‘It’s hard to hold back my anger’: Maddie’s father

THE father of the hoax collar-bomb victim Madeline Pulver has criticised attempts by his daughter’s attacker to distance himself from the crime, describing Paul Peters as a ‘‘pretty flawed individual’’ who did an ‘‘unbelievably callous thing to our daughter’’.
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Bill Pulver and his wife Belinda sat through a sentencing hearing on Wednesday, in which a psychiatrist said  Peters was in a ‘‘psychotic state’’ when he attached a fake collar bomb to Ms Pulver’s neck on August 3 last year.

The court had also previously heard that Peters could not recall the actual crime, and only remembers walking up the steps of the Pulvers’ Mosman home. He says his memory returned about 2 hours later, when he had returned to the central coast.

Speaking after the day’s hearing, Mr Pulver said he did not believe Peters’s claim of temporary amnesia, saying his family believed the attack had been an ‘‘extraordinarily well-planned event’’.

‘‘He has very conveniently managed to forget the hour and a half when all of this nasty stuff took place, but then when he got to Avoca he logged on to three separate computers to check whether we had responded to his note,’’ Mr Pulver said.

‘‘It’s very clear this is simply an extortion case and while I don’t really question that there are some mental health issues, I think ultimately it’s an extortion.’’

He simply didn’t buy the idea being proffered that it was just a ‘‘clumsy’’ crime and Peters had wanted to get caught so he could be properly treated for a worsening psychiatric condition.

‘‘No –  he very nearly got away with it. The only reason he got caught [was because] Maddie rang me, and I immediately called the police,’’ he said.

‘‘She didn’t know at the time that this extortion letter was there. If I had known there was an extortion letter I ask myself the question many times – would I have actually rung the police? I’m really not sure what I would have done. He was unlucky not to get away with this.’’

Clutching his wife’s hand, Mr Pulver said at times he felt fury at the evidence being presented.

‘‘To be honest I look over at what I think is a pretty flawed individual, who did an unbelievably callous thing to our daughter and it’s just not normal behaviour, so it’s challenging at times to restrain the anger.

‘‘I think it’s ruined his life, his family know what it’s done …  he’ll still live with this for the rest of his life.’’

He said Maddie was unlikely to ever come to court, because ‘‘she doesn’t want to front him’’.

The consultant psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Phillips had earlier told the District Court that his diagnosis of a ‘‘psychosis’’ did not mean Peters’s actions were not well thought out.

Dr Phillips said that assessing Peters was as complex as any case he had tackled and there were times he struggled to understand what the former businessman was talking about.

The court heard that electronic evidence showed Peters had edited two ransom documents contained on a USB stick attached to the fake bomb for a total of 503 minutes.

Judge Peter Zahra will sentence Peters later this month.

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Sobering study of strained relations

COMPLEX: Niels Arestrup in You Will Be My Son.You Will Be My Son (M)
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Stars Niels Arestrup, Lorant Deutsch, Patrick Chesnais, Anne Marivin, Nicolas Bridet; directed by Gilles Legrand; 102 minutes.

The relationship between a father and a son is a complex one: love can sometimes be tainted – on one or both sides – by other, less positive feelings, such as disappointment, envy, resentment, competitiveness and excessive expectations. This sobering French film deals with two father-son relationships and won’t be for all tastes. Emotionally, it isn’t the easiest viewing, but despite a melodramatic turn towards the end, it’s a well-acted, atmospheric story. Just don’t go in expecting a frothy Gallic romp.

Widower Paul de Marseul (Niels Arestrup) runs a successful vineyard that has been in the family for generations. His son Martin (Lorant Deutsch) works in administration for him but Paul is contemptuous of his abilities as a winemaker and seldom passes up an opportunity to belittle the somewhat diffident young man and treat him with scorn and disdain. Tellingly, he has more respect for Martin’s feisty wife Alice (Anne Marivin), though she doesn’t like him because of his treatment of her husband.

Paul’s longtime estate manager, Francois (Patrick Chesnais), is dying and Martin hopes this will be his opportunity to take on a bigger role in the business. But when Francois’s son Philippe (Nicolas Bridet) arrives, having quit his winemaking job in California to be with his father, the situation becomes even more fraught. Paul is impressed with Philippe’s abilities and lavishes the praise and attention on him that he never gave Martin – even to the extent of offering him the job of estate manager when his father dies.

Although the film tends to take Martin’s side, there is complexity and depth to the characters and situations enabling us to see various points of view: Paul, though cruel, is concerned for the future of the renowned vineyard and may be justified in thinking Martin isn’t as talented a winemaker as Philippe, although how much of this situation is of Paul’s creation is arguable. Philippe, who doesn’t seem to be a bad sort, is uncomfortably caught up in the dysfunctional relationship of Paul and Martin. And Francois has his own resentments at the situation that is developing and his advice to his son is not without merit.

The music can be a little overbearing and, as noted, there’s one crucial twist that might seem a bit much. But the story, told well in straightforward fashion by director and co-writer Gilles Legrand, is a strong one. This is a film for people who like a good character piece with fine performances and something to think about.

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Cooper cops $40,000 fine from ARU for outbursts

Quade Cooper gives a statement to the media after the disciplinary hearing. Quade Cooper at ARU headquarters after the hearing.
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Quade Cooper arrives at ARU headquarters.

CooperDecCon

QUADE COOPER’S future in Australian rugby remains in limbo after the Wallabies five-eighth was fined $40,000 for criticising the team and coach Robbie Deans.

Although Cooper has signed a three-year deal with Super Rugby franchise the Reds, the ARU withdrew its top-up contract after the injured playmaker’s remarks in September.

Deputy chief executive Matt Carroll said the ARU had noted the tribunal’s findings and would consider the next step in the contracting process.

”ARU placed contract negotiations with Quade Cooper on hold until the tribunal process had been finalised,” he said.

”Given the tribunal has handed down its decision, this matter as far as we are concerned has been finalised. ARU will now look at how we address the contract situation involving Quade Cooper.”

After more than four hours of hearings and deliberations at the ARU headquarters in St Leonards on Wednesday, the three-person tribunal found Cooper had breached the ARU’s code of conduct in two separate instances.

He was fined $10,000 for a post on Twitter criticising an ARU-licensed computer game, Rugby Challenge, and $50,000 for comments he made in the general media and on Twitter, in which he called the Wallabies culture ”toxic” and criticised the team’s style of play under Deans.

A $20,000 portion of that was suspended, as was a three-match ban, but both will be activated if Cooper breaches the code of conduct again at any point in the next two years.

The Reds playmaker apologised to rugby fans and said he received a ”very fair hearing” at ARU headquarters. ”I’m very happy with the outcome and obviously the sentence that’s been handed to me, full respect for that, and I understand that I fell well below par for what it means to be a Wallaby, and for all the supporters who are out there, my apologies,” he said.

Cooper must wait while the ARU decides whether to put its contract offer back on the table.

But in the aftermath of the four-hour hearing, Cooper, who has battled a knee injury all year and will sit out the Wallabies end-of-year tour to Europe, broached the subject of playing again in the gold jersey. ”From now I’m just looking forward to the future, and hopefully having a big year with not only my state but the Wallabies and very much looking forward to overcoming my injury and getting back on the field,” he said.

Meanwhile, back-rower Alexandre Lapandry was called up by France coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Tuesday for the Test against the Wallabies in Paris on November 10 in place of the injured flanker Wenceslas Lauret.

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Bulls v Cheetahs

Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, Sunday 3.10am (AEST)Last meeting: Round 16 2012 – Bulls 40 bt Cheetahs 24 at Loftus VersfeldHead-to-head: Played 10 Bulls 9 Cheetahs 1In Pretoria: Played 5 Bulls 4 Cheetahs 1Referee: Jason Jaftha (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Bulls $1.40 Cheetahs $2.80
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Steve Samuelson writes: The Bulls have lost their past three games while the Cheetahs are riding a franchise record of five consecutive wins. The Bulls welcome back Akona Ndungane and Flip van der Merwe but have lost Springboks fullback Zane Kirchner. Flip a coin.

AAP writes: The Cheetahs continue to defy and surprise and, once again, they will go in as underdogs despite a five-match winning run. Their red-time escape act against the Stormers shows they boast great staying power and will like their chances of a rare win over the Bulls.

The home side have Springbok duo Akona Ndungane and Flip van der Merwe returning after four weeks out while they’re also refreshed following a bye. Youngster Jan Serfontein has added some welcome creativity to the Bulls backline. That’s something the Cheetahs have in spades and Burton Francis has covered the loss of Johan Goosen by stepping up at No.10.

BULLS: Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies (capt), Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Frik Kirsten, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Morné Mellet. Reserves: Callie Visagie, Werner Kruger, Paul Willemse, Arno Botha, Rudy Paige, Louis Fouchè, Ulrich Beyers

CHEETAHS: Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johan Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Burton Francis, Piet van Zyl, Philip van der Walt, Pieter Labuschagne, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Lodewyk De Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Trevor Nyakane. Reserves: Ryno Barnes, Coenie Oosthuizen, Rynhard Landman, Frans Viljoen, Tewis de Bruyn, Francois Brummer, Ryno Benjamin

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Highlanders v Brumbies

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Friday 5.35pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 5 2012 – Brumbies 33 bt Highlanders 26 at Canberra StadiumHead-to-head: Played 17 Highlanders 7 Brumbies 1In Dunedin: Played 6 Highlanders 4 Brumbies 2Referee: Chris Pollock (NZL)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Highlanders $2.05 Brumbies $1.70
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Steve Samuelson writes: The return of Jesse Mogg is a good omen for the Brumbies with the Australian conference leaders winning only one game out of three in the star fullback’s absence. The winless Highlanders have dumped All Blacks halves duo Aaron Smith and Colin Slade to the bench.

AAP writes: The Highlanders look much better than their winless record suggests, while the Brumbies have started to sag. Both teams have made six run-on changes – split between backs and forwards. Matt Toomua and Jesse Mogg have returned to the Brumbies backline but Pat McCabe has been benched.

Surprisingly, All Blacks halves Aaron Smith and Colin Slade have also been dropped to the bench for the Highlanders in a massive call. But damaging winger Kade Poki returns to wreak havoc alongside Hosea Gear, Ma’a Nonu and Ben Smith.

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Phil Burleigh, Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Mose Tuialii, John Hardie, TJ Ioane, Jarrad Hoeata, Brad Thorn, Maafu Fia, Andrew Hore (capt), Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Chris King, Josh Bekhuis, Elliot Dixon, Aaron Smith, Colin Slade, Jason Emery.

BRUMBIES: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Andrew Smith, Christian Lealiifano, Joseph Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ben Mowen (capt), George Smith, Jordan Smiler, Sam Carter, Peter Kimlin, Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Fotu Auelua, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Pat McCabe, Tevita Kuridrani.

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Blues v Hurricanes

Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 4.35pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 2 2013 – Blues 34 bt Hurricanes 20 at Westpac StadiumHead-to-head: Played 20 Blues 12 Hurricanes 7 drawn 1In Auckland: Played 9 Blues 6 Hurricanes 3Referee: Jaco Peyper (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Blues $1.67 Hurricanes $2.10
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Steve Samuelson writes: Despite his team scoring 41 points against the Waratahs, Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has made changes to the backline. Samoan international Tusi Pisi is the starting five-eighth with Beauden Barrett dropping back to fullback. Andre Taylor has been dumped to the bench.

AAP writes: The Hurricanes have soared into fifth spot following four straight wins, while the Blues are only one point further adrift, making this a huge match. The news that All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina will miss the rest of the season with a calf injury is a huge blow to the Blues, while they’ll also be without suspended winger George Moala.

The Aucklanders beat the Hurricanes 34-20 last month, but the Canes will fancy their chances after showing their attacking spark against NSW. They have rejigged their backline, with Tusi Pisi taking over at five-eighth with the in-form Beauden Barrett moving to fullback.

BLUES: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, Francis Saili, Jackson Willison, Rene Ranger, Chris Noakes, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke Braid, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams (capt), Culum Retallick, Angus Ta’avao, James Parsons, Tom McCartney. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Anthony Boric, Brendon O’Connor, Jamison Gibson-Park, Baden Kerr, Albert Nikoro.

HURRICANES: Beauden Barrett, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (capt), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Tusi Pisi, TJ Perenara, Faifili Levave, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Jason Eaton, Mark Reddish, Ben May, Motu Matu’u, Ben Franks/Reggie Goodes. Reserves: Dane Coles/Ash Dixon, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, James Broadhurst, Jack Lam, Chris Smylie, Reynold Lee-Lo, Andre Taylor.

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Chiefs v Reds

Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, Saturday 2.35pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 12 2012 – Reds 42 bt Chiefs 27 at Suncorp StadiumHead-to-head: Played 17 Chiefs 8 Reds 9In Hamilton: Played 8 Chiefs 4 Reds 4Referee: Steve Walsh (AUS)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Chiefs $1.30 Reds $3.30
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Steve Samuelson writes: The clash between the past two Super Rugby champions will be an acid test for the Reds. The visitors’s form has lifted since Will Genia’s return from injury and their record against New Zealand teams under coach Ewen McKenzie is phenomenal – 13 wins, four losses.

AAP writes: The Chiefs deserve their pole position on the ladder and favouritism for what shapes as a highly entertaining, daytime clash. But the Reds make a habit of surprising Kiwi outfits at home and across the ditch. Queensland have won 10 of their past 11 against NZ sides and seem to produce some of their best stuff against the Chiefs.Both teams come off a timely bye.

Winger Rod Davies is the Reds’ only change from the 34-33 win over the Highlanders while the Chiefs have made several alterations to the pack which beat the Blues. The playmaking battle between Quade Cooper and Aaron Cruden is one to watch, as well as the stoush between No.7s Liam Gill and Sam Cane.

CHIEFS: Gareth Anscombe, Tim Nanai-Williams, Richard Kahui, Bundee Aki, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Augustine Pulu, Liam Messam (capt), Sam Cane, Tanerau Latimer, Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Toby Smith Reserves: Rhys Marshall, Michael Kainga, Nick Crosswell, Fritz Lee, Brendon Leonard, Andrew Horrell, Patrick Osborne.

REDS: Jono Lance, Rod Davies, Anthony Faingaa, Ben Tapuai, Dom Shipperley, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, James Hanson, Greg Holmes. Reserves: Albert Anae, Ben Daley, Ed O’Donaghue, Jarrad Butler, Ben Lucas, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Aidan Toua.

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Berry gets back to his roots after ride of life

To the top: Tom Berry after winning the Slipper on Overreach. Photo: Jenny Evans Tommy Berry hopped in the car to Nowra with his dad Kevin on Monday shortly after it was confirmed he would head to Hong Kong.
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He probably couldn’t have gone to a place any further from the racing mecca but in some way it says a lot about Berry.

“I love getting in the car with dad and talking things over with him,” Berry said. “It just gave him time to give me some advice, which is always good.

“We talked over what had happened in the Slipper, and we were able to talk about other things as well, including how things might go in Hong Kong.

“Nowra is one of those places that I would ride when I was starting out, and not winning too often. It puts it in perspective, what I had done.”

Berry has won four group 1s this season, and became the first jockey to win the Golden Rose-Golden Slipper double in the same racing year when Overreach gave him his biggest thrill last weekend.

He took his Golden Slipper trophy for the trip but it didn’t make it out of the family home, where it will stay when he takes up his three-month contract in Hong Kong.

“I hadn’t seen dad on Saturday and Sunday, so to take the Slipper there and show him it was something special,” Berry said. “Mum has already said they will look after it while I’m in Hong Kong.

“Taking [the trophy] to show, it was something I really wanted to do, but it was even better to help out with a horse.

“I helped him saddle up but we didn’t have much luck.”

Kevin’s Survivors finished 11th but the afternoon was time well spent for hoop on top of the world. “Family has always been

very important and it will be something I will miss when I go to Hong Kong,” Berry said.

The 22-year-old, who leads the Sydney premiership, has a Randwick carnival to get through first. He will be on Overreach as she tries to back up her Golden Slipper win in the Sires’ Produce Stakes. “I have no doubt she will run the 1400 metres and with the track improving, I think she can be more dynamic,” he said. “Gai said that the Slipper is like running 1400m, especially on a wet track, and as you saw in the Slipper she can just travel and sprint off any speed.”

Then there is another favourite of Berry’s for him to ride late in the day, Karuta Queen in the Sapphire Stakes. “It is great to be riding her and Overreach on the same day,” he said.

“They have both been very special horses to me. Karuta Queen started it all off for me winning the Magic Millions, without her I wouldn’t have got to Gai’s and I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that helped get me to Hong Kong. She is always going to be a horse I will remember.”

Waterhouse has played a big role in Berry’s rise from talented rider to group 1 jockey. “She has taught me so much, and when I got the offer from Hong Kong, she told me just go because these opportunities don’t come along that often,” he said.

His standing has grown in the jockeys’ ranks, and trainers other than Waterhouse have locked in him into rides in the Doncaster Mile and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He has been booked by Chris Waller to ride Rosehill Guineas runner-up Sacred Falls in the Doncaster and will ride Silent Achiever in the Queen Elizabeth.

It will keep him busy until he leaves on April 28. “I’m riding and working until the day I leave,” Berry said. “It is exciting to have the opportunity but it is in the future. … Once I get to Hong Kong I can think about it, but dad told me to just keep working hard.”

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Nelly’s dream run not over yet

How was that? Neil Werrett with Black Caviar after her win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last June. Photo: Julian AndrewsSaturday has been a couple of years in the making for Black Caviar’s managing co-owner, Neil Werrett, and he can’t wait for her return to Randwick.
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The man who put the unbeaten mare’s ownership group together has had a great ride, but having her in his home town is special.

“I have been waiting two years to get her back here, and to have her arrive safe and sound, and for Peter [Moody] to be so happy with her is a great plus.

“Let’s hope she can go out and do her thing again.”

Black Caviar’s remarkable career amounts to 24 wins, with 14 coming at group 1 level. She will become the Australian record holder for group 1 wins if she is successful in the $1 million T.J. Smith Stakes (1200 metres) at Randwick on Saturday.

Black Caviar, or Nelly, ceased to be a betting proposition for most punters a couple of years ago, since she proved so superior to her rivals that she starts about $1.10 or less in her races.

Werrett marvels that she has become part of common language for excellence in Australia.

“That is funny thing with her, that you will be watching the football and they will be talking about a team that has won a few in a row and her name will come up,” he said. “It’s hard to describe when things like that happen, you sit there and think, ‘Wow, is this real?’

“It not just that but how she has become so well known … people who would never have watched racing are interested in her.”

Most of the public would have thought they had seen the last of Black Caviar when she just won the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot last year but she has come back as strong as ever.

She broke a track record in her return in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February and a month later took care of business in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley under lights three weeks ago.

Werrett put together the owners, a syndicate of friends, on a houseboat trip on the Murray River and has never regretted it. They have grown into an extended family. “You wouldn’t want to be in this alone, it wouldn’t be as much fun” he said. “We get together for every start and catch up with people we would only see once a year more regularly.”

Werrett said the future for Black Caviar would be decided next week.

“Everything is still on the table. We want to get through Saturday and then sit down together. We’ll talk it over and Ascot, Brisbane and Adelaide are options.”

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Kent takes double shot at Derby glory

Mick Kent has two runners in the Australian Derby, one by the all-conquering High Chaparral and the other, second favourite Philippi, by the lesser-known Host.
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Both are bred to be there because they will stay, but as Kent put in his understated way, “They’ve run into a champion.”

It’s A Dundeel is a $1.25 favourite for the blue ribbon after taking the first two legs of the triple crown. In the Randwick Guineas he was dominant, in the Rosehill Guineas comprehensive.

He is one of four sons of High Chaparral to make the Derby field, including Kent’s immature High Shot, and a repeat of the trifecta for the stallion of three years ago when Shoot Out beat Descarado and Monaco Consul is on the cards.

“High Chaparral has taken over from Zabeel as the sire of stayers in this part of the world,” Kent said. “He just works here because he had the turn of foot we need in our horses. He showed that by … winning the Breeders Cup Turf, which is on firm ground, and won it twice. There is no doubt Galileo is best stallion of stayers in the world but [his stock] doesn’t work under our conditions [of racing]. You need a turn of foot because we stop and start.”

It’s A Dundeel’s breeding reads perfectly for a Derby, given he is by High Chaparral out of a Zabeel mare in Stareel. Kent’s part of the dynasty, High Shot, draws on the same line, being out of Sir Tristram mare Queen Caelia. He gets to 2400 metres where he should be most comfortable but it might have come too soon for the colt. “I will put the blinkers on him but he is very coltish and has just been switching on and off in his races,” Kent said. “He might be a preparation away but this is the trip he is bred for.”

High Shot won a Cranbourne maiden in October, and Kent opted to miss the spring to concentrate on the autumn.

He has run in four group races, including the Australian Guineas and last week’s Tulloch Stakes, and been about a half-dozen lengths off the winner each time.

“He has been a little backwards, and I have ran him short of his best a couple of times just to try to get him to settle, but has got pulling,” Kent said. “He is the sort of horse which could put it together at this trip, and we have put the blinkers on him to make a difference.”

Philippi comes from a winning platform in the spring when he started his career with three on end. He was sixth in the Australian Guineas and runner-up in the Alister Clark before proving too smart for his rivals in last week’s group 2 Tulloch Stakes.

“I don’t think [breeder-owner Rick Jamieson] was thinking an Australian Derby when he did the mating but the breeding suggests 10 furlongs [2000m], and he won very well at that trip last week,” Kent said. “The mile-and-a-half is still a mystery with him but he is a very nice horse and will go a good race.”

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Internationals skyrocket Inglis sales results

British bloodstock agent Angus Gold roves the world for blueblooded yearlings for his main client, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Stud, and summed up this week’s unprecedented Inglis sales: “There are more international buyers here than I have ever seen.”
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Sheikh Hamdan, who raced Melbourne Cup winners At Talaq and Jeune, has been a supporter of the Hayes family, firstly with the late patriarch Colin then Peter and now David.

Gold was an absentee at last year’s Inglis sales but bought 19 yearlings in the first two sessions for $7.1 million, including four by Lonhro and More Than Ready and three by Redoute’s Choice. David Hayes will get most of the yearlings to train but so, too, will Mike de Kock, the champion South African who also has a great strike rate in Dubai. De Kock was involved with Gold during the sales and alongside him for several of his buys.

The internationals were busy at the Inglis complex with three sheikhs present – Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, who bought four lots for $1.57 million, as well as linking up with Sheikh Nasser Lootah to buy half of the $4 million Fastnet Rock x River Dove colt on Wednesday.

Dunaden’s owner Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani made his first trip to the Easter sales, buying seven fillies for $1.97 million.

Darley was also buying for Sheikh Mohammed, adding four yearlings to his huge number of home-breds for $1.27 million. They were by Darley stallions, two by Lonhro and one each by Street Cry and Shamardal.

The big newcomer was China’s Teo Ah Khing, who linked up with Coolmore to spend $2 million-plus on yearlings by Fastnet Rock for the China Horse Club.

The Queen’s racing manager, John Warren, selected Khing’s buys, and they will remain in Australia; Gai Waterhouse is likely to prepare several of them.

Khing is behind the establishment of the Tianjin Equine Culture City, and Coolmore is a partner with Khing along with the leading French breeding operation Arqana.

Tianjin will train 8000 equestrian professionals, breed 1000 stud horses, hold auctions and international and domestic professional races.

The Hong Kong buyers were on hand but the Jockey Club was restricted to five lots at the first two sessions for $1,465,000; George Moore bought four yearlings for $1.42 million. Anton Koolman was also buying for HK owners, and his five yearlings cost $1.07 million in conjunction with Hermitage Bloodstock. They will race in NSW.

The turnover on the first two days was staggering. A total of $75,310,000 (up 32 per cent) was spent and the average went up 36 per cent from $221,734 last year to $302,450.

The two stallions generating the huge dollars were naturally Coolmore’s Fastnet Rock and Arrowfield’s Redoute’s Choice, which are serving phenomenal broodmare bands in Ireland and France respectively.

Fastnet Rock had 33 sell for $21,240,000 (average of $643,636), and four of his yearlings were among the eight to fetch $1 million-plus.

Redoute’s Choice had the top-priced lot, Black Caviar’s half-brother from Helsinge, which brought $5 million. He was one of 20 yearlings by the latter which accumulated sales of $13,105,000, averaging $655,250.

Snitzel had his first $1 million yearling when Dr Edward Bateman and wife Belinda took a fancy to a colt. Snitzel’s average for nine yearlings was $352,222.

Breeders to excel included Bruce Neill’s Cressfield stud, near Scone, and Kia Ora Stud, which is owned by Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan and also in the Hunter.

Cressfield had three yearlings sell for seven figures, highlighted by the River Dove colt, which sold to Emirates Park’s Trevor Lobb for $4 million. Kia Ora sold the Fastnet Rock x Dream Play colt for $1.5 million to Coolmore and the China Horse Club, and then James Bester went to $1.55 million for the filly by Fastnet Rock from Mani Bhavan.

Peter Moody signed for five lots for $2.2 million, while John Hawkes, who is in line to train the two top colts, spent $1.94 million on five lots.

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Champions deserve only recognition

Back at Royal Randwick and with a champion’s presence on Saturday, does it get any better?
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Headquarters is the field of scintillating memories, and Black Caviar, in the T.J. Smith, promises to add to them if Peter Moody deems to get her hooves wet should the circumstances arrive.

Black Caviar carries the title champion but that doesn’t satisfy many. ”Better than Tulloch and Kingston Town” has been mentioned but how can a sprinter, untested beyond 1400 metres, be compared to the two most effective over considerably longer journeys?

“Obviously Black Caviar is a champion. But as a racing fan I am left with a slightly sour taste with the way she is constantly and unnecessarily mollycoddled, and protected from possible defeat and injury,” emailed Jason Keegan.

“Moody has stated if the track is wet this Saturday he may scratch. I understand the desire to protect her unbeaten record but as I am sure you would agree a true champion does not skirt the strongest competition nor the most difficult conditions against such.

“So what if she lost? It will not diminish her memory. Allan Border is remembered as a true champion because he performed so gallantly against the mighty West Indies and the great and most fearsome fast attack of all time. There are many more similar sporting analogies. Her finest victories are when she defeated Hay List in the T.J. Smith and the Newmarket when we had a real contest. I do not remember many of her other victories.”

However, Moody, on Racenet, was defensive regarding the depth of performances from her 24 straight wins for which the trainer has been the catalyst: she has rarely been out of the comfort zone in distance, track condition and well-being. This is more credit than criticism.

”She’s now beaten 35 individual group 1 winners, and they have [yet] to beat her,” Moody said. ”We’re not talking shit saying that. She’s beaten Golden Slipper winners, Cox Plate winners, Caulfield Cup winners, she’s beaten them all. I’m respectful of that, and if they’re not respectful of her, that’s their issue.”

Saturday’s Randwick reopening after $160 million spent on a grandstand and the ”Theatre of the Horse” should be another chapter in the remarkable history of what was described by British author Nat Gould in the 19th century as “one of the finest racecourses in the world” and “a place where the secretary has succeeded in his endeavours to keep loose women off the course”.

Great past events at Randwick come to mind.

In 1879, the Australian Jockey Club gave permission for Siegfried Franck to test the first pari-mutuel (tote) at Randwick. It operated on the AJC Plate, and was won by hot favourite Chester, a champion.

Hopefully, Black Caviar backers get a better dividend. Punters who invested a pound on Chester received only 18 shillings back, and the state government barred the tote and threatened legal action against Franck.

Randwick has always brought the best out in jockeys as well as horses. Consider 1969 when George Moore won 15 of the 29 races staged at the Easter carnival, then at its rightful home.

Moore and his partner in success, Tommy Smith, would have attempted to hatch a plan, all fair and above board, to bring Black Caviar undone.

Certainly not to the degree of the most infamous Randwick ride, by Mel Schumacher on Blue Era, when he impeded Summer Fair with an iron-like grip on rival Tom Hill’s leg in the 1961 AJC Derby.

It appears unlikely any rival will get close enough for long enough to Black Caviar to get any sort of grasp, but at the worst she will fare better than Shannon in the 1946 Epsom. Shannon, too, looked unbeatable to take his second Epsom, but was left at the open barrier and beaten a head. The circumstances instigated one of the wildest Randwick demonstrations seen against Darby Munro. Later the starter admitted liability for the calamity.

Finally, in 1947, barrier stalls were installed at Randwick.

Tulloch and Kingston Town showed their greatness and durability in the Randwick autumn.

On April 5, 1958, Tulloch beat Prince Darius by 20 lengths in the St Leger (2800m). Four days later, he notched the All Aged Stakes (1600m), accounting for Doncaster winner Grenoble, and on April 12 the Queen Elizabeth (2200m).

Kingston Town followed his Tancred (2400m) triumph on March 29, 1980, with the AJC Derby on April 7 and Sydney Cup five days later. Incidentally, Kingston Town was beaten only once at Randwick when pocketed down the straight in the 1982 Chelmsford. Jockey Malcolm Johnston cried after the defeat.

When weighing up the greats, ponder on this advice: “Champions don’t deserve to be compared, just recognised.” – Bart Cummings.

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

‘You’re just not Australian’: actor’s audition spoof wins audience

‘It’s Oarstraylian for beer’ … Brian Guest takes the piss, quite literally, in a fun online video aimed at Australian actors.It’s now the oldest, and least funny, joke in Hollywood: an Australian walks into the casting room… .
Nanjing Night Net

For almost a century – from Errol Flynn to Rod Taylor, Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman – Australian actors have held pride of place on Hollywood’s billboards.

But 2013 sees Tinseltown under attack from an almost unprecedented Aussie invasion.

As Fairfax reported last month more than 20 Australian actors have been cast in US pilots this year.

But this week, a lone American actor struck back. Brian Guest, whose credits include small roles in Southland, Hawaii 5-0 and Torchwood, produced a short for the comedy website Funny Or Die.

In it he plays an American actor who, frustrated by the lack of American roles on American TV left for American actors, turns the tables on the Aussie invaders.

“You’re doing great work, you’re just not Australian,” his agent tells him in one scene.

It’s a gentle parody, and it even has a few Aussie actors in on the joke.

The casting assistant in the film is played former Neighbours actress (and Jason Donovan’s sister) Stephanie McIntosh.

And the Aussie actor at the audition Guest hopes to trump is played by Andrew Lees, an Australian actor best known for a starring role on Nine’s Rescue: Special Ops. He also had a role in the HBO miniseries The Pacific.

The clip has gone viral, and caught the attention of Australian media, who are bemused by the reaction of one of Hollywood’s own at the prospect of a full-scale Aussie invasion.

No less than five former Home and Away actors – Luke Mitchell, Bob Morley, Chris Egan, Lincoln Lewis and Luke Bracey – have booked gigs in US television pilots this year.

Rachel Griffiths, Rodger Corser, Dena Kaplan, Tim Pocock, Tom Green, Rachael Taylor, Miranda Otto, Bojana Novakovic, Jacki Weaver, Anthony LaPaglia, Rebel Wilson, Adelaine Kane, Toni Collette, Meegan Warner, Daniel Henshall, Rick Donald and Melissa George have also booked pilots or series.

Every January and February the US networks cast more than 70 drama and comedy pilots, from which perhaps only a few dozen will get the green light.

The successful pilots, and some that are undecided, are screened to international programmers every May at a week-long event known as the “May screenings”.

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