series since its October inception and had to settle for a shared win for his first success.

“Not a way to win a race, but I’m happy to do that,” he said. “It’s about time we got there. We’ve represented every one of them so far and we’ve had a few placings. It was just nice to win one, just a shame it was that way. But we’ll take it all the same.”

McEvoy, who offered a high five to Collett as they returned to scale, wasn’t as confident Pera Pera got his head down on the line.

“I wasn’t sure,” McEvoy said. “It was a brave run by him and he’s going to run well in one of these races in the near future.”

Clenton feels stewards’ wrath

Chief steward Ray Murrihy gave a stern rebuke to top apprentice Samantha Clenton over her ride on Bayview Emperor, just stopping short of issuing a running and handling charge.

Clenton rattled home from last on Jeremy Sylvester’s well-backed hope to finish sixth in the Highway Handicap, but Murrihy grilled her over a lack of vigour approaching the turn.

“You gave up on that horse and were half hearted around the turn,” Murrihy said. “You’re going through the motions. It seems to me when you get interested in the race, the horse gets interested in the race.”

Clenton argued she steadied the horse and went back to last in the middle stages when it was inclined to lay out, but had concerns with how it was travelling and didn’t predict Bayview Emperor would finish the race the way he did. Sylvester said he had no major problems with the ride and actually had $250 on the horse at $67 to win. The horse was backed from $51 into $14 on track.

Black-type races rule

Anthony Cummings is never one to die wondering with his horses over a trip, but Rule The River will be kept to sprinting trips for the forseeable future in a bid to earn valuable black type. Gosford’s Takeover Target Stakes in January – or even the Canterbury Classic on Boxing Day – loom as suitable options for Gerry Harvey’s mare.

“It’s a nice time of year for her and we’ve got a mare in form and we’ll be tackling black type next start,” said foreman Edward Cummings after Rule The River sped to victory from In A Wink and Karakuchi in the Randwick first.

“She’s just been a horse that has had to deal with the same issues we do growing up. It’s just taken her a bit longer than others. Just because she wasn’t around as a two- and three-year-old doesn’t mean she is any worse for wear. It was just a tactic we decided to employ and she’s reaping the benefits.”

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