Teachers suspicious of quota for skills checks

FORCING more than 2500 public school teachers a year to attend performance improvement programs would ”result in better teachers”, a state government review says.
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The NSW Commission of Audit final report recommends the education department improve its management of poor performing teachers and specifically endorses reviewing the performance of ”something closer to 5 per cent”, a huge increase on the current level.

Currently, 100 teachers a year are directed into 10-week Teacher Improvement Programs each year. Half of them return to work and half leave their jobs.

The proposal was rejected by the NSW Teachers Federation president, Maurie Mulheron, as part of ”the great distraction of teacher bashing”. He said a quota made no sense.

”If there is a teacher who is under-performing there should be a fair and rigorous process to support them and if they don’t meet the standards they shouldn’t remain in teaching,” Mr Mulheron said.

Lila Mularczyk, the president of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council, said principals were also opposed to something that sounded like a quota for low-performing teachers.

”I can’t imagine that would have a positive outcome for anyone in the education system, or for the system itself,” she said.

But the Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, who released a discussion paper last week designed to lift the quality of teaching, said that ”nothing is off the table” and the report should be considered.

The audit report also offers strong endorsement of the school autonomy reforms initiated by Mr Piccoli and advocates placing even more responsibility on principals to achieve the government’s goals.

For instance, it says sick pay has been ”poorly managed” and says the system is being abused, with costs increasing because principals are not replacing sick teachers with other teachers or deputy principals, as they are entitled to do under industrial agreements. Principals should be given responsibility to manage the problem – backed by the incentive of being able to keep ”at least some of the savings”.

The report recommends principals be alerted to staff with ”atypical” sick-leave patterns. ”Principals should then undertake an investigation of sick leave in their school, to determine whether some individuals may be abusing their entitlement,” the report states.

They should then force their own staff to cover ”short term absences”.

But Ms Mularczyk rejected the proposal. ”We don’t believe it is the principal’s job to be managing salaries or leave conditions,” she said.

”It has always been a priority for us to make sure there is a quality teacher in front of every class every day. But that does not mean increasing the workload of someone who already has a role in the school.”

The NSW opposition education spokeswoman, Carmel Tebbutt, said students would suffer.

”We don’t want to go back to the day where classes are combined because schools can’t afford to employ casual staff to cover for sick teachers,” she said.

Mr Mulheron said principals would be forced to pick up the work that had been done by public servants. ”This report confirms our worst fears, that education policy in NSW is being driven by Treasury,” he said.

The report also recommends the government consider buying out the long service leave entitlements of teachers.

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Ambassador may not be fastest during run, but he will be fasting

City2Surf
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THE City2Surf is hard enough when you are fit and young, but the 14-kilometre race will be a hard slog for the 56-year-old ambassador to Australia from the United Arab Emirates, Ali Nasser Al Nuaimi, who is fasting for Ramadan.

His Excellency Mr Nuaimi, an ex-military officer, is joining other Muslims observing the month of fasting, during which no food or water is consumed between dawn and dusk.

The Islamic faith encourages followers to contribute to charity and do good deeds during Ramadan.

Mr Nuaimi is one of this Sunday’s top 10 individual fund-raisers, raising nearly $9000 so far for the [email protected]’s Galilee School, which helps high school dropouts attain their year 10 certificate in the ACT.

Organisers said yesterday the City2Surf race, presented by Westpac and the biggest race of its kind in the world, was on track to raise $5 million for more than 650 charities.

”Fund-raising for City2Surf doesn’t close until three weeks after the event, so we’re still feeling positive that we will reach this year’s target of $5 million, and we’re aiming to have raised $4 million by this Sunday,” a spokesperson said.

Among the other religions represented at the City2Surf are Sister Leone Wittmack and the 40-strong Nuns on the Run team, who should be easy to spot in bright orange shirts with a running nun logo. They are raising money for Gorman House, a detoxification unit predominantly for homeless, drug and alcohol dependent people.

Sr Leone, the group mission leader of St Vincent’s Health Australia, has done the City2Surf 13 times, once in 92 minutes. She prepares by trying to keep fit. ”I do my bit of running and go to gym, do group classes, like Body Attack and a spin-bike class.”

Does she offer up a special prayer before the race? ”Dear God, help me to get to other end and make it up Heartbreak Hill.”

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That was then, this is now: Swans are ready to clip Collingwood’s wings

Stretched, not stressed … yesterday’s training session for the Swans at the SCG.What has been the difference in the past?
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The Pies match the hard-nosed Swans at the contest – contested possessions and clearances – and then blow them out on the spread. But one forgotten factor has been Sydney’s poor starts. The streak stands at 10. Collingwood’s winning run in first quarters of those games also stands at 10. On average, the Swans have given up a three-goal head start. In games decided by just four goals, it is a massive advantage. Last year’s game aside, you have to go back to round 14, 2008, to find the last time Sydney kicked more than two goals in an opening term against the Pies. Sluggish starts have been of no concern this year, however. Sydney top the AFL for first quarters. The only problem is, Collingwood are second.

What has changed this year?

The Swans are better. This will be only the second time since 2006 that Sydney go into a game ahead of Collingwood on the ladder – let alone on top of it. As former coach Paul Roos highlighted this week, his old team has addressed the spread problem. With players such as Lewis Jetta, Kieren Jack and others stepping up this year, the Swans have benefited from more outside run, and it has shown up in their uncontested possession numbers. Last year they averaged 16 fewer per game than their opponents. This year they are +8. Although, when assessing Sydney’s rise, nothing has been more pivotal than their rock-solid defence. In the 10 previous losses, the Swans have leaked an average of 14 goals to the Pies, with Travis Cloke getting hold of them last year with six goals. This year, they have conceded just 9.8 goals to their opponents, making the Sydney’s back six the most reliable and settled combination in the AFL right now. They have to stand up again tomorrow night.

What can’t the Swans afford to do?

Let Collingwood launch their attack from the back half. The Swans top the AFL for long kicks to a contest, and last for short kicks. It has meant they are also last for marks. They are good at the contest, but bombing the ball in long has also meant they rank 16th for turning forward 50 entries into goals. Against the Pies, indirect ball use inside 50 can allow the likes of Nick Maxwell and Harry O’Brien to go third man up on the Swans’ main forwards, one of whom, Sam Reid, is out injured and another, Adam Goodes, still searching for his best form. Collingwood’s Heath Shaw is second in the AFL for rebound 50s. O’Brien is 13th. Both won’t need to be asked to kick start the Pies’ running game.

No Swan against the Swans?

History says it helps Sydney … big time. Dane Swan has a good record against everyone. His numbers against the Swans are no different. He averages 27 disposals in his past eight games against them, thriving in the intense midfield battles. His influence in those contests makes his absence due to a club-imposed ban so significant. The ball magnet has polled two or more Brownlow votes in four of his past six outings going back to 2008. No Pie has given John Longmire and his predecessor more grief. Sydney, though, will simply turn their attention to Dayne Beams, who has had more disposals than any other player since round five and, more importantly, more uncontested possessions. The only man to have had more outside ball than Beams in the past month is Swan himself.

What mental edge does the streak give Collingwood, and do Sydney need to end it before the finals?

The Swans will say no on both counts. And former Collingwood premiership captain Tony Shaw agrees: ”Blokes like [Luke] Parker, [Alex] Johnson, [Craig] Bird, Jetta, they haven’t been brought up on this. Their personnel and the way they play has changed that much that I don’t think it makes a lot of difference,” he said.

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Bring it on: hungry Goodes keen for his slice of the Pies

SYDNEY might still be weeks away from kicking off their September campaign but Adam Goodes says the Swans will receive a sneak peek of what to expect during the finals in tomorrow night’s blockbuster clash with Collingwood.
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After disposing of Carlton last week, John Longmire’s men are bracing for a step up in intensity at ANZ Stadium against a side many believe are one of Sydney’s greatest dangers in this year’s premiership race.

Interest in the match is soaring with a crowd nearing 55,000, including more than 5000 of the black-and-white army making the journey north of the Murray, expected for one of the highlights of Sydney’s AFL calendar.

The clash with the powerhouse Magpies kick-starts a treacherous four-week stretch for the Swans in which the ladder leaders also take on flag favourites Hawthorn and reigning premiers Geelong in the run to the finals.

”This is why you play football, for the big games,” Goodes said. ”Every game now is an eight-point game, they say. If we want to be successful as a group, we’ve got to beat those teams and produce our best footy at the right time. There’s no better time than to start now.

”You’re going to have two teams that are going to be hungry, [apply] fantastic pressure on the ball-carrier and people up here are going to get a good insight into what finals footy potentially could look like.”

The dual Brownlow medallist agreed with suggestions the match would be played at a finals-like tempo. ”I think when two teams want to win so much and it’s a big stage, Saturday night, lights are on, big crowd, that’s what happens,” he said.

Goodes used to look forward to clashes with the Magpies early in his career but has sketchy memories of recent matches against the club he supported as a child. It’s not hard to see why. The Swans have not triumphed since round 13 of their premiership year in 2005.

Goodes, Jarrad McVeigh, Nick Malceski, Ryan O’Keefe and Lewis Roberts-Thomson are the only Swans remaining from that game.

The Sydney champion deflected talk of a supernatural curse or hoodoo but the club’s run of 10 consecutive losses to Collingwood is one of the longest ongoing streaks in the league. ”They’ve just played better on the night, they’re a fantastic team,” Goodes said. ”They have been and they’ve showed that over the last seven years.

”It’s another opportunity for us to play a team that is around about where we think we are. It’s a good opportunity to get a win over them.”

And there is good reason to believe the Swans can snap their losing run against the Pies tomorrow.

They pushed Collingwood to a kick last year but were derailed by dominant performances from Travis Cloke, who bagged six goals in a best-on-ground effort, and Dane Swan, who polled two Brownlow votes for his 33 possessions.

Dogged by speculation over his contractual impasse, Cloke has thus far not reproduced the form that earned him an All-Australian centre half-forward spot last year, although he still leads the competition this season for contested marks.

This time he must contend with arguably the competition’s best key defender, Ted Richards, and a back line that has conceded 22 fewer goals than any other team.

Swan won’t even lace his boots courtesy of his late-night escapades last weekend that earned him a club-imposed two-game suspension.

”That’s their issue, we don’t buy into another club’s issue,” Goodes said. ”I don’t think it will change too much on Saturday night. They’ve got a lot of fantastic players in the midfield that we’ve got to look out for.”

The Swans are also closing in on some enviable records. Victory tomorrow would be their 16th of the season and equal the most wins by the club in their 115-year VFL/AFL history. It would also take their winning streak this season to 10, leaving them just two wins shy of matching the club record of 12, achieved three times, in 1918, 1933 and 1935.

For omen punters, the Swans were premiers in 1918 and 1933 but beaten in the 1935 grand final.

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Darley bags gold at US sale

The performances of three of Darley’s gun shuttle stallions – Medaglia d’Oro, Street Cry and Bernardini – were the standouts at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga premier sale held near New York this week.
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A total of 107 yearlings changed hands over the two days; 55 failed to meet their reserves. The average of $US299,065 ($283,124) was a healthy return but down $US20,275 on the previous year’s trading.

The sales were important from an Australian viewpoint because Darley plays such an important role in southern hemisphere racing and breeding. Darley also had yearlings sell by its other high-profile stallions – Street Sense, Street Boss and Hard Spun.

The top two lots were by Darley sires: a grey filly by Medaglia d’Oro from Wait A While fetched $US1,575,000 to hall of fame trainer Todd Pletcher, while a colt by Street Cry from Serenading sold to Sheikh Mohammed’s representative John Ferguson for $1.2 million.

The only other seven-figure seller was a colt by Empire Maker which brought $US1.1 million, while southern highlands stud Waratah Thoroughbreds made the fourth highest price at the sale when Paul Fudge paid $US900,000 for a Dynaformer filly from Super Freaky, adding to his magnificent list of young fillies and mares.

Statistics from the Fasig-Tipton sale that will be of great interest to Australian breeders show that Medaglia d’Oro had five lots sell for an average of $US738,000; Street Cry had five sell at $US520,000 and Bernardini had six lots average $US350,000.

Of the other three Darley sires, Street Boss’s two yearlings averaged $US275,000, Street Sense had two average $US215,000, while the only Hard Spun to sell fetched $US145,000. Vinery’s More Than Ready also had a solid sale. His three yearlings to sell brought an average of $US136,666.

Galileo, the world’s most expensive stallion, had two fillies in the sale and they went for $US560,000 and $US450,000. Demi O’Byrne, Coolmore’s buyer, signed for just one lot, a War Front colt for $US675,000.

Sheikh Mohammed was the major player; John Ferguson signed for 10 lots for an outlay of $US3,325,000. All were by Darley’s sires.

Pletcher’s top-priced lot out of Wait A While was a special buy because the champion trainer won a dozen races with her, 10 at group level.

Fudge’s agent David Ingordo said the Dynaformer filly bought by Waratah Thoroughbreds was ”a superstar physical-wise who had the pedigree and as there aren’t many more Dynaformers, so she is special”. Ingordo also signed for Fudge’s buy in Japan in early July when they bought a Deep Impact filly for $1.8 million.

Form franked

The form of Black Caviar was franked when Moonlight Cloud, which got within a nose of the unbeaten Aussie mare in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, won a group 1 sprint in France last Sunday. Moonlight Cloud (by Invincible Spirit) won the Prix Maurice de Gheest (1300 metres), at Deauville by five lengths, taking her record to seven wins and two seconds from 11 starts. Trainer Freddy Head will continue to take on elite races with her. Head says Moonlight Cloud can continue her winning ways and he could back her up on Sunday in the group 1 Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

More than firing

It was a matter of time before Vinery’s shuttle sire More Than Ready notched a century of stakes winners worldwide; a pair of his two-year-old took his overall tally to 101. Maybe So was credited as his 100th winner when successful at Mountaineer Park in a 1200m listed race last Saturday and the following day Promise Me More won a listed 1500m race at Louisiana Downs. A wrap-up of More Than Ready’s stakes winners show he has had 54 in the northern hemisphere from 715 starters and 47 in the southern hemisphere from 603 starters. Nine of More Than Ready’s 11 group 1 winners worldwide have been recorded in Australia.

Enter the ‘Dragon

Pendragon was earmarked as a prospective staying sire when his retirement to Think Big Stud was announced and a city double at Kembla Grange on the final day of the racing season was a great fillip for the former Bart Cummings-trained galloper. It was fitting that Cummings prepared both winners – Dragonzone and Blazing Dragon – and the three-year-olds were able to stamp themselves as likely black-type contenders with their wins over 2400m and 2000m respectively. Dragonzone was able to notch a hat-trick of wins at the Newcastle (city) meeting on Wednesday when scoring over 2300m in a fine staying effort. Pendragon, the Gloaming Stakes winner and Champion Stakes runner-up, is a striking individual whose record stands at 11 individual winners from just 18 starters. For patient breeders, Pendragon’s $11,000 fee is not a bad way to go.

Dream foal

Connections of US horse of the year Rachel Alexandra have named her first foal, a colt by US horse of the year Curlin, Jess’s Dream in honour of late owner Jess Jackson, who raced both champions.

[email protected]南京夜网.au

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Cummings’s filly to come up roses

Pretty baby … three-year-old She’s A Fox with Anthony Cummings at his Kensington stables this week. The Fastnet Rock filly is in tomorrow’s Rosebud at Warwick Farm.ANTHONY CUMMINGS had seen enough of Foxwedge to know buying the first-season sire’s sister was the right way to go. Cummings pipped Foxwedge’s trainer John O’Shea when he forked out $600,000 for the filly at last year’s William Inglis Easter yearling sale.
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”I had a big opinion of Foxwedge at the time,” Cummings said this week. ”I’d seen him at the track throughout his Golden Slipper preparation and his level of performance was high.

”I had the view he would reach group 1 level and he did that.”

Foxwedge claimed his belated group 1 in March when beating Black Caviar’s punching bag Hay List to claim the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley.

The filly Cummings bought was named She’s A Fox and it was all falling into place for the horseman who prepares thoroughbreds alongside O’Shea at Randwick. ”I had some people interested in her at the time she went through the [sale] ring,” Cummings said. ”A few others wanted to get involved a few months later, so it has worked out well.”

The underbidder on She’s A Fox was O’Shea, whose Foxwedge was plucked out of the Inglis ring for $925,000 and earlier this year was syndicated for $10 million to stand at Newgate Farm stud.

”Foxwedge was as good a colt as you would see at a sale,” O’Shea said yesterday. ”She’s A Fox was a nice, neat filly.”

O’Shea has taken an interest in She’s A Fox and has monitored her development. ”She is going to be like him, get better every season,” O’Shea said. ”She is tough, sound and has a good turn of foot.”

Cummings thought ”she was better than he was for different reasons … I hope she proves that in time”.

He wasn’t about to divulge what those differences were.

”Foxwedge’s efforts on the track made this filly pretty cheap at the time,” Cummings said. ”In the greater scheme of things, paying the money we did wasn’t going to be ridiculous knowing where Foxwedge would end up. I couldn’t be happier.”

A week before Foxwedge won the William Reid, She’s A Fox went to the races for the first time and

scored in style under Hugh Bowman at Canterbury. Being a late bloomer, Cummings and his team thought a crack at the Golden Slipper was in order but She’s A Fox came up short because of problems in the lead-up and was off to the paddock.

Jockey Peter Robl was on board when She’s A Fox returned and routed rivals to win at Warwick Farm last month. Bowman, who was on holiday when She’s A Fox won first-up, goes back on board in tomorrow’s 1200-metre Rosebud at Warwick Farm.

”I had a lot to do with her early on and she always gave me a good feel,” Bowman said.

”I felt she was a genuine black-type filly. It all came a bit soon in the autumn but I trialled her before the first-up run and to me she is ready to take the next step.”

As Cummings said ”everything I expected has taken place … bar the one bad run when she pulled up injured. She had to go to the paddock. It did her the world of good. She is a really good athlete and has a beautiful nature. That really helps her find the best of her ability when she is asked.

”There has only been two times she has been asked that question and she has responded on those two days. The other time she had an issue.

”Hopefully she continues on in the same vein as she did first-up. She is a good filly.”

She’s A Fox will be opposed by just five other runners in the Rosebud, a lead-up to the $1 million Golden Rose.

While Cummings is setting She’s A Fox for feature races during the spring carnival, O’Shea has no grand plans for Gangster’s Choice, which returns in tomorrow’s The Bledisloe Cup at the Farm. ”He has had two good trials and as long as he gets a dry track he’ll be competitive, but he will improve with the run,” he said.

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ABC program throws little new light on crime lords

Jim Cassidy, an angel on horseback, has been known to pull the wrong rein at ground level, again emphasised by the ABC’s Inside Mail report on Four Corners on Monday.
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The program has been criticised by insiders, although the general viewer would deduce racing is the playground of drug runners and hit men. Still, little has changed. Oscar Wilde once said the racecourse was ”a sunny place for shady people”.

At times Cassidy, one of the saddle greats, has been known to associate with characters who ended up with form that placed them at Long Bay or Pentridge, not that he necessarily was aware of that at the time.

Most of what was reported on Monday was history but the Tony Mokbel connection kept the organised-crime aspect on the boil. ”I watched the program after the sensational billing with a mixture of anger and fragility that they could present 45 minutes of television which was just a rehash of scandals of the past,” said Peter McGauran, the former federal politician turned Australian Racing Board chief executive.

Perhaps it could be deduced McGauran would say that, but not Peter Mair. ”I am unrelenting in asking for the racing stewards across the nation to show some semblance of intelligent dedication to finding and penalising the misbehaviour routinely, day to day, bringing racing into disrepute across the nation,” Mair emailed. ”The Inside Mail program aired on ABC1 was contrived nonsense – it had nothing directly to do with the murder of Les Samba, it was mainly rehashed anecdotes about a likeable criminal, now in jail, predictably asking jockeys for advice about how to minimise the risk of his dirty socks being lost in the local laundering wash.

”Presumably, the police and AUSTRAC [Australia’s anti-money laundering unit] are now monitoring the casinos. Tonight’s Four Corners was all smoke and no fire – complete with cameo appearances from keystone members of the Victorian police force.”

Bad guys are drawn to the racing honeypot. Many preceded Mokbel and others will follow. Some like the punt, coupled with laundering. Most are looking for an edge, which obviously prompted the Inside Mail title.

Aussie Bob Trimbole and his racing connections got a mention. Trimbole was much appreciated by bookmakers. He lost heavily and paid, albeit with ill-gotten gains. Was he outlaying a cartload to get a handful of useable cash in return?

What is inside mail?

Being assured of the try and the strength of the tip helps, but few horses with a winning chance are sent out with the jockey asked to apply the brakes. In the good old days, much hinged on connections getting their price. If not, drastic action was taken.

Blood counts being right or bad and ”the horse doing well” are bandied around but a good thing livened up with a jigger (battery) in a lead-up track gallop has more traction.

Information like that once sent me into full gallop towards the nearest bookmaker, mostly to end up sizzled more than the poor horse. Horses get immune to it.

Being closest to the horse’s mouth, jockey information is eagerly sought. Great horsemen aren’t necessarily good judges …

”Jockeys especially will send you broke,” George Freeman, who had a certain notoriety, once exclaimed. ”They ring you up and say this will win and they haven’t even ridden it [in track] work.”

Perce Galea, also a big plunger of his era, would only bet for them if the jockey put his own money in. Thus if the jockey had $500 on the horse, Galea would bet him the odds to $500 plus his own outlay. Of course this is highly illegal and the jockey would serve serious time if caught.

However, the structure of racing has changed. Prizemoney and strike rates play a greater role than the punt. Not that deaduns are extinct. Having been reared on the doctrine of good losers die broke, I can usually sort out a couple, and fume in two-chance races when one, carrying mine, gets left at the start. Stewards’ inquiries, explanations and replays, though, can provide a reasonable doubt.

One aspect of Inside Mail that initiated a personal colic attack was stewards didn’t have the necessary interviewing technique to get the truth out of those questioned. I’d back John Schreck and Ray Murrihy for a better result with a jockey, trainer or licensed person because of their turf knowledge than any interrogator who didn’t have the assistance of waterboarding or electricity to a tender spot.

Schreck was responsible for the Fine Cotton finding and Jockey Tapes, the two beacons of racing investigation. Fortunately, he had the support of the Australian Jockey Club committee. Today’s system, more democratic, doesn’t give Murrihy the same back-up.

Murrihy once outed a jockey after a performance that entitled the hoop to get a ”would hold a burning hot stove” rating. During an interval at the appeal, I mentioned to him that he wasn’t going to win because turf lore went out and the law came in.

Racing doesn’t need more integrity bureaucrats or too much police assistance unless it’s a jockey tape (bugged) left in the steward’s letterbox. Good stewards are our best bet.

And Cassidy will be back on August 22 after a sabbatical, taken not to polish up his acting for a coming Underbelly episode, but to get the pump again working smoothly.

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Waller juggernaut on track for a relaxed but profitable Saturday at the office

No stopping him … Chris Waller has a small team entered at Warwick Farm.CHRIS WALLER’S thoroughbred stocks for a Saturday meeting in town normally reach double figures but the Kiwi has only six runners scheduled for Warwick Farm tomorrow.
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The two-time premiership-winning trainer’s team is headed by Kelinni, which is out to repay the faithful, having finished second as a $2.05 favourite last time around.

Kelinni will be joined by stablemate Shawnee Girl in the TAB Sportsbet, which is one of eight races that attracted a paltry total of 73 runners when acceptances were taken on Wednesday.

”A cross-over period,” Waller said shortly after winning another metropolitan-class race at Newcastle on Wednesday to go alongside the four he won on the opening day of the season at Canterbury last Saturday.

”A point where the winter horses are on the way out, or have been sent out, and the spring horses are on the way back. The spring horses may not be quite fit enough to run at this stage.

”Jade Marauder is a good example. She has had the one trial and is 90 per cent fit but she had 59 kilograms in the Rosebud at Warwick Farm and was up against the opposite sex.

”She will trial on Monday and head for the Princess series.”

Kelinni was beaten by stablemate Stout Hearted when resuming at Rosehill and then let favourite backers down when failing to beat Brave The Way, which has won subsequently.

”He is third-up and ready to run a strong 2200 metres,” Waller said.

”He may have been a little flat second-up but still finished second behind Brave The Way. He should be nearing his peak tomorrow.

”Shawnee Girl finished second to Brave The Way at Warwick Farm, so she won’t be far away.”

Waller has booked last season’s champion New Zealand apprentice Jason Collett for the ride on Thumbtacks in the Kari Aboriginal Resources. ”Thumbtacks is normally a Schofield horse, Glyn or Chad, but Chad had a ride for his boss, which didn’t accept, but we’d all ready booked Jason. It is Jason’s first ride back in Australia and punters should note he claims 1.5kg, not the 2kg published earlier in the week.”

Collett has already had a successful stint working under Waller and the trainer is confident the winning will continue. ”Jason is here to finish off his apprenticeship and establish his career,” Waller said.

”He is a good worker, very disciplined, and our team is going to help him out.”

What about Thumbtacks?

”The horse is in career-best form,” Waller replied while laughing. ”He improves five centimetres every time he goes to the races. He just keeps getting better and better, he is one of those types.”

In the opening event, Waller has ”the well-bred filly” Kristy Lee, another of the Ingham family’s horses.

”She ran really well first-up when fifth behind She’s A Fox, which is going to start favourite in the Rosebud,” Waller said. ”Kristy Lee hit the line, it was what we wanted to see and the step up to 1400m is perfect.”

Waller isn’t sure what to make of Ingham Magic in the Zoffany At Coolmore. The mare was a noticeable ring wobbler when resuming to beat two home at Rosehill on June 16. ”She needs to improve on Saturday,” Waller said. ”We’ve struggled to work her out, I’m not confident I’ve got her firing on all cylinders.”

Coup Ay Tee goes into The Bledisloe Cup Handicap having enjoyed a change of riding tactics when ridden back and running home to win at Rosehill on July 21.

”He did good job dropping back in distance last start,” Waller said.

”We’ve tried to keep everything the same to get a consistent pattern with his form. We intended to ride him in front of a couple last start but from the wide draw he got back to last. We’ll attempt to have a few behind us on Saturday from a good barrier draw.”

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Pride spoilt for speed as Title chases Missile

LOUISE NUTMAN has been there with Joe Pride since the beginning. The Hawkesbury vet owned the trainer’s first winner, Ireland, and his first city winner, Alanis, and has Title in Pride’s gun Warwick Farm stable.
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The six-year-old has already returned more than $500,000 in stakes and is part of Pride’s trio of sprinters, along with high-profile pair Rain Affair and Tiger Tees, which will target the spring.

”He is a very underestimated horse. He has won three black-type races, all at double-figure odds,” said Pride of Title, which resumes in the Missile Stakes on his home track tomorrow. ”I think he is one of those horses that has sneaked up on people because he didn’t race as a two- and three-year-old and he sort of ambushed them when he won his first black type.

”He doesn’t have the boom on him like a Rain Affair, but he is a very, very good galloper. There is him, Rain Affair and Tigers Tees for the spring for me. It is just a shame they are all sprinters because they will probably have to clash at some time.”

Title is a little more advanced in his preparation than the other pair and comes from modest beginning. He was reared by Nutman ”in her backyard”. Pride’s initial view of him was far from positive.

”I saw him as a two-year-old and he was an ugly, skinny thing. I thought he had no chance,” Pride said. ”Louise is a realist and knew that, but he is like the ugly duckling and has developed into a real athlete.

”It has taken a bit of patience to get him there, but he made it.”

Pride gave credit to Nutman for her part in Title’s development.

”She is a real horseperson. These days you hear people say they bred this horse and all they really did is pick out the cross on paper,” he said. ”Louise bred Title. She took the mare up to the stallion and then bought her home and looked after her for 11 months.

”She pulled Title out of his mum and looked after him until he came to me. That is breeding a horse.”

It meant there was more responsibility for Pride to get it right once Title showed he was above average. He has been able to get nine wins from 24 starts with Title, which has also been placed six times. He got him to a group 1 last prep when, after winning the Maurice McCarten Stakes, he finished fourth in the Galaxy behind Temple Of Boom.

Pride has Title ready to fire first-up tomorrow. ”He has been set for this,” he said. ”I know his first-up record isn’t that good [one from five] but the key to him is the blinkers and he will have them on [in the Missile].

”The only other time he had them on first-up was the Lightning and he won that. His record with them on is very good … half of his wins have come with them on.”

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

Adnocon put himself in feature dash, says Ryan

“He has freshened-up good, I wasn’t going to run him until the Show County in two weeks but he worked real good last Saturday and I started thinking about this race” … Gerald Ryan on his horse Adnocon.ROSEHILL horseman Gerald Ryan says prizemoney levels and conditions surrounding tomorrow’s Rosebud and other feature races need to be looked into. The $100,000 handicap attracted just six runners. ”You run in these races and you don’t get the BOBS bonus,” Ryan said. ”Australian Star was looking to win four in a row in town and I ran him in a benchmark race instead of the Winter Stakes. If he’d won the benchmark he would have picked up just over $68,000 with the BOBS, the Stakes he would have won $60,000. ”The Winter Stakes was also a listed race, if he’d run a place he would have got a weight penalty and he is only a restricted horse.” Ryan’s sprinter Adnocon will start in tomorrow’s Missile Stakes having returned from Queensland where the gelding picked up a win at Eagle Farm two runs ago. ”He has done well, looks well,” Ryan said. ”He has freshened-up good, I wasn’t going to run him until the Show County in two weeks but he worked real good last Saturday and I started thinking about this race. A small field but there still looks to be enough speed in it for him. He’ll get back and run home.”
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Home advantage

Local trainer Gary Portelli has last-start winners Mickelberg and Butt I’m Ready running at Warwick Farm tomorrow. Mickelberg is in the Zoffany At Coolmore, while Butt I’m Ready runs in the last. ”Butt I’m Ready has won his last two and I’m hoping he has got his confidence back,” Portelli said. ”He has been helped by the wet tracks, it might be his time of year but he has shown to me he is interested in racing again. Mickelberg has done well since she won. The small field and home track advantage are positives and she’ll appreciate a dry track as well.” Both will be ridden by Brenton Avdulla. ”He is riding well for us at the moment, we’re having a bit of luck.”

Going places

The Bart Cummings-trained Norzita steamed home to win at Rosehill three weeks ago and is out to go back-to-back in town. The filly runs in the opening event at Warwick Farm tomorrow. ”She is a really green filly who only has upside,” said James Cummings, who is Bart’s grandson and Randwick foreman for the master. ”If she doesn’t find herself in one of the better fillies’ races this preparation it will be the next.” The Cummings-trained Dragonzone made it back-to-back wins when outstaying rivals at Newcastle on Wednesday and Cummings jnr warns his best is yet to come.

Back in grade

Michael Hawkes says the stable’s leading spring cups contenders Maluckyday and Niwot are now housed at Flemington, but the Rosehill operation remains home to Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard. ”He is due to run in the San Domenico next weekend and Dwayne Dunn will ride,” said Hawkes, who trains alongside father John and brother Wayne, who runs the Flemington yard. At Warwick Farm tomorrow, Team Hawkes has Embark entered for the Zoffany At Coolmore after a seventh in the listed Winter Stakes, which followed a win at Rosehill. ”Her form had been ultra-consistent and we decided to give her a crack at a stakes race,” Hawkes said. ”At this stage she was a little out of her depth, so we decided to freshen her up and bring her back to 1200 metres. The small field suits and she gets in well with the [1.5kg] claim.”

Bledisloe bash

Anyone rocking up to Warwick Farm tomorrow in a Wallabies or All Blacks jumper gets in free. And the ATC’s racebook competition winner will take home a signed Wallabies jersey and be able to take three friends to the Bledisloe Cup clash at ANZ Stadium on August 18.

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