August, 2019

Milne will return: Saints avert player rebellion

St Kilda has thwarted a potential player rebellion by assuring its senior group that it had every intention of clearing Stephen Milne to play, potentially within the next four weeks.
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A deputation of senior players including Milne, his captain Nick Riewoldt and Jason Blake met a group of club directors early on Thursday seeking urgent clarification of Milne’s status as a St Kilda player.

Coach Scott Watters also held talks with the board members in a bid to learn their position on Milne’s future after telling his players on Tuesday he would back the 33-year-old.

Milne is understood to have had his fears allayed that his playing career was finished. Placed on indefinite leave by the club after being charged on Tuesday with four counts of rape, he released a statement saying he would be contesting the charges. Milne’s first court date has been set on July 5 with a committal hearing not expected for some months.

Club president Greg Westaway confirmed the crisis meetings. He told Fairfax Media: “We had enough regard for the players to make sure they fully understood the process that we went through in reaching the decision that we did.”

Asked if he could place a time frame on Milne’s potential return Westaway said: “That’s a matter for the coach and for Stephen’s welfare.”

Milne, along with concerned senior players and with the strong backing of the AFL Players Association, held talks with Westaway, football director Andrew Thompson and board newcomer Ian McLeod, the managing director of Coles. Westaway was due to hold talks with AFL chief Andrew Demetriou on Thursday night.

The players had been disenchanted after the club appeared to shift its position on Milne after several directors had a change of heart on how to handle his immediate playing future. Some within the club also believed subtle pressure had come from the AFL.

With that crisis averted but the AFL closely monitoring St Kilda’s handling of Milne following the police charges, club chief executive Michael Nettlefold is understood to have cut short his holiday and was returning home from Italy in time for Saturday’s clash with Melbourne. Riewoldt and Nick Dal Santo are due to become the 10th and 11th St Kilda players respectively to reach the 250 game milestone.

While Milne and his team-mates appeared comforted after the board meeting that the Saints has every intention of ending Milne’s enforced absence within the month – and perhaps by round-15 after Women’s Round for round 15 – the final decision on Milne’s selection and playing future could come from the AFL which has reserved the right to take action on the player pending further developments.

The AFL Commission met on Wednesday night to consider its position but in the short term backed the move by St Kilda to remove Milne from playing for an indefinite period. In 2009 Adelaide suspended Nathan Bock indefinitely after he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend. Bock returned to the senior team after one week.

Milne released a statement through his management Stride Sports.

“Stephen is taking the legal matter very seriously and has engaged lawyers to represent him to contest the charges,” said his manager Tom Petroro. “Like every citizen, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. It is requested that the privacy of Stephen, his wife and his family be respected during this time.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Darley’s Approach strikes gold at Ascot

Royal Ascot cemented its place as one of the world’s great meetings on opening day on Tuesday when one of the many highlights was unquestionably Dawn Approach regaining his pedestal in the group 1 St James’ Palace Stakes as Europe’s champion three-year-old.
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The son of Darley’s New Approach failed in the Epsom Derby, refusing to relax in the run, and Jim Bolger’s turnaround to fit him for the St James’ was a training triumph. A year earlier, New Approach sired a Royal Ascot hat-trick of juvenile winners from his first crop, including Dawn Approach, which was a huge kick-start for his career in both hemispheres.

Dawn Approach’s win in the metric mile on Tuesday was not a walk in the park as he had to work hard throughout and suffered interference at a crucial stage. He was able to overcome those to score narrowly and his stud career with Darley is a formality, as it is almost impossible to get a service to New Approach. The St James’ Palace win took New Approach’s progeny earnings to £1,182,803 ($2 million) this season, second only to his illustrious father Galileo, which has a figure almost double at £2,053,103.

Godolphin bought New Approach from Bolger, who bred the chestnut, and has a half stake in Dawn Approach. It was hardly surprising that during Royal Ascot week Godolphin announced the purchase of another New Approach three-year-old in Epsom Derby runner-up Libertarian.

The latter will have his first run in the all-blue Godolphin silks in the Irish Derby at The Curragh on June 29.

Other notable achievements from day one at Royal Ascot were:

❏ Aidan O’Brien’s double with Declaration Of War (Queen Anne) and War Command’s six-length Coventry Stakes success to take his overall tally of Royal Ascot wins to 39. He had another win on Wednesday to give him 40.

❏ A double by jockey John Murtagh took his Ascot winners to 41.

❏ A double to US sire War Front after O’Brien’s two successes above, both bred by Florida’s Joseph Allen, who sold shares in both horses to Coolmore.

❏ War Front is a son of sire of sires Danzig and stands at the famous Claiborne Stud in Kentucky for $US80,000 ($86,000). His recent claim to fame is that Zenyatta has just tested in foal to him.

Declaration of War’s group 1 success in the Queen Anne will probably result in the galloper heading Down Under to stand at Coolmore’s Hunter Valley base next year.

Unfortunately for the John Messara-Arrowfield group, there was little joy surrounding Animal Kingdom’s failure in the Queen Anne. However, the defeat should not detract greatly from his stud career, which begins in September. Animal Kingdom’s form had been superb and he would be a welcome addition to any stud throughout the world. Arrowfield recently bought him in the US.

Day two at Royal Ascot featured Cox Plate invitee Al Kazeem, a son of Darley sire Dubawi, winning the group 1 Prince of Wales’ Stakes (about 2000 metres) in an amazing effort after conceding a five-length start at the furlong peg (200m).

Al Kazeem scored his third win from as many starts this year and it was his second group 1 success. The jockey was James Doyle, who landed his first winner at Royal Ascot, made it a hat-trick during the afternoon in the most memorable racing day of his career.

There are several big races on the home front for Al Kazeem and it’s unlikely that he will come here.Broodmare injection

On the local front, Darley has revealed it has 21 racemare retirees making their stud debuts later this year. Each season Darley culls several older mares to make way for a an array of its beautifully bred three- and four-year-olds, which will be mated with top stallions. Peter Snowden will bid farewell to Lonhro’s sister Shannara after she contests Saturday’s group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm. Shannara’s earnings going into the race are $423,000 and she meets a fabulous field of fillies and mares in her swansong run. Detours is another off to the breeding barn and goes out a winner after her June 1 success in black-type company at Eagle Farm, which followed her Silk Stocking win on the Gold Coast. She won $451,000. Raspberries, a daughter of Lonhro, won more than $530,000 from seven wins and six placings in 28 starts. Altar ($375,000), Anise ($294,000), Classics ($248,000), Meidung ($253,000) and Quidnunc ($305,000) were other great Darley money-spinners.Meteor still rising

Northern Meteor’s surge of two-year-old winners continued at Canterbury on Wednesday when Bart Cummings produced Eurozone for a stylish first-up victory, giving his sire his 14th win for the season. Eurozone was a $110,000 yearling buy last year. Northern Meteor is trailing his Widden Stud barn-mate Sebring in the juvenile winners premiership by one, but leads on prizemoney for freshmen sires.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Chase for big fish spawns idea

Stable return: Geoff Grimish’s Galaxy winner Shellscrape. Photo: Jenny EvansVietnam veteran Geoff Grimish is set to use his racing interests to fund a project to help East Timor people.
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A successful businessman, Grimish is starting a fish farm in East Timor, and hopes he can find a new sire in coming years to supply some cash for his project.

“They helped out our boys in World War II, so I would like to give something back, and this project can help in some way,” he said. “Now I’m retired I have a little more time to put in to this, and racing might be a way to fund it.”

His racing interests have a big weekend ahead as Red Tracer chases an elusive group 1 in the Tattersall’s Tiara. Her brother, Galaxy winner Shellscrape, continues his racing comeback in Melbourne and Green Tracer runs in Singapore.

“They are all Dane Shadows out of the same mare [Kisma], so we could have a big weekend for the family,” he said. “Red Tracer gets her chance in Brisbane to win a group 1, Shellscrape is the best he has been since coming back [from stud] and Green Tracer can hopefully win in Singapore. It is amazing because I had a couple out of the mare before she went to Dane Shadow and they weren’t that good, but these three have all been great horses.

“Something clicked there.”

Grimish has Redoute’s Choice colts out of Kisma coming through, and hopes they have the talent to become stallions.

“That’s the dream,” he said.

Shellscrape, of course, has been to the breeding barn, but when some of the foals were born without tails, he was no longer viable.

“There was something wrong there, so you can’t keep him going,” Grimish said. “I sent a couple of my mares to him, and the reports I’m getting are they are all right. I’m hoping eventually he might be able to go out to stud.”

Grimish decided to send Green Tracer to Singapore, where the Sydney metropolitan winner will make his debut on Sunday.

Singapore trainer Shane Baertschiger is looking forward to seeing how he shapes up.

“He’s obviously not in the same league as Red Tracer or Shellscrape, but he’s done nothing wrong since he came here,” he told the Singapore Turf Club ”… I’m not expecting much, but at least it will give us a better idea how to line up his form here.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

TOPICS: Fun police hit geographical names board

NOT HERE YOU DON’T: This sign could get the kiss off. POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman
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POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

NOBBYS Road. Blackbutt. In the Hunter, we seem to give names to our prettiest places that sound borderline rude.

But the state’s road naming policy is in for an overhaul, and such fun could be a thing of the past.

The Geographical Names Board is reviewing which new street names it will allow, which are too hard to pronounce and which might flat-out offend.

Titswobble Road, Tuncurry might be a one-off, then.

At a more basic level, the definite article ‘‘the’’ is set to be discontinued, meaning the likes of The Terrace, Newcastle (near The Hill) are an endangered species.

Flannel Flower Fairway at Shoal Bay, on the other hand, could be deemed too hard to say. Topics tried. Our screen is covered in spit.

Do you know a Hunter road name that’s fun? Or dodgy? Or inspired? Share it with Topics – it could be a dying breed.

Some flash proposal

CLOSE your eyes.

Imagine the one you love, moving in slow-motion through that warm, soft light they use on daytime TV, like in that show 7th Heaven.

Now imagine your beloved delivering your dream marriage proposal. Are you at Charlestown Square? In the foodcourt, with a flash mob? Er, probably not.

That’s how it happened on Thursdayfor Abbey Ellis, whose partner Daniel Eason popped the question as part of a radio prank.

The Metford pair were the latest participants in NX-FM breakfast crew Heidi, Heath and Normy’s Indecent Proposal segment. Daniel knew what was happening, but Abbey was surprised. She said yes. It would be hard to say no to a flash mob.

Footloose, fancy-free

TOPICS introduced you to Stumps, a Newcastle seagull without feet.

Reader Glen Fredericks adds: ‘‘We’ve got a one-legged Indian myna bird around our place on Beaumont Street’’.

Asked if the myna has a name, Glen pointed out he doesn’t know its gender.

‘‘If it’s a girl, then I’m calling her Eileen.’’

Loathsome lasagne

WE asked what you hated as a kid but like now. Ken McInnes, of Harrington, has changed markedly. ‘‘When I was aged 12 and under I didn’t like females,’’ says Ken.

‘‘But now I have grown quite fond of them!’’

Reader Michael sounds like he was one fussy child.

‘‘When I was a kid, I hated the one food that no kid hates – lasagne!’’ says Michael.

‘‘Whenever mum was dishing that up for us, I would bung on the sore tummy routine.’’

Take note, young readers. A bout of ‘‘that bug going round at school’’ can get you out of dinner. Just don’t go to the well too often, and don’t ask for dessert.

Michael’s battle with lasagne, meanwhile, took a twist.

‘‘It wasn’t until about age 10 when I had a sleep over at a mate’s house and we had lasagne for dinner that I learned two things: lasagne is actually awesome and some mums just can’t cook.’’

So happy endings for all, unless you’re Michael’s mum reading this.

Have you grown to love something you loathed as a kid?

OPINION: China leads way on emissions

LAST year, in Colorado, I met up with Hunter Lovins from Natural Capital Solutions.
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His company is prominent in sustainability, energy efficiency and creating the next industrial revolution.

Hunter was upbeat about emissions trading schemes and spoke of how Australia was a leader but that China, Quebec, California and Brazil were not far behind.

China has now announced a trial carbon trading market, starting this month, which will be huge.

However, there are many in Australian politics who are determined to abolish our carbon trading scheme.

China has also announced massive reduction targets and expects to reach its carbon emissions peak by 2025.

In contrast, Australia uses three times as much energy per person compared to China.

Australia has to do more than just plant some trees and research the effects of carbon in soil strategies to be credible in a warming world.

Coal in China is a significant source of energy. It is used in homes, factories, power stations and by street vendors.

The smell of sulphur and the ever-present smog affects many cities and a massive area of the country. Modern Beijing is a magnificent city with wide boulevards and great architecture.

However, the health and smog problems are terrible, with estimates of up to 1million people affected in China annually by air pollution.

Australia is going to have real difficulties if it abolishes carbon trading just as our major export partner starts a scheme.

China is important to Australia and it is not that long ago that some of our leaders were arguing against carbon trading due to claims that China was taking no action.

Where are these people now? Why don’t they explain their strategy now that China has announced a trial carbon market?

Again we see that, while coal miners and governments argue about the economic impacts of taking action on carbon pollution, it is people, not profits, that must be the priority.

Everyone is entitled to be assured of good health, a safe environment and the well-being of their children. China’s leaders are taking action on a massive scale. They are also devising low-cost manufacturing for renewable energy with improved solar technology.

It will be a sad indictment of Australia’s politicians if their only response to atmospheric warming is to point to an ever diminishing circle of like-minded nations who do not have a trading scheme.

John Asquith is chairman of the Community Environment Network

The chimneys from a coal-burning power station are seen on the outskirts of Beijing.