Category: 南京夜生活

Lions make late bid for popular Pie

CHRIS Dawes is expected to settle on his new football home by tonight, with the Brisbane Lions making a late pitch for the Collingwood forward.
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Dawes, on holiday in the US with his girlfriend, met the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne last week and both clubs expect him to make his mind up before or over the weekend.

The 24-year-old, contracted for two more years at Collingwood, appears most likely to play for either the Demons or Bulldogs next year. Both clubs have similar first-round picks – Melbourne pick 20 and the Bulldogs No. 21 – to work into a potential trade.

It had been understood that Dawes’ preference was to join Carlton, but the Blues insist he is not on their radar, despite his abilities being well known to new Blues coach Mick Malthouse.

The Lions consider themselves long shots to persuade Dawes to move interstate, given he is studying for a law degree, with his girlfriend well positioned in her accounting career.

Dawes decided to explore his options beyond Collingwood last week, feeling the club’s decision to sign West Coast forward Quinten Lynch as an unrestricted free agent threw his role for 2013 into doubt.

Melbourne coach Mark Neeld is still hopeful his relationship with Dawes can convince him to join the Demons. Neeld coached Dawes in his first four years when he was an assistant at Collingwood and the Demons have also used one of his former premiership teammates – assistant coach Leigh Brown – in pitches to sell their vision to Dawes.

Melbourne has spoken to Dawes several times. ”We used [our relationship with Dawes] for everything it was worth. Leigh Brown and I went around to see ‘Dawesy’ straight away,” Neeld said.

He said having someone at the club with a strong relationship with a recruiting target had worked for the Demons last year when they lured another key forward, former Brisbane Lion Mitch Clark. Neeld said the club would take both Dawes and Scott Gumbleton if it could.

Meanwhile, Geelong remained open to offers for talented forward Mitch Brown, who is contracted. Brown has drawn the interest of Fremantle, as well as a small handful of other clubs, and may move on after four years with the Cats.

Geelong’s interest in Melbourne defender Jared Rivers hinges on it being able to create a spot on the list for him, given it has brought in Gold Coast onballer Josh Caddy, is hoping to acquire Hamish McIntosh from North Melbourne and has several rookies who must be upgraded, delisted or lost as free agents.

Geelong might be able to accommodate Rivers, who would require around $350,000 per annum, under its salary cap but the list spot is the more pressing issue and has held up the prospect of him leaving the Demons. The Cats’ success in acquiring Caddy means the club is no longer pursuing Melbourne onballer Jordan Gysberts.

Brent Moloney’s move to Brisbane is expected to cancel out Melbourne’s acquisition of Shannon Byrnes in regards to compensation, meaning the Demons will only receive an extra draft pick should Rivers walk to another club, as it expects he will.

With MATT MURNANE

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Border alert: Inglis vows to keep Maroons in the family

Greg InglisAUSTRALIA centre Greg Inglis plans to future-proof his children against changes to rugby league eligibility rules by insisting they be born in Queensland.
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As the wrangling over who should play for which state and country reaches its climax among officials, Inglis suggested the criticism he has received for choosing the Maroons despite being raised in northern NSW had made him determined that his future offspring be Queenslanders.

”I’m pretty sure they’ll be Queenslanders … we’ll go back over the border,” Inglis said before tomorrow’s trans-Tasman Test at Dairy Farmers Stadium. ”But we’re talking, probably, another few years yet. It’s their choice in the end, whatever they want to do.”

Inglis said he had sympathy for Australian teammate James Tamou, who switched to Australia this year after representing the Maori and was so stunned by the backlash he stayed in his Auckland hotel room before his green-and-gold debut in April.

”I was copping a lot of criticism over it,” said Inglis, who qualified for Queensland due to Melbourne’s feeder team being Brisbane Norths. ”When it was first asked, ‘Who do you want to play for?’ … what it says in the rule book, that’s just the way it is.

”They pledge their eligibility. If people don’t like it, they’ve just got to live with it. They’re putting on the green and gold and that’s it.”

The Herald this week reported that the Rugby League International Federation wanted Australia to end the current situation where the lure of Origin was helping the green and golds recruit players who would otherwise represent other countries. But the ARLC has no plans to present any proposals when the boards of the two countries meet tomorrow and the only scheme under serious consideration is stopping Junior Kiwis from playing Origin. There are fears this would simply dissuade players from making themselves available for the Junior Kiwis and make the Junior Kangaroos stronger by virtue of the same process that has led Tamou and Josh Papalii to opt for Australia at senior level this year.

The ARLC does not believe it owes the RLIF or New Zealand any undertakings on changes to Origin selection criteria as it is a domestic issue. This could lead to Origin players being chosen by other countries, as Anthony Minichiello was last year when he represented both NSW and Italy without changing his country of election.

The Australians had yesterday off while the Kiwis followed a morning media session with school visits.

Prop Adam Blair, whose role as the competition’s highest-paid forward has proved the catalyst of the upheavals at Wests Tigers over the past 12 months – including the axing of coach Tim Sheens – admitted he did not deserve to be in the Kiwi squad.

The recruitment of Blair, who replaced the injured Jeremy Smith in the Test squad, prompted the departure of Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita last year and others such as Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington moving on recently was reported to have turned players against Sheens.

”With how I played this year and what I did for the club, I didn’t think I deserved to be in front of the boys who played finals footy,” Blair said. ”I got caught up in that kind of stuff where it took me away from what I do best for myself and how I play footy. Once I got that sorted, which was the back end of the season which was really too late, I tried to do the things I used to do but it wasn’t what the Tigers needed of me. When I’m defending well, I’m playing well. That’s one of the things I went away from this year, being a strong defender. That’s one of the things I need to work on.”

Blair said he was relaxed about Wests Tigers not having appointed a coach for 2012. ”My future’s secure at the Tigers, I can’t worry about anything else,” he said.

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No denying ITM Cup’s place as a nursery for next generation of All Blacks

There was a sight to cheer the souls of NSW fans and content new coach Michael Cheika on Tuesday night: a Waratahs winger, Peter Betham, frightening New Zealand defenders with his pace, power and finishing ability, grabbing two tries against the Tana Umaga-coached Counties Manukau. Playing for the Tasman province in this year’s ITM Cup, Betham has lit up New Zealand’s provincial competition. In many judges’ form XV of the tournament, he’d command one of the wing spots: no small feat, given there are 14 teams competing across two divisions.
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Followers of the game in Australia need no reminding that the third-tier debate is an inflamer of passions. There is no attempt to sail in those complex and choppy waters here – navigating the issues relating to scheduling and structure is for brighter minds – but from observing the New Zealand competition, some reasonable assumptions can be made on the impact it has.

It’s helpful in the first instance to dispel the silver-bullet theory. Even if Australia had a third-tier competition running now, the idea that the Wallabies coach could dip into that tournament and find new talent, who hadn’t been seen at Super level, to replace injured Test players is stretching credibility. The gap is too wide. ”We have used players from there for end-of-year tours before and found what we were seeing at ITM Cup wasn’t replicated at our level because the step is just too great,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen told a New Zealand radio station last month.

And there have been rumblings of Kiwi discontent this year. The condensed nature of the competition – essentially squeezed because of the expansion of Super Rugby that’s given Australia two extra sides since 2006 – had led some coaches to lament that their job had ceased to involve much coaching. Recovery and preparation for the next game had eaten up their time. One went even went further, saying, ”The ITM Cup is not conducive to player development.” Certainly it has led to some poor contests, with Canterbury’s 84-0 drubbing of Southland a reflection of these issues. Crowd figures, and television ratings, are also under pressure. Harsh economic realities hover in the background. No doubt these worries occupy the minds of Australian administrators, and correctly so. But there are benefits to coaches, fans and players.

The Super franchises sift through the weekly performances, watching from the stands and crunching the statistics to form an informed view of the available cattle. For supporters, there is the simple but engaging joy of ”spotting” a youngster and tracking his progress through the ranks. And for the players, they get to build, or rebuild, their games in an environment that provides pressure but not the unforgiving glare of Super Rugby.

These are but four names who prove its worth: Betham, Charles Piutau, (Auckland), Ardie Savea (Wellington) and Gareth Anscombe (Auckland) – all of who have grown in this ITM Cup.

Betham will return to Sydney confidence brimming after an integral role in a side that loves to counter-attack. For those unfamiliar with his qualities, he has size, evasiveness, speed and an offload. He has been expert at hovering at his halfback’s shoulder looking for opportunities, but has also been used from first phase to crunch the ball up in the No.10 channel.

There is always a risk in promoting young players but enough has been seen of Piutau to predict he will be an All Black. He’s a big kid, very strong in contact, runs straight lines and has a huge left boot – pretty much the modern template for a player in the back three.

Savea, the younger brother of All Black Julian could be anything. Although still only 18 and 97 kilograms, he has been playing at openside and No.8 for Wellington, using his remarkable pace and power as a ball carrier and menace at the breakdown. If he continues his development at this rate, hits the 105kg mark and avoids the usual pitfalls, he might not only be an All Black, but a very good one.

But it is the case of Anscombe that is perhaps the most valuable in assessing the ITM Cup’s value. The young No.10 had a difficult season at the dreadful Blues last year, and suffered the jolt of being surprisingly delisted by the franchise during his ITM Cup campaign with Auckland. There were noises that his availability piqued the interest of Australian franchises. But with his good form for Auckland – combined with his pedigree at age-group level he was picked up by the Chiefs and now will continue his journey at Super level under the wing of former All Blacks guru Wayne Smith. Such are the benefits of a shop window.

When the Wallabies take on the All Blacks in Brisbane in a week, there will be similarities between the players: all are exposed to excellent coaches – at national and Super level. But there are differences, too. And if the All Blacks keep on winning, the development path provided by a national provincial competition will continue to be seen as an important one.

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McGregor crash-tackles stereotypes as Sydney gears up for Bingham Cup

On the up … Lachlan McGregor, lifted, with his teammates from the Sydney Convicts at the Opera House. Their bid for Sydney to host the 2014 Bingham Cup was backed by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.COMING out almost cost Lachlan McGregor his love of rugby.
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The Sydney Convicts outside-centre played every year while attending Scots College, and spent a season with Woollahra Colleagues when he studied at University of Sydney but quit just before he told his friends and family that he was gay.

”I didn’t know of anyone else in the team that was gay, I felt quite different,” McGregor said. ”It wasn’t like I thought I would be paid out or persecuted if I came out, but I just felt like a lot of the guys in that team would be uncomfortable with it, so I kept quiet.”

Now 23 years old and comfortable with his sexuality, McGregor admits his own prejudices played a part in the problem. ”I guess I bought into the stereotypes that gays can’t play sport or can’t play rugby well, so I declared to myself that I wouldn’t play again because gay people can’t play,” he said.

Even when he found the Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby club, McGregor thought playing in a team of gay men would be too ”confronting”.

It took the encouragement of friends and family, and self-acceptance for the commerce student to change his mind.

”It was just ignorance and a lack of education that made me think that way,” he said. ”Once you meet the people that play in that team, the worry and the stereotypes fade away … It’s been great to meet some new people and realise you can do whatever you want, no matter what sexuality you are, no matter who you are.”

McGregor credits the Convicts with turning him from an average player to a member of a grand final-winning, third-division suburban team.

This year he went on his first rugby tour with the world champion Convicts side and says he would not miss the chance to play in the next gay rugby world cup, in Sydney in 2014.

”It will be awesome if the one this year [in Manchester] is anything to go by,” he said.

”It felt really great to be a part of a gay rugby tournament where you know that everyone’s not necessarily there because they’re gay but because they love rugby first.”

The Bingham Cup will attract to Sydney up to 1500 players across about 40 teams in August 2014.

The Colleagues and Eastern Suburbs will host games at their Rose Bay ovals, with the help of the Melbourne Chargers and Brisbane Hustlers rugby clubs, in their own cities.

The Convicts’ bid for Sydney to host the tournament was backed by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the federal member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, Australian Rugby Union board member John Eales, Wallabies breakaway David Pocock, NSW Rugby Union chairman Nick Farr-Jones, Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore and the NSW Governor Marie Bashir.

”In many respects the Bingham Cup is more than just a rugby tournament,” Eales said. ”It is an important demonstration of mutual respect and diversity which has always been part of the rugby community. Regardless of the football code you would like to play, sexuality should be irrelevant consideration. Unfortunately this is not a reality and there is still work to be done to eliminate negative stereotypes and homophobia in sport.”

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Style of game will not be changing

THE two things that surprised me most about the opening game were our performance and the reaction to the result.
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We all realise this year will be a challenging one because we have changed both the squad and the playing style quite dramatically. It would be unrealistic to expect the team to be executing everything perfectly in such a short space of time.

Our performance was still disappointing, however, because it did not reflect the progress the team has made in the past couple of months and so, from that point of view, our first step was a faltering one.

There were a couple of specific areas where we failed to keep our structure and as a result we were punished and not able to control the game in the manner we wanted.

There were also some positive outcomes on the night, including the goal we scored, which came directly from us playing the style of game we had been working on. The one thing we don’t do as a coaching staff is analyse the result.

Too often coaches fall into the trap of measuring the performance against the backdrop of the result. A win means we played well while a loss must have resulted from a poor performance. That is not always the case and my mood would not have been any better had we won the game but played in the same manner.

Our players know they will always be measured against the specific benchmarks we have as a club and that sometimes this will not be reflected on the scoreboard.

I was asked this week how far I would go in implementing this game style and particularly the perceived risk of always playing out from the back. As a coach I have yet to find that limit and still believe we have not yet scratched the surface of the possibilities possession football can create. Our goal in the first game started from our goalkeeper playing the ball out.

The second thing that surprised me was the reaction to our result and the others from the weekend’s games.

Favourites have been framed, strugglers identified, players elevated to star status and others relegated to the dustbin. Ninety minutes of football can certainly change the landscape very quickly. The challenge for each club and coach is to stay the course regardless, because reactions in the heat of the moment can lead to consequences that are far more damaging than if things were allowed to pan out.

We are playing against the champions this week and our challenge will be to try to impose our game on an opposition that also likes to dominate possession. To do this we will need to be more disciplined and have more belief in our structure than in the first game. The players now realise we will not compromise our style of play and, regardless of the result or the personnel representing us, our structure will remain a constant.

I am looking forward to the trip back to Brisbane. It will provide us with a strong football challenge. The Roar are the champions and still the benchmark in the competition, so our structure and discipline will be really tested. But watching the players train I can tell that each day they are gaining more belief in what we do.

They also know that our measure each week will be the performance and not the result so there will be clear indicators of how we are progressing.

I have always measured the success of my day when the sun is setting and in A-League terms we have just seen the sunrise, so there is plenty of the day left.

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Duty calls: Sharpe puts retirement on hold again

NATHAN SHARPE has answered the mayday call from Australian rugby and will play on through the four-Test tour of Europe next month.
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Sharpe said he wanted to help the Wallabies through the toughest international season he could remember and would delay his retirement for a second time and finish his 111-Test career playing against Wales – for the 14th time – in Cardiff on December 2.

“Playing for Australia is something I have never taken for granted. As such, to be asked to continue beyond the deadline I had set for myself was both flattering but also a request that was very difficult to turn down,” Sharpe said.

“I have never known a season where the Wallabies have faced such adversity as we have this year. To show the spirit and character that the team has is a mark of how the group has grown, both individually and collectively, and I have enjoyed playing my part in that.

“The opportunity to lead the Wallabies again on what will be a challenging but exciting tour was too tempting. It is not easy to say no to your country.”

Sharpe, 34, had planned to retire at the end of the Super Rugby season but agreed to play through the Rugby Championship and final Bledisloe Cup match after a career-best performance in the three-Test series against Wales in June.

The Wallabies’ second-row stocks were ravaged by Dan Vickerman’s forced retirement and a long-term injury to first-choice captain James Horwill.

Deans has spent the past 12 months cultivating the likes of Sitaleki Timani, Dave Dennis and Kane Douglas and Reds second-rower Rob Simmons is a regular member of the match 22. But without Sharpe the Wallabies lack the hard-won composure the Queenslander brings to the table.

His decision to play on past the Brisbane Test against the All Blacks next weekend also helps fill a leadership vacuum in the squad left following injuries to back-up captain David Pocock and his replacement Will Genia.

“You only have to look at what he has achieved with the group since he took over as captain,” Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.

”His influence has been immense, he is arguably playing the best rugby of his career but, most importantly, he is enjoying the experience.

“Sharpey’s presence and leadership has been a constant throughout the year – one of the few aspects of continuity that we’ve had through a season that is probably without precedent in terms of disruption.

“For that reason, it was straightforward asking him to continue … While he has a range of other commitments in his life, and touring means putting them on hold again, I had no doubt that he would be keen to continue.”

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Heart wary of the danger in depleted Phoenix

MELBOURNE Heart is well aware of the potential banana skin that a ravaged Wellington Phoenix side, which will field as many as four debutants, represents when it lines up at AAMI Park on Sunday.
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Wellington, impressive 2-0 winners over Sydney in round one, has been gutted by the demands of the New Zealand national team, which has taken six of its players, and the Solomon Islands side, which has called up Benjamin Totori.

”We have got to approach the game as if it’s a normal match,” said Heart’s former English Premier League midfielder Richie Garcia.

”The players who come into the side will be doubly eager to impress and hold their position. They looked like a very hard-working and physical team against Sydney and it will be a difficult task for us.”

For several seasons, Paul Ifill, who played at Millwall, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace. has been the Phoenix’s go-to man and Garcia, who played at West Ham and Hull City in England, knows all about him.

”We have come up against each other in the past,” he said. ”He has done well wherever he has gone, he has always scored goals, so he will be a very dangerous player we have to watch in this match.”

For Garcia, the slower rhythms of the A-League are something he is still getting used to. The wait for the season to start seemed interminable and, even now, he is restless because he has to wait nine days to play his second game. It’s certainly another world to the hurly-burly of the Premiership, and the even busier Championship, where league and cup games come thick and fast.

”It’s odd for me. Normally we have played three games [in the first week of a new season] by now and you are tired and can’t move,” said Garcia. ”I am used to being a lot busier, but as I have been told, when all the travelling starts I will probably be grateful for the recovery time. But the travel won’t be a problem. I am going to have to get used to it but when I have been on international duty I have played in Australia then flown back to England and played the next day.”

Garcia said he was surprised by the intensity and speed of Friday’s season-opener against Victory.

”It was quite a fast-paced game, quite intense. I was expecting it to be a bit slower, so that was good for me that it was at high intensity,” he said. ”Maybe there were a few more turnovers, but that’s what you expect when the game is played at a good pace. Players always want to play in front of big crowds and the atmosphere was great, and the crowd.”

Although he struggled with injuries in his final seasons in England, Garcia, who played for the Socceroos in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, said his body was at a good stage and he was enjoying the deeper midfield role he had been asked to occupy by John Aloisi.

”I am growing into my new role and enjoying it, but I want to chip in with a few goals as well, I don’t want to lose that from my game,” he said.

”Defending is something new for me, but I made my debut at centre midfield for West Ham and played for the state team in WA as a kid in that position, so I know it.

”When you get off to a winning start it always brings confidence. It’s just a matter of going back to back this weekend.”

WEEK TWO(All games on Fox Sports) ADELAIDE UTD v WANDERERSHindmarsh Stadium, 7.30pm The Reds defied expectations with a 2-0 away win in round one against a fancied Newcastle. Not bad considering they had only just arrived back in the country after an Asian Champions League quarter-final a few days earlier. Dario Vidosic netted the first that day, but he is an absentee tonight through injury. WSW ground out a scoreless draw in its first game against Central Coast and will be better for the run. Japanese star Shinji Ono could start this time, but even his presence might not be enough to stop the Adelaide gaining another three points.

SYDNEY FC v JETSSydney Football Stadium, tomorrow, 5.30pm The game all Sydney has been waiting for since it was announced that Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero was coming to the harbour city. Del Piero created a good impression in his first appearance in last week’s season opener in Wellington, but his teammates didn’t as Sydney crashed to a 2-0 loss. Emile Heskey is the other big name on show in this game, the former English Premiership striker having made his debut for his new team in the surprise loss to Adelaide. Promoters will be hoping both get on the scoresheet. They might, and this game could end in a draw.

ROAR v VICTORYSuncorp Stadium, tomorrow, 7.45pm Another fixture rife with possibility as the FFA’s policy of setting up tantalising matches in the early rounds of the season delivers another potential delight. Ange Postecoglou, Victory’s new coach, returns to the scene of his triumphs having led Brisbane to the past two A-League titles, to face a team now helmed by his former assistant, Rado Vidosic. Victory could struggle without Thompson, Milligan and Rojas, and it would be no surprise to see the Roar get back to its winning ways.

HEART v PHOENIXAAMI Park, Sunday, 3pm Heart has been the best backed team this round, and it is hardly surprising that John Aloisi’s side should be odds-on to record its second win in a row with the Phoenix missing seven first-team squad members because of Oceania World Cup qualifiers over the next week. Heart will be cock-a-hoop after its derby win and can go on with the job here.

MARINERS v GLORYBluetongue Stadium, Sunday, 5pm A game that might offer some measure of revenge for the Mariners, who were defeated at this venue by Perth Glory in the preliminary final last season. The Mariners got off to a stuttering start with a scoreless draw against Wanderers, while Perth got its own form of revenge by defeating reigning premier Brisbane last weekend. Perth these days is tough, organised and competitive home or away but so are the Mariners, who are always difficult to beat. This game could end up with the spoils shared.

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NZ hoop set for big time

JAMES McDonald has never won a Guineas in Australia or at home in New Zealand, but at the top of his wishlist is the Caulfield Guineas. He hardly expects to win tomorrow’s race, but he can’t wait for the opportunity.
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McDonald takes the Caulfield Guineas ride on Ashokan for John O’Shea, who is in the running for a classic placing if he can recapture his best Sydney form. McDonald could hope for nothing better.

”I have always wanted to have a ride in the Caulfield Guineas. It is one of those races that captures my imagination,” he said.

”It is a stallion-making race and these are races that everyone talks about, and I wanted to be involved in them and win them.

”When I made the decision to come [to Australia] it was these days with the big atmosphere which made it an easy one.”

McDonald first came to Australia to ride in the big time last year and freely admits he was a bit green.

”There is a lot more pressure over here,” he said. ”There is [pressure] at home as well, but it is different here. It is constant.

”I’m a lot more street-wise about it now than I was 12 months ago. I had that month in Hong Kong, which is really competitive, and I learned a lot from John Moore. It is just about being a bit tougher.”

McDonald is an undoubted talent but the difference from his ride in last year’s Golden Rose on Foxwedge and his winning effort on It’s A Dundeel in the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick was marked.

”I think it is about having confidence to make a move and not second guessing yourself,” he said. ”I was very confident going into the race. I thought I was on the right horse.

”It will be a bit different on the weekend because we are taking on a champion in Pierro. He is just a superstar.

”Ashokan is a horse that is going to put himself in the race and his runs going into this have been very good without winning.

”I think the mile will really suit him.”

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Gate may be open for Caulfield Cup

ODDS AND SODS
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Imported galloper Gatewood is well supported to win on his Australian debut in tomorrow’s Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield, despite the concession yesterday from his trainer John Gosden that the horse faced a tough task. ”It’s a learning curve travelling a horse that far and we’re happy with the profile we have so far but let’s be clear about it – it’s a big ask,” Gosden told Sky Sports Radio. ”He settled in great, he travelled well. The most important thing is he ate and he drank on the way. The great thing about horses, unlike us, they don’t drink alcohol on a plane, he didn’t dehydrate too much.” Gatewood has been backed from $5 to $4 for tomorrow’s race over the Caulfield Cup distance and Gosden said that if he could earn a run in the $2.5 million handicap the following week, he could pull off an upset. ”I think he’ll suit the racing [in Australia] well,” Gosden said. ”He’s a progressive horse.”Frankel closes in on memorable farewell

The countdown is on for the farewell run for the world’s leading thoroughbred, Frankel, who this week galloped strongly at Newmarket in preparation for next Saturday’s group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Frankel’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, said the son of Galileo did everything required of him by trainer Sir Henry Cecil. ”Everything went very well, it was a good bit of work and we were all very happy. It’s so far, so good,” Grimthorpe said. Frankel will perform in front of royalty in the Champion Stakes with the Queen to travel to the Berkshire course to see the superstar in action for the final time.

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The next best

Pipe-opener: Sydney colt Epaulette wins the Caulfield Guineas Prelude a fortnight ago. Now for the main game tomorrow.HISTORY often plays a big part when assessing the premier races on a day such as tomorrow’s Caulfield Guineas meeting. Trends can appear in certain eras and that is certainly the case with the feature sprint race, the Schillaci Stakes.
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Over the past nine years, eight three-year-old fillies have run in the Schillaci with all but one of those ultimately clinching a top-four finish. That filly was Jade Diva, who finished fifth in 2004. The others were multiple black-type fillies: Karuta Queen (2nd behind Black Caviar in 2011); Paprika (4th in 2009); Royal Asscher (2nd in 2007); Nediym’s Glow (3rd in 2006); Danerich (2nd in 2005); Alizes (2nd in 2004) and Halibery (1st in 2003).

OK, there is only one winner among that group, but it appears you can bank on a quality sprinting filly getting into the finish. In tomorrow’s race, there is one three-year-old among the 10 runners, she is a female, she is already a stakes winner and, above all, she is likely to offer plenty of value, as she is at $26 in early markets. MALASUN (Race 4, No. 10) might fly under the radar a little in this race after what appeared to be a disappointing first-up flop at Moonee Valley. But she carried the weight penalty (1.5 kilograms) and she led that day at a sizzling tempo, allowing Love For Ransom and Stella Lante – who were at the tail of the field turning for home – to fly home late and swamp her.

Also, that run was at 1200 metres and her first run since immaturity forced trainer Mick Price to send her to the paddock when in the running for Blue Diamond Stakes favouritism.

She is back to the pure sprinter’s course tomorrow and even though she is drawn a touch awkwardly in barrier nine, she has just 51 kilograms and so can jump and run and keeping running.

BETTING SUGGESTION

Have something each-way on Malasun and also rove her around numbers 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 and 9 in trifectas.

THE GET OUT

A MARE’S sprint race with a capacity field at the end of a long day’s racing can present its problems for punters looking to carry on a winning day or recoup losses. But tomorrow features the return of a mare that might be something special and I think we can safely bank on SHEILA’S STAR (Race 9, No. 11) to get the job done.

In five runs for Caulfield trainer Mick Price, she has won three convincingly before injuring herself when beaten in a stakes race in Adelaide before a spell. Her three wins on end were over 1400 metres and she was beaten first-up over 1200 metres but drew poorly that day and got back in the ruck before finishing on strongly. The manner of her three wins last campaign were of a horse capable of taking a large step in class.

Sheila’s Star was a work in progress last campaign and now, as a fully matured five-year-old, should be able to take up an ideal spot on or just off the speed from her inside barrier. It is certainly notable that Glen Boss takes the mount and given his current form, he should give her every chance of a first-up win.

The hardest for her to beat may well be the horse that Boss rode at her last start. The Darley-trained mare DETOURS (No. 3) did not enjoy the best of runs first-up late last month as she was caught wide but still managed to win with authority. This mare has promised much and looks set for an excellent spring campaign.

It was difficult not to be taken with the Victorian debut of MISS MARX (No. 4), who came from a seemingly impossible position to win at Caulfield. She had run second to More Joyous in Sydney before that so you have to trust her form. But the query with her is that while Sheila’s Star and Detours have inside gates, she may again be forced back from gate 13 and may have to rely on luck to win.

BETTING SUGGESTION

You might try Sheila’s Star one-out in the quaddie and if you have a ”live” ticket, lay off on Detours and include Miss Marx in trifectas.

SOMETHING EXOTIC

APART from the Caulfield Guineas, the most intense race tomorrow surely is the Herbert Power Stakes, where the winner grabs a spot in next Saturday’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup. The race brings together horses from all sorts of form lines and indeed from different parts of the world, and with such a prize at the end of this race, the time to perform is now.

The horses are fit, the jockeys are hungry (in more ways than one) and so the best and most adaptable stayer should win. Three especially appeal.

IRONSTEIN (No. 3) has not won a race since he thrashed in rivals in the group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington last spring, but his past two starts when finishing fast in the Kingston Town Stakes in Sydney and JRA Stakes at Moonee Valley over 2000m have been most impressive. At Moonee Valley, he settled at the tail of the field and found trouble in the run before flashing home to finish within two lengths of Bianmick. He meets that horse 1.5 kilograms better and has a definite advantage over Bianmick at the barriers.

I suspect MR O’CEIRIN (No. 10) will prove a tough horse to get past. Out to 2400m this bold front-runner should enjoy the slightly slower tempo and might be able to dictate. He’s enjoyed a perfect build-up to this trip and with Glen Boss aboard is set to produce a career-best performance.

The John Gosden-trained GATEWOOD (No. 2) appeals as the wildcard of the race. He returned to racing with just a maiden win next to his name in May at York in Britain and immediately began a dramatic rise through his classes. At his most recent start at Deauville, France, in August he was beaten a neck in a group 2 over 2500m. That form is surely strong enough to win here so it’s a matter of how well he’s settled in.

BETTING SUGGESTION

A great betting race suggests a tidy reward in multiples. Take 2, 3, and 10 in quaddies and take the same numbers to finish in the top two in trifectas around the field.

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

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