Come on Aussie: Fawkner owner calls for patriotic support for Melbourne Cup

MADE IN AUSTRALIA: Fawkner with Cup jockey Nicholas Hall aboard. Picture: Getty ImagesFAWKNER’S owner has called on Australians to get fair dinkum and support one of their own in the Melbourne Cup.
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Nick Williams believes Fawkner can repel the northern hemisphere invasion on Tuesday. As well as the record 11 overseas-trained runners, another eight are imports and four are New Zealand bred.

Fawkner is a son of the unbeaten Reset, raced by Williams’ father, Lloyd, a four-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner who shares Fawkner with his son.

Fawkner’s dam, Dane Belltar, was placed in three Oaks at group 1 level and has passed on her staying credentials to her son.

‘‘He’s by Reset, which means he’s Australian bred,’’ Nick Williams said. ‘‘He’s also Australian-owned, Australian-reared and Australian trained, and I don’t think there’s another horse in the race we can say that about.

‘‘I hope the country gets behind him.’’

It seems many are with Fawkner, which has been well supported at between $9 and $10 since the field and barriers were finalised on Saturday.

The Williams family has its own imported Cup hope at Flemington, Sea Moon, one of the outsiders at $151.

Admire Rakti’s powerful Caulfield Cup win means he is the favourite to give Japan a second Cup, although he has eased slightly after drawing barrier eight, alongside Fawkner in nine.

But Admire Rakti’s trainer, Tomoyuki Umeda, is more than happy with the gate, saying eight is a lucky number in Japan.

Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran one-two in the Cup for Japan in 2006, but stricter quarantine regulations after the equine influenza outbreak a year later proved difficult.

Tokai Trick, 12th in 2010, is the only Japanese horse since then to make the trip to Australia for the Cup.

Admire Rakti will have an Australian connection via his jockey, Hong Kong’s premier rider, Zac Purton.

Against him is his top weight of 58.5kg. In 2005, Makybe Diva carried 58kg in her third Cup, the highest winning weight since 1969.

At the lower end of the weight scale, second favourite Lucia Valentina, third in the Caulfield Cup, will carry 53kg.

The Kris Lees-trained former New Zealand mare has never been over the 3200 metres of the Cup but was strong at the end of the 2400m at Caulfield.

Her jockey, Kerrin McEvoy, has been there and done it before, winning in 2000 on Brew, which qualified on the Saturday before the Cup.

Signoff will be aiming to do the same after winning his way through via the equivalent race on Saturday, the Lexus Stakes.

He is prepared by Melbourne trainer Darren Weir for businessman Gerry Ryan, who experienced victory with Americain four years ago.

Bloodstock agent John Foote secured Signoff at a yearling sale in England, and the Irish-bred gelding has done all his racing in Australia.

His Lexus win propelled him to single figures in markets and he will have international star Joao Moreira as his pilot.

The Hong Kong-based Brazilian was aboard for the Lexus on the same day he won the group1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Brazen Beau and finished a close second on He’s Your Man in the Mackinnon Stakes won by Happy Trails.

Precedence flies the flag for the colonial-bred and the man who has won the Melbourne Cup more times than any other.

Bart Cummings has sent Precedence to the Cup three times, and this year the nine-year-old goes to the race under the names of the master and his training partner, grandson James.

Like the popular English horse Red Cadeaux, Precedence will be running in his fourth Cup. This time he will sport the green colours of his breeder and part-owner, Cambridge Stud proprietor Sir Patrick Hogan. His other owners include Dato Tan Chin Nam, who has won four Cups with Bart Cummings, who has trained 12 Cup winners.

Precedence is an outsider with bookmakers but will be much shorter on the tote as once-a-year punters take a chance on the Cups King.


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Arnold still not satisfied despite win over Mariners

Blues brothers:Sydney players celebrate with Terry Antonis after his stunning opener.Sydney FC back on top after 2-0 win over Mariners
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Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold is convinced his top-of-the-table side will only get better after relying on two set-pieces to secure a 2-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The home side appeared to dominate the contest but needed a stunning drive from Terry Antonis and a deflected effort from his midfield partner Milos Dimitrijevic to secure the result.

While the Mariners never really seemed in the contest after the Sky Blues went ahead in the first half, Arnold said the performance left room for improvement, even if it was their third straight win.

“Overall I was reasonably happy with our performance. At times we were sloppy but I’m happy to get the three points,” he said. “We’re getting better and better. It’s a lot of hard work [to progress] – and a lot of hard work on the training field.”

The Sky Blues might have also kept their second straight clean sheet but the coach felt they were more convincing against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium last Friday, which ended in the same scoreline.

“I was disappointed today with our defence. We didn’t press well, we were a bit off the pace with our intensity to press. But we’ve done a lot of work on it,” he said. “I think everyone knows for me that defence is first and foremost. We need to be strong, hard to beat and today showed if you work hard in defence, and you’re structurally strong, you can score off set pieces and that was the difference today.”

Arnold was full of praise for his old club, saying they gave the Sydney more trouble than the the scoreline suggested.

“The Mariners did well. They had the wide boys coming around the back and getting on the inside of Antonis and Dimitrijevic which made us change our system for the last 15-20 [minutes],” he said “You’ve got to give full credit to the Mariners. I thought they played extremely well. Mossy is doing a great job with them and I’m sure they’ll have a good season.”

Central Coast coach Phil Moss was upbeat with the overall performance in spite of conceding the decisive goals.

“It was very disappointing to concede two set pieces and we should have defended them better,” Moss said. “But I’m very proud of my boys. The performance was [good] and I thought we played some very good football in patches. I think we played our part in what was a very entertaining game and we pushed a big club like Sydney FC right to the last minute.”

Moss felt his side would have been in with a chance of snatching a point had they been able to force a goal during the second half – one of which should have come when Mitchell Duke had an 88th-penalty saved by Vedran Janjetovic.

“Even at 2-0, we just needed that goal,” he said. “Had Duke’s effort gone in off the cross bar, or the penalty of course, it could have been a different outcome.”

The Sky Blues will face a nervous wait on the fitness of Alex Brosque after the star striker badly twisted his ankle late in the match and needed to be substituted.

Brosque, who has been in superb form this season, was tangling with Mariners’ defender Jacob Poscoliero and was reaching for the ball when his right ankle contorted awkwardly.


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Parents mourn teenage son after lightning strike

“He did die doing what he loved best”: Mark and Peta Morrisey, parents of Jayden, who was killed after being struck by lightning. Photo: Max Mason-HubersFriends pay their respects to Jayden Morrissey
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It was Saturday morning when Mark Morrissey received a text message with an image of the beaming smile of his second-oldest son, Jayden, hanging out with mates on the popular Port Stephens strip of sand called One Mile Beach.

By 4.15pm – and after he hadn’t heard from the 15-year-old how he was battling with a weekend of beach fun – Mr Morrissey sent his son a text message with the same line so many parents have worded before: “Are you still alive?”

But Jayden would have been too busy in the surf and on the sand with his mates to get straight back to his dad.

Within an hour, a team of six paramedics and a doctor would start a 70-minute battle to save the popular Thornton teenager’s life after he was struck by a lightning bolt from a storm that had silently rushed over the beach’s southern headland and caught more than 100 beachgoers with nowhere to run.

They lost the battle.

“He could have been five metres up the beach, it could have been any of the other kids that were standing alongside him,” Mr Morrissey said on Sunday.

“He did die doing what he loved best – he loved the beach – but he certainly had plenty more journeys in his life.

“He didn’t deserve this.”

Mr Morrissey had dropped his son, the second-oldest of four and a year 9  student at Francis Greenway High School,  at One Mile Beach on Friday to enjoy a weekend with close friends.

They had had a laugh a minute at the caravan park on Friday night and returned to the beach first thing on Saturday morning as the heat started to warm up the sand.

They remained for most of the day before the storm cells drifted in without warning and caught everyone unaware.

Jayden and his friends were well clear of the water when the lightning struck.

“We need people to understand he was not in the water when the storm hit,” Mr Morrissey said.

“Police said there were more than 100 people on the beach.

“There was no warning of the storm, it came straight over the hill, they didn’t have time to react.

“They were where their towels were and [one of the adults in the group] turned around to call another two kids out of the water, and as he turned he saw Jayden drop to the ground holding his chest.”

Mr Morrissey, wife Peta, and three other sons, Brodi, 19, Jarryd, 11, and Logan, 8, have been left devastated.

But although they are searching for answers, they need their friends to know no one was to blame.

“[The adult] will never forgive himself and that is what we need people to understand – there is no blame to be levelled here, there is no hard feelings, it was just a freak accident,” Mr Morrissey said.

“I know people can never forgive themselves but you can’t wrap your kids up in cotton wool.

“If he wasn’t up there, he would have been at Nobbys – he would have been at the beach somewhere.”

Mr Morrissey said his son gave up rugby league several years ago to become a referee and was due to play in state touch football titles at Penrith this week.

Instead, his family will be facing the worst week imaginable.

“He never gave me an ounce of grief,” Mr Morrissey said.

“He was the best kid you could ever ask for.

“He had a cheeky grin, he was quick witted.

“All of the tributes on Facebook all said the same thing.”


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Melbourne Cup: Tiffany Schofield takes a back seat

Riding rivals: Chad Schofield with his father Glyn Schofield will both ride in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. Photo: Chris HopkinsSpring racing: what you need to know
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Somewhere, out the back of Flemington and away from the 100,000 sets of eyes locked on the track on Tuesday, Tiffany Schofield will be listening to a radio. She reckons it might even be in a toilet under a grandstand. It is still better than watching live, she reasons.

“I don’t watch the races,” she said. “I actually prefer to listen. Even the other day when Chad had a fall [in the Moonee Valley Cup] I wasn’t watching, I was walking the dogs listening on the phone. I haven’t been watching for a while.”

How about making an exception when her husband Glyn and son Chad become   the first father and son to ride in a Melbourne Cup since 1968?

“I will [go to the track], but I will walk to the back and take a moment for myself,” she said.

That the pair have Melbourne Cup rides is quite incredible in itself.

Chad had a long-standing booking on Green Moon, which went belly up when Lloyd Williams withdrew the 2012 champion, before eventually hopping on Mr O’Ceirin. Glyn had been circling rides for weeks, but was only confirmed on OTI Racing’s Au Revoir late on Saturday afternoon.

“When Chad lost the ride on Green Moon on Saturday morning he immediately started trying to get under his father’s neck and get the ride on Au Revoir,” joked the Schofields’ manager Mark Van Triet, who also looks after Damien Oliver.

“They’re a very competitive group, but fortunately Glyn held the ride and Chad picked up another one. I think they go by, ‘I don’t like dad beating me’ or ‘I don’t like my son beating me’. It’s competitive in a good way … in a healthy way.”

That Glyn and Chad are on a pair of Melbourne Cup longshots almost seems irrelevant. The fact they have arrived at Australia’s biggest race day is a feat in itself. Injuries, falls and suspensions have plagued both this year.

Add to that the sudden death of Nathan Berry, married to Glyn’s daughter Whitney only three months earlier, and it is a year they would probably like to close the book on.

But the first Tuesday in November will be a cause for celebration in the household.

“You could say we’ve ridden in some big races over the carnival together, but I think the Cup is going to hold something different and be really special,” Glyn said.

“Nostalgia or sentiment shouldn’t get in the way and I’m sure there will be a time where we’ll look back at it [with great pride]. It’s a great race and great to be a part of it and to have my son there makes it a little more special.”

Chad, who two years ago as a teenage apprentice was close to riding alongside his dad in the Durban July, the biggest race in the Schofields’ native South Africa, added: “It’s special. Obviously we’re not on the most fancied of runners, but we’re in the race and we’ve got a chance.

“We’re both in it and even though we’ve both drawn a bit awkwardly, hopefully we can get a nice enough spot from the barrier and just enjoy the experience.”

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Darrin Gillies’ claim against lawyers thrown out of Supreme Court

Darrin Gillies outside Belmont court in 2004 HE’S filed lawsuits claiming damages and compensation in excess of $4 million against various defendants.
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Now former Newcastle property developer and convicted rapist Darrin Gillies has once again had one of his claims labelled an ‘‘abuse of process’’.

The most recent chapter ended on Friday where a case against his former lawyers, Nic Moir and Chris O’Brien, as well as the lawyers who opposed him in a suite of litigation a decade ago was summarily dismissed.

The dismissal came just months after a $4million claim against the victim of the sexual assault, a claim in relation to a property at Anna Bay and another suit against another set of lawyers were also thrown out by the Supreme Court.

Gillies was jailed in 2006 for six years and eight months with a non-parole period of five years after he was convicted of one count of sexual assault.

Gillies had filmed himself performing sex acts with a woman who was either heavily intoxicated or asleep at Warners Bay in 2004.

He was acquitted of other charges.

Gillies filed a number of lawsuits in the Supreme Court last December including one against the State of NSW claiming that police and prosecutors were motivated by malice.

That case was adjourned in September when the judge disqualified himself from hearing the case because he knew one of the prosecutors involved.

Gillies’ most recent case was against Mr Moir, Mr O’Brien and the partners at Harris Wheeler Lawyers.

Gillies claimed that he was owed about $88,000 in relation to a suite of litigation involving the parties a decade ago.

That claim was summarily dismissed on Friday with Justice Peter Garling saying:

‘‘It is an abuse of the process of this court for a litigant with no entitlement to bring proceedings, as Mr Gillies does not, to commence proceedings for claims which are clearly statute barred, as these claims are, in circumstances where the pleading is irrational and unintelligible.’’

The defendants, as in the other cases, were awarded costs.


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