Shark Bites

Nanjing Night Net



A few of the main runners in the last race on the program at Moonee Valley today are improving gallopers potentially destined for bigger and better races. Livigno is one, and while Tokugawa and Bombalatomba may have been more flashy, this fellow has plenty of scope in a race like this. He returned some impressive figures first-up at Flemington and should really improve as he tackles stronger opposition. A strong winning chance in an open race.

SUGGESTED BET Livigno each-way.




David Hayes is enduring a lean streak in city grade races but Valedictorian may be capable of breaking the run of outs early in the spring, especially at this venue. The horse simply loves racing at Moonee Valley, and if his strong first-up run here behind Tokugawa is anything to go by, he is not far away from another win. The step up to 1500 metres suits, as does an inside barrier, and a claim for gifted apprentice Chad Schofield allows him to take a position near the speed with a weight advantage on his rivals. A legitimate each-way option at double-figure odds.

SUGGESTED BET Valedictorian each-way



No. 4, Albrecht

Peter Snowden’s improving colt Albrecht certainly has the talent to win this group 3 contest, but it will come down to his mental state. The colt was most impressive on debut at Canterbury when he sat off the speed on a wet track and ploughed home to victory, but he was very green and wayward next time out at that track when running into third place. Albrecht’s immaturity may hold him back, but winkers will help his focus and could spark a winning run.

SUGGESTED BET Albrecht each-way


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OTI group hopes to drink from spring cups

Manighar has been transformed from a seemingly one-paced stayer into a dazzling weight-for-age performer at middle distances.SIMON O’Donnell, Terry Henderson and the OTI horse-racing syndicate know exactly how Tantalus felt.
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The mythical Greek figure – said to have stolen ambrosia and nectar from the gods – was condemned to thirst for eternity in the underworld, standing in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree whose fruit was always just out of grasp and with the water always receding before he could take a drink.

The OTI group members know just how heartbreaking it is to have had the vessel they cherish most snatched away at the last second: their grey gelding, Bauer, trained by Luca Cumani, was beaten by a whisker by Viewed in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.

Tantalus was never able to seek redemption. O’Donnell and Henderson can – and the pair are hoping it will come this spring. They have one of the strongest hands of any ownership group as they look to harvest the riches on offer in Melbourne over the next 10 weeks.

Already preparing for his next campaign is their import, Manighar, the revelation of the autumn, a galloper Peter Moody transformed from a seemingly one-paced stayer into a dazzling weight-for-age performer at middle distances.

Manighar, when prepared by Luca Cumani at Newmarket, finished close up in the cups, although his autumn performances over distances between 1600 metres and 2000 metres would suggest he is now capable of a Cox Plate.

While Australian punters will look to Moonee Valley and Warwick Farm for clues this weekend, the OTI members will have their eyes firmly fixed on Europe, where several other candidates who could bring them cups glory will be having their final preparatory races in the north and south of England and in France. The quartet concerned are Quest For Peace and Ibicenco, both trained by Cumani, Gatewood, from the John Gosden yard, and the John Hammond-prepared Prairie Star.

Ibicenco has been off the track since the end of May, when he ran second to Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Opinion Poll in a group 3 contest at Sandown. While Cumani is doubtful whether he is forward enough or perhaps sharp enough to match it with likely favourite Saddler’s Rock, O’Donnell is looking forward to a decent showing from the former German-trained galloper in the group 2 Lonsdale Cup over 3300 metres.

”We are looking for a nice run to top him off there before he comes here for the cups. He’s been off the track for a while and has had a nice freshen up,” the broadcaster and former Australian cricketer said.

While the son of Shirocco is a genuine stayer, Quest For Peace looks to be a better cups chance at the moment. The latter holds a Goodwood entry in the 2800-metre listed March Stakes late tonight and this four-year-old son of Galileo could be a big player in the Melbourne spring. He and Ibicenco will likely end up with Moody after their spring campaigns.

The group’s attention will switch to France 24 hours later, to the Grand Prix de Deauville, where Gatewood, a Royal Ascot winner of a 2000-metre handicap earlier this year, is expected to step out in company with Prairie Star.

Gatewood made the step up to group company when he ran third to Quest For Peace in that Goodwood race. Gatewood will be sent to Sydney to be trained by Chris Waller when his spring campaign ends, while Prairie Star will be transferred into the care of Danny O’Brien at Flemington.

Punters should also keep a close eye on the Ebor Handicap over 2800 metres at York. It has been a good guide to the foreign raiders for the cups, with Cumani’s Purple Moon winning it in 2007 before running second to Efficient at Flemington. John Gosden’s Camborne could also be a contender if he can win in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

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Carey sets yardstick for contender

LAST season’s AJC Derby winner Ethiopia is still three weeks away from returning to the track, but his trainer Pat Carey is hopeful of unearthing another group 1 contender by that time.
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Carey today saddles the Starcraft colt Right To Roam to run in the listed $120,000 McKenzie Stakes (1200 metres) at Moonee Valley, where he will not be judged solely on whether he wins or loses.

”He gives me the impression that he might want it a bit further, so if he can be finishing off his race nicely and be on the heels of the placegetters that will give us some confidence to keep on the path to a good race,” Carey said yesterday.

”You have to have a high road and at the same time be realistic, so we’ve got him nominated for the Caulfield Guineas and it’s up to him whether he gets there or whether he falls short. This race will be a good step for him in better class and we’ll see how he goes.”

Right To Roam raced just four times at his opening campaign in the autumn, which ended with a luckless second at Sandown over 1400 metres in April.

His dam My Only Hope won a Blue Diamond Stakes Prelude but Carey said Right To Roam threw more to his stallion – the dual hemisphere group 1 winner Starcraft – in that he is a chestnut who is looking for ground. Despite showing some promise, Right To Roam was marked a $41 chance last night to win the stakes race.

As for Ethiopia, who caused a sensation at Randwick in April when he won the AJC Derby as a maiden in his fourth start, Carey said he was taking a ”careful approach” to the horse’s spring program as he believed he would be at his peak as a stayer in another 12 months.

”We aren’t overloading ourselves with expectation this spring. He wasn’t nominated for the Caulfield Cup but we will put in a nomination for the Melbourne Cup simply to keep options open, but we haven’t got a heavy program outlined for him this preparation,” Carey said.

”At this stage we’ve pencilled in a first-up run in the Dato Tan [Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley on September 15] and we’ll take it from there, but we won’t be rushing into races for the sake of it as we’ve got one eye on the autumn and one eye on next spring.”

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Svelte figures but fit for a fall?

Try some new angles: Take Shape Health and Fitness owner Tracey Wright with gym manager Tori Daile.WITHIN 500 metres of Craig Harper’s bayside house there are, he says, six gyms or personal training studios. Mr Harper, a trainer, who has owned a studio in Brighton for 22 years, says the personal training industry has ”gone through the roof. It’s out of control.”
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Melbourne is in the throes of a fitness craze. Personal trainers are a growth industry and new fitness outlets are opening in empty warehouses and shops all over town.

A Fitness Australia analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics labour figures shows that the number of registered exercise professionals nationally has leapt by 13,000 in the six years to 2011, to 30,000.

And an industry analysis by market research company IBISWorld found there were 7281 fitness-related businesses in Australia in 2011-12, compared with 5617 in 2002-03. The category includes gyms but also clothing and equipment outlets and for-profit sporting clubs.

The IBISWorld report predicts that increased disposable income, leisure time and health awareness will boost the figure to more than 8600 in 2016-17.

Mr Harper said the industry had been ”on an upward spiral for a long time”, fuelled by consumer demand, but the growth was not sustainable.

It was getting to the point of there being ”too many to survive and thrive”. He thought the big chains with ”less intimacy and less customer service, less connection and less personalised attention” would struggle.

Indeed, in June there was an industry health scare when the giant Fitness First chain was revealed to be heavily in debt and 333 Capital, the advisory arm of insolvency firm KordaMentha, was appointed to sell 24 of its 97 Australian gyms.

Heidelberg trainer Darren McGinty said fitness schools – more than 130, according to Fitness Australia – were ”pumping out” personal trainers from short courses and promoting gyms as a lucrative career. But while the graduates were willing to ”have a crack”, many knew little about running a business.

His own ”f.i.t. (fit in time)” studio has been in Heidelberg’s main street, Burgundy Street, for six years, but two rivals from big chains have opened in the street in the past six months.

Both offer 24-hour opening, fewer staff, lower fees and a shiny image.

”They’re 150 metres apart with exactly the same offering. How can that be sustainable in that area?” asked Mr McGinty, who says he offers a more long-term service of training, nutrition and lifestyle advice. ”It’s like a few years ago, every 40 feet in a shopping strip there was a juice bar … it’s the fad du jour.”

But Tracey Wright, owner of the independent Take Shape Health and Fitness, said there was room for new players.

Her business opened in Alphington on June 1 and already has attracted 150 clients.

It is four doors down from another new gym, the 24-hour Anytime Fitness, and across the road from a Pilates studio.

Ms Wright said while Anytime was more conventional with weights and cardio, hers emphasised group fitness and personal training.

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Kerr’s papers reveal man behind Whitlam sacking

SIR John Kerr identified the former chief justice, Sir Anthony Mason, as the ”third man” who secretly advised and ”fortified” him in the lead-up to the most divisive event in Australian political history, his decision to sack the Whitlam government in 1975.
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The former governor-general’s private records insist Sir Anthony ”played the most significant part in my thinking” and even reassured him that he had made the right call two days before he dismissed the Whitlam government on November 11.

They also assert that Sir Anthony, at the time a High Court judge, was the author of a statement that Kerr ”incorporated in my public statement” justifying his actions.

The record was uncovered by Whitlam biographer Jenny Hocking, whose book Gough Whitlam: His Time will be published next month. Hocking says Kerr’s records suggest that ”Mason was not merely the third man: he was, in many ways, the man”.

Kerr’s records make it clear that he wanted the extent of Sir Anthony’s role to surface after his own death but while Sir Anthony was still alive, with the aim of deflecting his responsibility for the deception and dismissal of Mr Whitlam.

”In the light of the enormous and vicious criticism of myself, I should have dearly liked to have had the public evidence during my lifetime of what Mason had said and done during October-November 1975 … [but] he would be happier … if history never came to know of his role,” he wrote.

”I shall keep the whole matter alive in my mind till the end, and if this document is found among my archives, it will mean that my final decision is that truth must prevail, and, as he played a most significant part in my thinking at that critical time, and as he will be in the shades of history when this is read, his role should be known.”

The account adds weight to the perception of Kerr as a weak man who wanted and needed to feel his actions had the approval of others. Aside from being portrayed as a constant confidant, the record depicts Sir Anthony ”as providing a necessary bridge between Kerr and chief justice Sir Garfield Barwick”, the book asserts.

Sir Anthony’s role in the dismissal has been the subject of speculation for decades, after Kerr noted in his memoir that one person other than Barwick, ”sustained me in my own thinking as to the imperative within which I had to act”.

While columnist Gerard Henderson has reported that Kerr told him he consulted directly with Sir Anthony prior to the dismissal, the detail laid out in Kerr’s private papers on their ”running conversation” staggered Hocking, who researched the biography for the last seven years. ”This was the discovery that I was most excited and, to an extent, shocked by,” she told The Saturday Age. ”I was just astonished by what I read.”

Sir Anthony has consistently refused to be drawn on his role. However, he has written his own detailed account of what took place and has agreed for it to be published exclusively in The Age on Monday.

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