Jockey happy despite start

MOUNT Isa-owned Preferment might have finished third last in Saturday’s Hobartville Stakes – but he appears on track for upcoming assignments more to his liking.
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Preferment, the Victoria Derby winner owned by Mount isa’s Linda and Graham Huddy, a $71 outsider in the group 2 feature at Rosehill, finished 11th of 13 runners beaten 7.4 lengths.

But jockey Jason Collett said he was happy enough with the run after the stayer bombed the start.

Preferment will be out to emulate Shoot Out’s feats of 2010 by winning the Randwick Guineas in the Huddy colours.

He will then press on to the ATC Derby.

But it was a determined Hallowed Crown that came out on top in a race that could set the tone for the rest of the autumn.

Saturday’s group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill boasted four group 1 winners including the Bart and James Cummings-trained Hallowed Crown.

The colt was having his first start since his only defeat in the Roman Consul Stakes in October after his Golden Rose win.

His task seemed forlorn after he was shut out of a run at the top of the straight and had to come up the inside.

But under vigorous riding from Hugh Bowman, Hallowed Crown ($5.50) raised an effort in the final 100m to get the decision over Sweynesse ($8.50) by a half neck.

Kermadec ($10) finished another half-head third with favourite Shooting To Win ($3.60) a close fourth.

‘‘You don’t get given these races and he has proved what a good colt he is by beating a star-studded line-up,’’ James Cummings said.

‘‘Hugh Bowman is a tenacious jockey and Hallowed Crown is the most determined horse I’ve seen.

‘‘There’s not much between those horses and he is a winner. He just turns up on race day and I came here with confidence.’’

While many of his opposition will be heading towards the ATC Australian Derby, Bowman believes Hallowed Crown’s best distance will be 1600m.

‘‘I’m thinking he is a miler,’’ he said.

‘‘He is a very exciting colt and he’s a winner.

‘‘Although I didn’t get the run I was going for, I lost no momentum and he did the job.’’

Many of the same horses will line up again in the group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in two weeks.

‘‘We will go to the Guineas and then I don’t think he would be out of place in the George Ryder at weight-for-age,’’ Cummings said.

‘‘He is building a profile. When you find a good colt you have to look after them and place them well.

‘‘Not many horses have a record of five wins from six starts and we want to add to that.’’

Hallowed Crown will eventually stand at Darley Stud with Sheikh Mohammed buying into him after the Golden Rose.

The other partner is Gooree Park Stud, the Australian operation of Eduardo Cojuangco, grandfather of Cummings’s wife Monica.

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Police investigate fatal crash in Gillingarra

One person has died and one person was flown to hospital in Perth after a crash in Gillingarra on Sunday. Major Crash investigators are seeking the public’s assistance with their investigation into afatal crash in Gillingarra on Sunday morning.
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At about 2am, a grey Holden Commodore wagon travelling in a southerly direction along Bindoon-Moora Road, has left the road and collided with a tree approximately 25 kilometressouth of Moora near Boxhall Road.

St John Ambulance and Department of Fire and Emergency Services were also called to thescene.

The male driver sustained serious injuries and was air lifted to Royal Perth Hospitalby the RAC Rescue Helicopter.

The passenger did not survive and passed away atthe scene.

Police would like to speak to anyone who saw the grey Holden Commodore wagon beforethe crash, or anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Crime Stoppers on1800 333 000.

Meet Newcastle’s youngest councillor

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POLLS: Declan Clausen is ready to take his place on Newcastle City Council and claims a mandate critics say barely exists. Picture: Dean Osland

NEWLY-elected councillor Declan Clausen has promised to bring a back-to-basics agenda to Newcastle council when he officially gets a seat at City Hall later this week.

The 22-year-old became the youngest person ever elected to the council when he won Saturday’s ward three byelection in a much tighter race than expected.

Mr Clausen secured almost 43per cent of the primary vote, about 850 votes ahead of independent candidate Kath Elliott.

He said the result was ‘‘a mandate’’ to restore the services that were ‘‘cut by the McCloy council’’.

His critics, though, said no mandate existed when 57per cent of electors voted against him, and funding those services will push the council back towards the insolvency it was facing two years ago.

‘‘I want to focus on the basics like roads and footpaths,’’ Mr Clausen said. ‘‘I know they’re not very interesting things but they’re the things that most people talked to me about during the campaign.

‘‘I want to clear the backlog of works and focus on delivering services like libraries and pools.’’

Asked about the council’s finances, he said he has ‘‘a good understanding’’ of the council’s financial position but ‘‘I’ll have a better understanding when I can get access’’ to the council’s books.

His election cements the balance of power on the council for the Labor-Greens alliance which occupies seven of the council’s 13 seats.

The former Lambton High School captain and Young Labor president is a former Newcastle Young Citizen of the Year and played leading roles in environmental initiatives such as ClimateCam and TogetherToday.

Ms Elliott, the former Newcastle Alliance chief, congratulated Mr Clausen but added ‘‘this is not a mandate for Labor … they need to listen to the whole community’’.

‘‘I gave people an alternative choice and a lot of people voted for change,’’ she said. ‘‘If [independent candidate] Allan Warren didn’t run, I’d have won … but unfortunately we’re going to see Labor getting the council back into the red. You can’t keep spending and putting rates up by 50per cent and expect that everything is going to be okay.’’

At the close of counting on Sunday, Mr Clausen had polled 8124 (42.95per cent) first preferences, followed by Ms Elliott on 7256 (38.37per cent). Final counts and preferences will be determined before he is officially declared the winner on Wednesday. His first official council meeting will be held on March 17.

The Greens’ Nevenka Bareham polled 1969 (10.41per cent), followed by independent Allan Warren on 1170 (6.19per cent) and Arjay Martin on 394 (2.08per cent).

Protection from floods promised

Wallsend flooding in 2008.Greens NSW MP John Kaye and Wallsend Greens candidate Aleona Swegen announced the plans on Sunday to bring state funding through for the project if elected late next month.
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Dr Kaye said the council had a plan supported by experts and Wallsend residents ready to go, and the government should put ‘‘at least $25million’’ towards building refuges, early warning systems and a response plan.

‘‘It’s now time to start work before another deluge threatens life and damages buildings,’’ Dr Kaye said.

‘‘If the Baird government stopped its scandalous squandering of hundreds of millions of dollars cutting Newcastle’s rail line, it could easily cover the entire cost of the plan, with plenty left over to spend on other areas of genuine need.’’

The Wallsend Centre Floodplain Risk Management Plan was approved in 2009 but awaits implementation.

Ms Swegen said flooding through the CBD during the 2007 Pasha Bulker storm had done irreparable damage.

‘‘Households and businesses were affected for years after [that] event and some shop-owners never returned.’’

Concern for jobs of tradies caught up in licence gaffe

LOCAL union leaders are hopeful a Victoria police gaffe that incorrectly disqualified almost 200 Victorians’ driving licences hasn’t impacted local tradespeople.
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Police recently announced 195 drivers aged 26 or older erroneously had their licences cancelled since 2007, with seven still disqualified.

Ballarat Trades and Labour Council president Brett Edgington said young tradespeople in particular were vulnerable to a loss of licence. “It’s basically their livelihood. It’s pretty much your apprenticeship gone,” said Mr Edgington, who suggested it was unclear if any jobs had been lost locally because of the blunder.

A police audit found some officers had applied an incorrect code when issuing an infringement for those with a blood alcohol level of between 0.05 per cent and 0.07 per cent.

Mr Edgington said access to a vehicle was crucial for local tradespeople, especially as local construction work had dried up.

“We’ve had people travelling to Ararat and Malmsbury, and now a lot of workers are heading to Bendigo to work on the hospital,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Robert Hill said relevant training methods and educational materials would be revised.

“Obviously, it’s concerning when we identify a member error of this nature. It’s a significant responsibility and action to remove someone’s licence to drive. We understand the impact this may have had on the livelihood of some people

and have taken immediate steps to rectify the situation,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Hill said infringement notices would be checked twice and independently in the future to ensure the correct sanction had been imposed.

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Ice-cream offer by man sparks appeal

POLICE want to speak to a man who allegedly offered to buy two young children ice-cream in a random incident in the Mount Isa CBD.
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Acting Officer in Charge Mount Isa CPIU Senior Sergeant Aaron Baxter said police believed the incident was a ‘‘once off’’ but reminded the public to be aware of anyone approaching children.

“A male person approached a female and then he approached two children,” he said. “Police are seeking the assistance to identify a male person displaying concerning behaviour.

“The male approached the female and then two children at Brumby’s in West Street, Sunday, February 15, at 9.30am.

“The male offered to take the children to buy ice-cream.’’

The man police want to speak to is described as a 40-year-old caucasian with tanned skin and curly hair. He is about six foot tall and was last seen wearing a blue t-shirt, cargo shorts and a dark baseball cap.

“Parents should encourage children to speak to someone if they feel scared or unsafe,‘‘Senior Sergeant Aaron Baxter said. Any person with information can call Mount Isa Police or Crime stoppers 1300333000 or Police link 131444.

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Hunter unemployment rates reach double figures

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THE Hunter’s unemployment rates are in double figures and the highest they’ve been for a decade.

The state government cautions against reading too much into a single month’s figures, but Labor says the trend is clearly worsening.

The Newcastle and Lake Macquarie jobless rate for January was 10per cent, up from 8.2per cent in December and 5.2per cent in January 2014.

For the rest of the Hunter, the January rate was 11.4per cent, up from 6.5per cent in December and 7.1per cent in January 2014.

Across the Hunter, the number of unemployed had gone from an estimated 18,900 in January 2014 to 32,000 last month.

Opposition treasury spokesman Michael Daley said the Baird government TAFE cuts and Abbott government university fee-hikes were the wrong policies at a time of rising unemployment.

‘‘Some volatility in the month to month figures is expected but the trendlines are unmistakeable; unemployment in the Hunter and Newcastle continues to track significantly above the state average of 6.3per cent,’’ Mr Daley said.

Minister for the Hunter, Gladys Berejiklian, said the whole point of the Newcastle CBD rejuvenation and statewide infrastructure program was to create jobs.

‘‘We want people to be able to live and work in the Hunter,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.

‘‘We want families to raise their children knowing they will be able to study and find jobs without having to leave the region.’’

Ms Berejiklian said Mr Daley was wrong to say TAFE fees had been cut, arguing that spending on vocational education was at record levels.

Goldengirl shines in Oaks triumph

Geegees Goldengirl (outside), ridden by Siggy Carr, storms past her rivals to win the $100,000 Tasmanian Oaks at Mowbray yesterday. Picture: Greg MansfieldTHE Gee Gee roadshow rolled on at Mowbray yesterday when the state’s leading owners added the $100,000 Tasmanian Oaks to an array of feature-race wins over the summer carnival.
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Paul and Elizabeth Geard, of Broadmarsh, race top filly Geegees Goldengirl, who completed the three-year-old fillies’ feature double when she scored by just over a length.

The Stuart Gandy-trained filly, who is a half-sister to Tasmania’s top galloper, Geegees Blackflash, also won the $100,000 Strutt Stakes on Hobart Cup day.

The Geards won another two minor races yesterday with Geegees Soprano and Geegees Velvet, giving them 12 wins at the past five Tasmanian meetings.

Six of their wins have been in feature events, including the Hobart Cup and Tasmanian Derby.

Geegees Goldengirl was given a perfect run by Siggy Carr, racing in fourth spot until she joined the leaders turning for home.

The Wordsmith filly then found plenty under pressure to hold out Shayana, who came from near-last on the home turn, and dead-heaters Tralee Chorus and Monopole.

Stuart Gandy described the winner as “a ripper”.

“She’s just kept improving since she was an early two-year-old,” the trainer said.

“She’s always raced against the best and now she is the best.”

Gandy admitted to once sharing a popular belief that progeny of Wordsmith might not be able to run 2100 metres.

“But she’s proved everyone wrong and I don’t mind eating humble,” he said.

“She will go to the paddock now and have a good break.”

Carr said that Geegees Goldengirl’s performance was outstanding as she hadn’t been suited by a slow speed.

“She started to pull hard mid-race so I let her slide, and from then on she was fine,” the jockey said.

“‘But ideally she needs something to chase.”

Breaking duck

STOWPORT trainer Barry Niass won his first race when Incat caused a minor boilover in the Benchmark 62 Handicap.

Brendon McCoull got a rails run on the $15 chance to snatch victory in a three-way photo-finish.

Although he hadn’t won a race since August 2012, Incat probably wasn’t entitled to start at double-figure odds.

He had been only narrowly beaten by smart mare Wonzzee two starts earlier before contesting the weight-for-age Thomas Lyons.

Niass races Incat in partnership with prominent North-West businessman Robert Milne.

Patience pays

TRAINER Mark Ganderton earned high praise from the owners of six-year-old mare Tangerine Queen after her win in the Maiden Plate.

Raced by Don and Imelda Cameron, Tangerine Queen led all the way at only her 13th racetrack appearance.

Don Cameron, owner of the Mud Bar & Restaurant in Launceston, said he nearly retired Tangerine Queen three and a half years ago due to “bad knees.”

“Mark has done a fantastic job with her,” Cameron said.

“She’s really come good and hit a purple patch of form.”

Cameron said that he had raced several horses that had all managed to win one race.

“I’d really like one that can win two or three, and hopefully this might be it,” he said.

Set in stone

THREE-YEAR-OLD gelding Settler’s Stone finished in the second half of the field at his first seven starts.

Co-owner Peter Staples admits that led to a few grumbles from some of his partners in the horse.

They were quietened when the Troy Blacker-trained gelding won at odds of $65 on Hobart Cup day and completely silenced after he scored again at Mowbray yesterday.

After another copybook ride from Dean Yendall, Settler’s Stone finished strongly for a long-neck win in the Class 1 Plate.

Some of the gelding’s owners also race Settler’s Joy and are hoping their luck holds when she runs at Mowbray on Wednesday.

“The horse that we thought would be the hardest to beat (Rose Of Innocence) has been scratched, so we’re hoping for the best,” Staples said.

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Jake joins elite

CHAMP: Emerging Launceston star Jake Birtwhistle crosses the line first in Saturday’s Devonport Triathlon, becoming the Oceania and Australia standard distance champion. Picture: Jason Hollister.
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SATURDAY’S win in the Devonport Triathlon has wiped any doubt of Tasmanian star Jake Birtwhistle’s credentials to become a world champion.

With former Olympians Courtney Atkinson and New Zealander Ryan Sissons on the start line, Birtwhistle put in a polished performance to win his first elite title.

The 20-year-old from Launceston became just the second Tasmanian male to take out the Devonport Triathlon and just the third Tasmanian ever to achieve the feat in a time of 1:59.46.9.

Birtwhistle still qualifies for under 23, which meant he walked away with four titles on Saturday including the Oceanic and Australian standard distance champion.

However, a class field made life hard for the young Tasmanian, who was only able to break away in the last 800 metres of the run leg.

Right from the 1.5 kilometre swim leg, it was evident that the race wasn’t going to be easy.

A group of competitors including Birtwhistle, Sissons, Atkinson, Canberra’s Declan Wilson and Kenji Nener led for most of the race after exiting the swim.

Birtwhistle used his track running experience and kicked away from Wilson in the closing stages of the 10km run.

Sissons edged out Nener for third in a photo finish.

“It was a hard race, no doubt about that, the bike course with that hill,” Birtwhistle said.

“It was always going to be a tough race but I’m really happy with the result.

“I felt a bit off in the first part of the run. Thankfully I was able to pick it back up in the second part of the run and kick away in the last kilometre.”

Birtwhistle said the win was the biggest of his career after only just stepping out of juniors.

He will now tackle the Continental Cup in Wollongong on March 7.

Full triathlon coverage, Page 36.

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Safety of cyclists improved

THE state government has officially altered the road rules and will implement new signage, in an effort to improve the safety for cyclists and other road-users.
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Under the new law, motorists will now be allowed to cross continuous white lines to pass cyclists, when it is safe to do so.

House of Assembly Speaker Elise Archer announced the change last week, which was approved by cabinet earlier this month, and said it would ease some of the tension on roads.

Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding yesterday said popular cycling routes would also feature new signs, which will be installed later this week.

One sign depicts a recommended passing distance of one metre for roads with speeds of up to and including 60km/h, and the other has a recommended passing distance of 1.5 metres for roads above 60km/h.

The signs also include a supplementary plate with the words “pass cyclists safely”.

The signs aim to increase driver awareness of the presence of bikes on roads popular with cyclists.

“The Liberal government is committed to improving the safety of vulnerable road users, including cyclists,” Mr Hidding said.

Road Safety Advisory Council chairman Jim Cox – who helped instigate the law change – described the decision as a step forward for Tasmania.

“I think it’s a good decision that gives cyclists a bit more freedom,” he said.

“It’s already created awareness in the community and people are a lot more aware of cyclists on our roads than they were six months ago.”

Bicycle Network Tasmania campaign manager Garry Bailey has also supported the decision.

“These signs are an important safety and education weapon in lowering the risk for all vulnerable road users,” he said.

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