Month: May 2018

  • Stewards give O’Brien a grilling

    AIDAN O’BRIEN was hauled back to Flemington yesterday by Racing Victoria stewards after the Irish trainer’s trio of Melbourne Cup runners failed miserably, with team riding tactics the subject of a grilling.
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    "We’ve come down here to do our best," O’Brien told stewards while standing at the head of the table. "All the trainers, jockeys [in the race] knew we were going to build an even pace."

    O’Brien’s team was headed by Europe’s champion stayer, Septimus, which tucked in behind stablemates and pacemaker Alessandro Volta, with Honolulu also in the tearaway group.

    "The first half-mile was five seconds quicker than last year," chief steward Terry Bailey the trainer. O’Brien didn’t actually blame the firm track for the dismal failures – in which Septimus was the best placed of three when finishing 18th – but the trainer made a point out saying "we were promised all the way safe ground".

    "Imagine the uproar if I came in here and said, ‘I want to take the horse out’," said O’Brien, who explained his jockeys had been told "don’t break their [horse’s] stride, let them flow" while adding "all jockeys came in and said the horses felt the ground".

    Both Honolulu and Septimus pulled up lame, but Bailey was more concerned with Alessandro Volta beating only Honolulu home.

    Earlier, stewards questioned O’Brien’s jockeys, with Wayne Lordan [Alessandro Volta] asked about the riding instructions.

    "Jump out, let the horse use his stride, he stays very well," was Lordan’s explanation. "I didn’t think we went to quick."

    Lordan said that at the 200m mark, Alessandro Volta changed stride and he thought it "burst" and had "bled internally" and it didn’t go forward. "The reason it is not going forward is you set him to big a task," Bailey replied.

    Jockey Colm O’Donoghue, who rode Honolulu, was next up and asked about riding instructions. "Aidan had instructed Wayne to take the lead," O’Donoghue said.

    The jockey went on to explain Honolulu was "dead and buried" at the halfway mark, when "I should have really been coming into it". O’Donoghue admitted the tearaway tactic "doesn’t look good … looks terrible", while Murtagh told stewards "Aidan doesn’t give me much instruction".

    Told of O’Donoghue’s comments, Lordan said "I was told I could [lead] if I want; be in the first three".

    O’Brien recalled the past two Melbourne Cups in which he has started horses. He told stewards Australian horses usually leave the straight the first time and slow down, but his jockeys were instructed not to slacken off. "I had a dream the horses could be the first three," O’Brien said.

    Bailey informed O’Brien a jockey must ride to ensure their mount is given every reasonable and permissible chance to finish in the best possible place.

    O’Brien remained adamant throughout the inquiry the horses had to be ridden in the manner they were. O’Brien believed it would have been detrimental to his three horses if they had been ridden any quieter.

    "We’ve done our best and didn’t get it right," O’Brien said. "Who knows that was going to happen."

    Having come down in good faith, O’Brien told stewards charging himself or his lads for a breach of the rules "doesn’t make a lot of sense to me", while stressing "we feel privileged" to be here for the Melbourne Cup.

    "I was straight all the way," O’Brien said. "If they run first, second, third would we have this inquiry?"

    O’Brien also asked "do you think we were running our horses for Bart Cummings?" To which Bailey replied, "I wouldn’t have thought so."

    In taking no action, Bailey informed O’Brien and his jockeys that the questions asked at the inquiry were those stewards ask every time there is a race meeting. "It is our obligation, it is our duty," Bailey said.

    "When there are conflicts of evidence from riders, naturally we talk to the trainer – whether you are Mr O’Brien or a one-horse trainer from Colac."

  • ‘Gutless’ vandalism

    DESTROYED: Building company director Brad Acheson assessing the new Arthur Summons Place home which was set alight just two weeks before completion. Photo: IVAN McDONNELLA “gutless act of vandalism” has ruined a local couple’s dream of moving into their new home, and forced a building company to demolish the property just two weeks before hand-over.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The $200,000 Arthur Summons Place property in Eastridge Estate was near completion when a fire, that Dubbo police said was deliberately lit, swept through the home and completely destroyed the roof, garage, most of the walls and windows.

    Building company Brad Acheson Homes was the principal contractor for the property, which it had been working on for the past four months.

    The company’s director Brad Acheson said the home was to be handed over to his clients, who didn’t wish to be named, in just two weeks.

    “It’s one of those unforeseen things – a gutless act of vandalism,” Mr Acheson said.

    “I sort of felt more sorry for the owners, I see 30 houses a year and they’re all the same to me in a sense but that’s their kitchen and their home exactly how they planned it – they’re devastated.

    “They feel violated and said to me ‘why would someone do this?’

    “I’ve been in the building industry for 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

    The Dubbo fire brigade was called to the blaze about 5am on Saturday and Mr Acheson arrived at the scene about 20 minutes after to find the home completely alight.

    Seven-foot high ringlock fences will now be erected around all the company’s building sites in an attempt to deter vandals.

    The home was fully insured and Mr Acheson said the company had yesterday received the “best possible outcome” from insurance assessors GAB Robins.

    “My first thought when I saw the fire was ‘Jesus, I hope I’m insured’,” he said.

    “The insurance company has given us the authority to fully demolish the house which is the best outcome we could have hoped for.

    “It wouldn’t have been a new house for our clients if we had to rebuild some of it but not all of it.”

    The company will demolish the home on Saturday before starting the building process again – a task expected to take about 18 weeks.

    Mr Acheson said the only building materials that would be salvaged were some parts of the kitchen that had not been as badly damaged.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Barnes, Tahu to return

    BERRICK BARNES is set to return to the Wallabies five-eighth role for the first time this season against Italy on Saturday, while Timana Tahu is also in line to be given game time during the clash with the Azzurri.
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    Those who enjoy seeing Barnes at five-eighth would have relished his 27 minutes on the field off the bench against the All Blacks in Hong Kong on Saturday night when he often took over the midfield playmaker role while Giteau shifted out to inside-centre.

    The most obvious improvement in Australia’s general play when Barnes came on was a sharper, more accurate kicking game. Upon the team’s arrival in northern Italy after a marathon trip from Hong Kong via Luton, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans hinted that Barnes was likely to be given his chance to again start at No.10 when the tourists meet the Azzurri at Stadio Euganeo. But this is not a sign that Giteau is under any threat at five-eighth or his customary 10-12 combination with Barnes is about to be swapped around.

    After all, for three matches during last year’s World Cup, including the quarter-final loss to England, Giteau played outside Barnes at No.10.

    It has more to do with Deans wanting to make sure his back-up five-eighth gets ample time in that position in case Giteau gets injured on this demanding tour. Already Giteau has suffered a bad head knock, when he got flattened in Hong Kong, but he has recovered and is scheduled to be available for the Italy Test. The most likely scenario is that Giteau will sit on the bench and Barnes be a central part of a tinkered back line.

    Deans said it was crucial he used this tour to give as many players as possible their chance to prove themselves. How he does that will be a balancing act, but game time for Tahu, at No.12, against Italy is almost certain as Deans is eager to help him regain his composure after his stumbles on his first Test start against the Springboks in Johannesburg.

    "His [Tahu’s] confidence is coming back through the work he has done at training. But he’s one of those blokes who will be given an opportunity, so that he can press on," Deans said. "As we’re playing six Test matches back to back against quality opposition, including a World XV, we’re going to have to maximise our playing pool. We will target a win in every instance.

    "How we do that will come clear week by week as we look at the circumstances. But this is also an opportunity to cater for potential challenges we haven’t encountered yet. One thing we have to cater for is at No.10.

    "This was evidenced in South Africa during the Tri Nations when Berrick was injured and suddenly Stirling [Mortlock] was the back-up No.10. We haven’t had an opportunity to prepare for plan B, but we’ve got to do that.

    "Barnes right now is our second No.10. But there is a possibility he’ll get some time in that position, which he hasn’t had since this time last year."

    Deans added that if Giteau and Barnes were both in consideration for a Test starting line-up, Giteau would be the No.10 and Barnes 12. The Wallabies novices on the tour are instead expected to get their opportunities from off the bench.

    Meanwhile, Australian Rugby Union chief John O’Neill is planning to send a formal complaint to the International Rugby Board referee’s chief, Paddy O’Brien, over the performance of Irish referee Alan Lewis during the Hong Kong Bledisloe Cup Test.

    Lewis has been widely criticised for his refereeing, including missing a forward pass that resulted in the All Blacks’ winning try and continuously penalising the Wallabies at the scrum and breakdown. O’Neill, who is with the Wallabies to Italy, was one of thousands of Australians in Hong Kong dismayed by Lewis’s performance.

  • Panthers ready to pounce

    Westside Panthers are keen to promote themselves as one of the top soccer clubs in Dubbo during the 2005 junior and senior season.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The club’s first registration day will be held next Saturday February 12 at the Dubbo West Primary School from 2pm to 5pm.

    Westside junior teams will again be backed by the Kek family and their Westside Hotel, the traditional home of the Panthers for many, many years.

    Joe Kek has been arguably one of the most successful soccer coaches in Dubbo and while now retired from the game still enjoys a keen interest in the teams.

    “All the junior teams up to the under-18s this season will receive a soccer kit bag and a ball courtesy of the Kek family, while the junior club will finance socks for the kids,” Westside’s Rod Webster said.

    “We would like to see a big line-up of parents and their children attend the registration day and if that happens then we won’t have trouble fielding teams from under-6s to under-15s in the rooball and junior soccer competitions.

    “Westside will also play in the Dubbo All Age competitions for men and women and are certain to be competitive again in the Western Premier League series for first and second grades, and under-18s.

    “Most of the junior teams have coaches but we would like to hear from anyone interested in being a coach or manager of teams this season.

    “We still have some work to do to fill the senior positions but we hope that will happen sooner rather than later so that training can get organised.”

    Westside Panthers last year won the Western Premier League first-grade premiership but have lost successful coach Peter Bray who announced his retirement.

    Currently the seniors are training at Hans Clavan Oval each Friday at 6pm but would be interested in talking to anyone interested in taking on the coaching role.

    Further particulars can be obtained from Rod Webster at the Westside Hotel.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Capturing nature’s greetings, fights and heartbreaks in photos

    As any honest photographer will admit, sometimes it is a matter of luck, as Allan Peate found during some early morning bird-watching at St Lawrence in Queensland.
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    "Before daylight, I crept into a natural freshwater billabong teaming with birdlife," he says. "A small flock of egrets was feeding along the edge of the billabong when a lone egret flew in. A fight broke out just in front of where I was sitting and I was lucky enough to get a series of shots of the fight."

    Peate’s wonderful image has earned the Tweed Heads resident the photographer of the year title in this year’s ANZANG awards. His shot adorns the cover of a collection of the best photos received in the competition.

    Timing also counted for Mindy Oberne, visiting Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean from her native United States, when she captured a colony of royal penguins greeting or feeding each other, or was it a courtship ritual?

    The ANZANG competition is now in its fifth year. It was set up in 2004 by the Perth ear, nose and throat surgeon, nature enthusiast and keen photographer Stuart Miller. In the same week that he visited a wildlife sanctuary near Perth he was sending off his photos to the World Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in Britain. The thought occurred to him that the unique natural world of his own region was deserving of its own competition.

    So ANZANG – Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea – was born. In that first year 620 entries were received; now it is about 2000 and will probably continue to grow, Miller says.

    "It’s still in a very formative stage. These things take some time to find their place."

    The competition has 10 categories, including animal behaviour, animal portrait, botanical subject, underwater subject and wilderness landscape. There is a section for threatened plants or animals, such as the vulnerable New Zealand falcon, captured by Andrew Trowbridge, of Christchurch, watching carefully as her chick finds its voice.

    Maternal protection, too, is shown by the hibiscus harlequin beetle, only 10 millimetres long but putting her body on the line to guard her eggs, as photographed by Mark Rayner of Meldale in Queensland.

    There is also a section dedicated to illustrating the human impact on the environment, whether negative or positive. Unfortunately, the negatives dominate, with heartbreaking photos of bird and sea life variously impaled with hooks or entwined in ropes, or dumped rubbish spoiling otherwise spectacular landscapes.

    Each year the CSIRO publishes a collection of the winners and highly commended, featuring comments from some of the photographers and technical details about their equipment.

    Steve Parrish Publishing is also going to produce a 2009 calendar featuring some of the best. Funds from the sale of the merchandise, after expenses are covered, are donated to charities working to protect the natural environment. Recipients of funds include the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Birds Australia, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand and the Australian Bush Heritage Fund.

    The photographs also form part of a travelling exhibition that tours Australia each year. This year’s winners are now showing in Western Australia.

    Last year’s collection is still touring and will be at Penrith City Library until December and then in Willoughby City Council offices in Chatswood in January and February.

    Australasian Nature Photography: ANZANG fifth collection edited by Stuart Miller, CSIRO Publishing, $39.95.

  • Coach confident of big showing by Swimtech

    ANZ Swimtech coach John Morris is confident of a big showing from his team at their own carnival at the Dubbo Aquatic and Leisure Centre this weekend.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Morris was on hand to watch his swimmers go through their paces at the NSW Country Regional Carnival at Bathurst last weekend and would have been impressed.

    On that occasion several swimmers recorded personal best times and will be ready to put that confidence into practice in their Dubbo pool.

    But more importantly, the 16-person Swimtech squad came away with 13 gold, 15 silver and 15 bronze medals.

    The swimmers had an extremely successful meet and the medal count could have been even higher with 14 fourth places recorded as well.

    In a terrific performance, Kate Morris in 15-years and over and Michael Davis in the 10-years boys brought home a total of 18 medals between them and achieved Country qualifying times in the process.

    Overall eight of the swimmers have achieved Country times at this stage and all swimmers recorded personal bests in their various events.

    This weekend’s carnival is open to members of the public who will be more than welcome to watch the events that start at 4pm today and go into the evening and again tomorrow from 8.30am.

    As in past years, some of the State’s top swimmers from country and city clubs will be involved.

    Features of the meet are the male and female CSR Gyprock 100m freestyle finals, each worth $500 to the winner.

    These events never fail to attract the top male and female swimmers and the promise of good prize money is always an added attraction.

    At this stage it looks as though these two races will be decided about 12pm tomorrow.

    Today’s program will feature distance events from 400m to 1500m with the 44-strong Carlise club from Sydney expected to make an impression.

    Swimtech vice-president Graeme Wheeler yesterday said the city swimmers would face tough opposition from the western area clubs.

    “We have some very good swimmers around here and there will be strong representation at the Country championships to be held at Homebush,” Wheeler said.

    “Our carnival this weekend is also the last chance for swimmers to put in qualifying times for Country so I would expect the competition will be really tough.

    “Swimtech this year will have at least a dozen Country qualifiers and that is the best we have ever had, and mainly due to the expertise and patience of our coach John Morris.”

    Dubbo’s Orana Aquatic Swim Club is expected to figure prominently in the age divisions this weekend while Dubbo City, Dubbo RSL and other western clubs at Walgett, Coonamble, Warren, Wellington, Parkes, Orange and Bathurst will be represented with quality swimmers.

    For further details on the meet or ANZ Swimtech Swimming Club contact president Ian Simpson (0427 661034) or Graeme Wheeler on (0428 638870).

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Bashir in the thick of it as radicals gather in villages

    THE radical cleric and co-founder of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir, said he expected to attend the funerals of Amrozi and Mukhlas in Tenggulun as his followers yesterday began descending on the men’s village.
    Nanjing Night Net

    A large turnout at the funeral of the brothers is just one of many security issues facing Indonesian authorities before the executions of the Bali bombers. The executions have been repeatedly delayed, giving hardliners more chance to mobilise and make threats.

    Yesterday, Indonesian police revealed that the US and Australian embassies in Jakarta received a bomb threat via SMS, prompting a security sweep outside the diplomatic missions.

    In an interview with the Herald , Bashir said that ideally he would attend both funerals.

    "If the murder takes place, most probably I’ll go to Lamongan [the regency in which Tenggulun is situated] because I live in Solo. Lamongan is the closer."

    Imam Samudra – the other Jemaah Islamiah member on death row for orchestrating the bombings on Kuta Beach that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians – comes from Serang, West Java.

    Bashir, who was released from prison in 2006 after serving a short sentence for his alleged role in inspiring the bombings, said Muslims would be angry if the men were executed.

    "But what I [fear] the most is if God is angry. If Muslims are angry, it will be only words. But if God is, it will be real problem."

    Asked if he would give a speech after the funeral, he said: "Preaching is my job. If I am asked, of course I will."

    Bashir recently formed a new group, Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid, and about 30 members of the organisation arrived at Tenggulun yesterday.

    Abdul Rahim, a key figure in the group, said: "Hundreds of us are waiting in Solo to come … but on the day of the execution there could be 1000 here."

    Another Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid member, Mujaziin Muzakir, repeated the mantra that infidel countries such as Australia were behind the executions and were paying for them.

    Bashir’s followers believe that the CIA planted a small nuclear device that was responsible for the larger explosion that levelled Bali’s Sari Club in October, 2002.

    Supporters of the bombers maintain the executions are unjust and must be stopped but Nusakambangan prison chief Bambang Winahyo said the bombers appeared calm and ready to die, in line with their claims that they were looking forward to becoming "martyrs".

  • Promising athletes to get WRAS tune-up

    More than 120 promising young athletes have assembled in Dubbo for training sessions and workshops as part of Western Region’s Academy Of Sport program.
    Nanjing Night Net

    WRAS executive officer Nancy Haslop, in conjunction with the coaches and managers of the various squads, have put together a busy program for the boys and girls.

    This weekend Dubbo will cater for basketball at St Johns College, hockey at West Dubbo, lawn bowls at Railway and West Dubbo clubs, softball and rugby union at RSL Jubilee Oval and netball at Sports World.

    Also part of the weekend programs will be sessions for the Lone Star and Talent Search programs which cater for some of the younger athletes.

    Seventeen athletes from Dubbo will take part in the coaching sessions today and tomorrow as well as other workshops on team building, pool sessions and general health issues.

    As well, Dubbo is fortunate to have coaches and managers involved with the WRAS this year including Vic Simpson and John Rodis with the bowls squad and Linda Macleod coaching netballers.

    WRAS executive officer based at Bathurst, Nancy Haslop said it would be a full weekend that started last night when the athletes arrived at Dubbo Cabin and Caravan Parklands in West Dubbo.

    “The WRAS is very proud of its athletes and it’s always nice to see them develop into first class athletes on the world stage,” Haslop said. “This weekend will be full-on for all participants starting with walk and stretch sessions each morning at 7am and then after breakfast athletes are bused off to the various venues for training sessions with their coaches.

    “On Saturday afternoon after lunch we have a pool recovery session and then there are a couple of hours of leisure time for everyone back at the cabins.

    “A feature of the weekend for athletes, coaches, managers and others will be a social game of bowls at West Dubbo on Saturday night after dinner and then on Sunday we do it all again with training sessions from 9am to 1pm.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • When galaxies go bump in the night

    A COSMIC hit-and-run accident, it happened long ago in a distant corner of the universe.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Hubble space telescope, back in action after being shut down for a month by a technical glitch, has beamed back a snapshot of the wreckage left where two galaxies collided more than 400 million light years away.

    The pinkish galaxy on the left scored a bullseye when it smashed through the bluish one on the right. Relatively undamaged, the culprit kept on going, hurtling away from the crash scene.

    The victim was battered. The impact, Hubble scientists say, sent shockwaves rolling out from the centre of the damaged galaxy, "just as a pebble thrown into a pond creates an outwardly moving circular wave, or ripples".

    Gas and dust swept out from the galaxy’s middle by the shockwaves slammed into matter from its outer edge that was collapsing into the centre.

    The colliding waves of matter compressed the galaxy into a ring, which began glowing blue as its gas and dust condensed to give birth to stars.

    "The reddish knot at the lower left of the blue ring probably marks the location of the original nucleus of the galaxy that was hit," Hubble scientists announced in a statement.

    The astronomers have dubbed the picture the "perfect 10", partly because of the odd appearance of the pair of galaxies, known as Arp 147, and partly because of the ageing telescope’s performance.

    Launched in 1990, Hubble was shut down in September by a fault in its control system that left it unable to store pictures or beam them back to Earth. However, after weeks of effort, Earth-bound engineers managed to coax the telescope back to life.

    The galactic collision was photographed last week, just days after Hubble was fixed.

    Space shuttle astronauts are training for a repair mission, scheduled for May, during which Hubble’s ailing electrical systems will be replaced and science instruments will be installed.

  • Bowlers hold key to victory

    CAN BAT, CAN BOWL: Newtown’s spin ace Greg Briggs at the crease, but today his Newtown captain Will Lindsay will be looking for him to get wickets against South Dubbo at No 2 Oval.After being sent in last weekend and posting 289, Newtown will be out to take wickets today on the second day of their clash with reigning Whitney Cup premiers South Dubbo at No 2 Oval.
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    Newtown captain Will Lindsay will be looking at all his bowlers to put their hands up to take the wickets.

    “We’re without a frontline seam bowler this round due to Jeremy Dickson being away and Bob Powyer injuring a bad shoulder, which means that the others will have to go the extra yard,” Lindsay said.

    “However with runs on the board it’s a great opportunity for Sam Devenish to have a long bowl and hopefully produce the form that has seen him picked and perform in the Amaroo Cup side.

    “Sam has the ability to hit the seam and do a bit with it and hopefully he can grab a couple of wickets with his medium pacers.”

    Lindsay will have the services of Matt Finlay and Aaron Etcell to open the bowling with Devenish to back them up.

    As well he has spin trio Glenn Shepherd, Greg Briggs and Michael Kempston at his disposal which will give Newtown plenty of variety.

    Veteran Briggs – who will bid farewell to Dubbo cricket at the end of this season – has been one of Lindsay’s trump bowlers this season and today he will be looked on again to bowl his fair share of overs.

    “Greg is as keen as ever and he’s the type of bowler who always wants the ball in his hand and believes he has the ability to break any partnership,” Lindsay said.

    “I’m sure he’ll be eager to bowl as early as possible.”

    Briggs has a wonderful strike rate this season with 18 wickets at the cost of 242 and can’t be taken lightly.

    Souths will start the day at 0-9 with captain Jarrod Simpson (5) and Jeff Shanks (3) at the crease and Lindsay believes there are many key batsmen to the South Dubbo innings.

    “Souths have the ability to chase down the 289 we set them last week quite easily,” the Newtown captain said.

    “If we let the likes of Simpson, Rod Morrison, Shane Skinner and company get on top of our bowlers early then they will be well in it.

    “Really they are no different to any other bats in Dubbo in the aspect of providing chances and we (as a team) have to be ready (as fieldsman) to take any opportunity that comes our way.”

    The experienced Morrison is one batsman who can set up the South Dubbo innings.

    “Morrison had a late start to the season due to suspension but he always produces runs against us and I’m sure he’ll be hoping, with a long stay at the crease, that he can show signs of the form that helped him to a 100 before Christmas,” Lindsay said.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.