Monthly Archives: November 2018

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Trainer who used cattle prod on greyhound unlikely to face criminal charges

Greyhound racing at The Gardens in Newcastle, where the incident is alleged to have taken place. Photo: Marina Neil Investigation: retired Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy will sift through reams of evidence into the Keinbah trial track. Photo: Barry Chapman
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A trainer who allegedly used a 6000-volt prod on a greyhound will not be charged. Photo: Brook Mitchell

A trainer who allegedly used a cattle prod capable of emitting a 6000-volt shock on a greyhound in order to make it run faster is unlikely to face criminal charges after being disqualified from the industry.

Fairfax Media understands Robert Newstead won’t be subject to police prosecution or further scrutiny from the RSPCA after being banned for 15 months by Greyhound Racing NSW for his part in an incident at Newcastle’s The Gardens track in July 2012.

Video of the incident was also obtained by the ABC and GRNSW, the state’s industry regulator, referred the case to the authorities in July to see if criminal charges could be laid. But it’s understood that such a scenario is now considered unlikely.

Newstead will instead serve a lengthy disqualification from greyhound racing after an inquiry found him guilty of “shocking” a greyhound with the electric prod as a lure travelled past the starting boxes during a trialling session.

Newstead was charged by GRNSW with two offences in October and recently pleaded guilty at a hearing.

Due to his plea he was given a 25 per cent discount on his penalty. He will be able to apply for a licence, if he wishes, in early 2018.

The footage of the cattle prod incident emerged just weeks after the NSW government announced an imminent ban of greyhound racing in the state, which was later reversed.

Deputy Premier and Racing Minister Troy Grant, who flanked Premier Mike Baird during his announcement of a ban on greyhound racing, has since quit as NSW Nationals leader after the party lost the Orange by-election to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party candidate Philip Donato.

Newstead hasn’t started a greyhound in any race since April this year, more than two months before footage of the cattle prod incident emerged publicly.

GRNSW has engaged former top thoroughbred racing steward Ray Murrihy to sift through reams of evidence from an investigation into the Keinbah​ trial track, which was chaired by Sydney barrister Clive Steirn​, SC.

Steirn probed whether witnesses misled a GRNSW inquiry in evidence about the conduct of participants at the trialling facility. Dozens of bones were dug up at the site in July.

Murrihy served as Racing NSW’s chief steward for more than 20 years during a distinguished career lasting more than four decades across Australia.

He will determine whether any person figuring in evidence obtained in the Keinbah trial track investigation has breached the rules of GRNSW, which found no evidence to corroborate claims of animal welfare offences at the track during its own inquiry earlier this year.

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Youth influx makes Peter Siddle nervous about playing for Australia again

Veteran pace bowler Peter Siddle has admitted that seeing so many young and inexperienced players included in the last Australian Test side made older players like him nervous about their futures.
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Siddle, 32, has been sidelined with a back injury sustained in the first Test against South Africa, early last month.

After two embarrassing defeats to the Proteas to start the three-match series, Australian selectors kickstarted a changing of the guard, making wholesale changes for the third and final Test in Adelaide.

Joe Burns, Adam Voges, Callum Ferguson, Peter Nevill and Joe Mennie all made way for debutants Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson as well as Matthew Wade and Jackson Bird.

The revamped Aussie team subsequently won the day-night Test by seven wickets.

“I think so a little bit, I think it always does,” Peter Siddle told SEN when asked if the successful influx of youth made him nervous.

“But at the end of the day if you’re putting forward good performances and you’re going well, I don’t think age is going to be a factor.

“You’ve got to be performing and those young guys, when the selectors put it out there that they’re looking for a few new players, the young guys that obviously got picked performed well in the lead-up and that’s what they (selectors) want – they want players in form and I think it won’t matter if you’re 25 or early 30s, if you’re performing you’ll still get your opportunity.”

Siddle, who broke down with back stress fractures in February too, said it was frustrating to injure himself again but was optimistic about a potential Boxing Day Test return against Pakistan.

“The good thing was we got onto it early and we knew what it was so that made it easy just to keep in control rather than push it too hard and be out for a long time,” he said.

“I’ve only missed a few weeks. You never know, Boxing Day would be a nice time to come back but I’ve just got to get it right and see how I go.

“I’ll have another scan next week and see how it goes and I’m feeling good. I’m back training, fitness-wise I’m feeling good.

“You never want to miss Boxing Day as a Victorian.”

Siddle said the hardest thing about returning to full fitness was to then ascertain how hard he should push his body when ramping up his bowling so as not to suffer a recurrence.

“That’s always the hardest thing I think working out how hard to go once you come back,” he said.

“The training and everything is pretty easy because the carrot at the end is to try and play for Australia again.

“It’s just about control and how you go once you get out in the field.”

Siddle will also play his fourth season with the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League this summer.

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Nick Olive hopes it will continue to be effortless for All Too Ready

Aiming high: Canberra trainer Nick Olive brings All Too Ready to Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Jay Cronan Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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The syndicate that races All Too Ready is already all too familiar with the sometimes painful reality of horse ownership.

The All Too Hard filly, which runs in the opener at Rosehill on Saturday, is their second chance: an insurance job after their dream filly from the Magic Millions sale died at the breakers.

Canberra trainer Nick Olive well remembers the calls he had to make earlier this year to each syndicate member about the first filly.

“This filly was actually bought with the insurance money from another filly,” Olive said. “We paid $140,000 for a Not A Single Doubt filly at Magic Millions but she flipped over and killed herself when she was being broken in.

“It was one of those freak accidents and she just got that part of her head where there was nothing that could be done.

“I had to ring everyone and tell them what happened. It wasn’t a great day. There are a few of my good mates and first-time owners in the syndicate, so it wasn’t a good experience.

“We were able to get the insurance from her and had the chance to get them another filly and it looks like we got a good one.”

Olive headed to the Easter sales looking for a replacement and found an All Too Hard filly out of More Than Ready mare Modonna. She made an immediate impression on him and, remarkably, he secured her for the same money.

“I just liked her straight away. Everything she did was effortless. She was big and strong and an athlete,” Olive said.

“She has just continued that since she got to the stable. She is a natural.”

All Too Ready is the latest of the All Too Hards to get to the track. He leads the first-season stallion standings but is yet to have a winner from 11 runners. But the signs are good with Groundbreak and Reflectivity running seconds in Sydney two-year-old races last month.

Olive decided to come to Sydney with his filly after she won a Canberra barrier trial by 4¼ lengths without being extended and he is eyeing the Inglis Nursery with her in a couple of weeks.

“Richard Bensley​ rode her in that trial and said she was only going half pace,” Olive said. “She was a bit slow to jump but mustered quickly and as I said she is effortless in whatever she does.That’s what it looked like.

“I rang Tommy Berry and asked him to ride her a couple of weeks ago. It seems like the right option to come up there with her.

“The test is going to come on Saturday when we put her under pressure. You don’t know until then how they really go.

“But I’m confident from everything she has shown us that she will handle that.

“There are always going to be good two-year-olds around at this time of year, so we will find out a lot more about her on Saturday.”

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Fred Kersley’s long wait for group success in Perth racing carnival may be over

Fred Kersley is overseeing former rivals in the Perth carnival. Photo: Vince CaligiuriFred Kersley is one of those horsemen who have always been advocates of giving horses time to mature, and being patient when waiting for that pay day.
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It has long been regarded as the cheapest recipe for success. A former brilliant reinsman in the harness racing world, Kersley in recent years has turned his hand to racing, with considerable success.

But even the quietly spoken Kersley admitted this week that his two carnival horses Respondent and Ihtsahymn had more than worn out the patience of those involved with them.

It all started in 2014 when Respondent, then trained by Grant Williams, defeated Kersley’s Ihtsahymn in the Western Australian Derby, leaving the connections of Respondent delighted by the success and Kersley, who at the time only trained Ihtsahymn, understandably downcast at coming so close to a big race win.

“I was disappointed of course, we all like to win but that was the way it went and Respondent proved better than Ihtsahymn on the day, but it’s always in the back of your mind when you get beaten in a Derby ,” Kersley said.

But since then, both have proved costly conveyances. Itsahymn, a 2013 winner of the Kingston Town Classic, a race he will contest on Saturday, was sent to Victoria to be prepared by Paddy Payne not long after his Derby defeat.

Payne and Kersley had formed a strong partnership following the deeds of champion West Australian galloper Northerly in years gone by.

“After the Derby we felt Ihtsahymn was being weighted out of races here in Perth, so I sent him over to Paddy,” Kersley said.

“He struggled there and perhaps it was the weight that was again a concern for him and he didn’t win a race.”

Earlier this year, Ihtsahymn arrived back in Perth to be prepared for its rich summer carnival which includes the Kingston Town Classic and the Perth Cup.

At his third start back for Kersley, Ihtsahymn was successful, and not before time, as the horse had not been in the winner’s stall for 750 days.

“It was a fair time to wait, but, it looks like he’s back and the weight-for-age conditions for Saturday’s race will very much play into his hands as he won’t be giving his rivals any weight,” he said.

Just a month before Ihtsahymn arrived back on Kersley’s doorstep, a group of owners got together and purchased Respondent at a dispersal sale for $55,000.

The group chose Kersley to reinvent the horse’s career and last Saturday week Respondent won its first race in 960 days when successful at Ascot, with Kersley elated after such a long drought with a quality stayer like him.

“I’ve got to say it was nice to win but I’ve still got mixed feelings about him beating us all those days ago. But, there is very much an upside. I think Ihtsahymn will be competitive in the Kingston Town Classic, a race he’s won before, and then we can ago on to the Perth Cup,” he said.

“And when he gets to the Perth Cup he’ll be competing against Respondent and this time under the same roof. They’ll be stablemates and hopefully those years on the outer have ended and we see both of them produce their very best.”

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Message from cricketing great inspires Daniel Popovic to put himself in PGA mix

A message from good friend Ricky Ponting lit the fires and the sight of the Joe Kirkwood Cup had memories flooding back as Victorian Daniel Popovic bounced back to form on the first day of the Australian PGA Championship.
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It has been a long, long time between drinks for Popovic, who had plenty of sips from the cup back in 2012 when he broke through for his sole professional victory the final time the event was staged at Coolum before moving to Royal Pines.

There are no giant dinosaurs and spray-painted fairways on the Gold Coast this week, as was the case when he triumphed in a madcap final fling at Clive Palmer’s now-failing resort, but the 30-year-old feels as if the confidence has returned after a wretched run of injuries and form.

Ponting set the scene on Wednesday night, reminding Popovic to go back to basics as he tried to relocate the type of golf that earned him a surprise leg of the Australian triple crown in a wire-to-wire performance.

“Rick texted me last night. He knows how much I’ve been struggling mentally on the golf course. I’ll play well in rounds with him and he’s just as confused as me in tournaments,” said Popovic, who carded a two-under 70 to be five shots behind leader Andrew Dodt.

“He said to go out and hit each shot on its merit and take it one shot at a time. It sounds really simple but a lot of the time you forget about it. When you hear it from a guy like that, you should be listening.”

Popovic’s emotional PGA title helped him to a career-high ranking of 363. Now he’s the world No.1872 but starting to remember the good times of a very blurry week four years ago.

“For approximately a week, I reckon I had every single meal apart from hard food [out of the cup] – cornflakes, coffee, champagne, beer. It was our last event for the year, so I completely partied it up. I didn’t leave it out of my sight,” he said.

“When I saw the trophy on the first tee, it brought back a lot of good memories. I just wanted to run with it for the day. I’d love to be eating my cornflakes out of that again.”

A bulging disc in his back saw him spend three months in Britain earlier in the year, a week of which was spent staying with cricket star Kevin Pietersen, who like Ponting, is a huge golf fan and enthusiastic player.

And the year before that, he spent months recovering from the ankle he broke during a regrettable golf buggy incident in the carpark of The Heritage course just north of Melbourne.

“Last year I broke my ankle, coming back from that was really hard. I flipped a golf cart. It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

“I was completely sober. It was 11am and pouring down outside. Just like kids do when they’re bored, I tried to do too much and made some big mistakes. I turned it far too hard on a side hill, I flipped over, Ryan Lynch fell on top of me and so did the golf cart.

“This year, I had a bulging disc in my back and that was really difficult. But the belief is still there, my game is still there, I know I can win tournaments, that I can compete.”

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