Young Eagle ready to “take over that forward line”

West Coast star defender Brad Sheppard is excited about what the future holds for Oscar Allen.

Allen has now played 38 games for the Eagles including 15 in 2020, kicking the 18 goals as the third tall option inside 50 and backup ruckman.

With Josh Kennedy in the twilight of his career, Sheppard sees the 21-year-old as a player on the cusp of becoming the new face of the West Coast forward line.

“He’s really just biding his time to take over that forward line,” Sheppard told SEN Drive.

“He’s come back in really good shape. He seems a big unit at the moment, he’s a monster. We had our 2km time trial when we first got back and he was in the first half dozen, so he’s got a motor on him as well.

“He’s shaping up to have a really good year. He’s still in that phase of his career where he’s learning from Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling.

“Whether it’s this year or the year after, he’s going to be our number one target up forward, he’s such a presence and I’m really excited to see the development of Oscar.”

One of West Coast’s key additions in the trade period was Brisbane defender Alex Witherden.

Sheppard is now looking forward to training with him following his 14 days of quarantine.

“I’ve only seen him for a couple of sessions because he was in quarantine for a couple of weeks,” he said.

“For the minimal time I’ve got to see him, he moves well, he’s got a really good kick on him and he’s a really good decision maker.

“He’s going to fit in really well in our back six or seven, we probably need someone like him in our backline.

“It was a handy addition to pick him up.”

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Agnico Eagle bulks up Arctic presence with purchase of troubled TMAC mine

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We bought it because we think there’s a potential to find a lot more gold

Sean Boyd, chief executive of Agnico Eagle

“We didn’t buy it for synergies,” Sean Boyd, chief executive of Agnico Eagle, told the Financial Post. “We bought it because we think there’s a potential to find a lot more gold, in a part of the world we already know, and it’s already got infrastructure up and running.”

The property represents the smallest mine in Agnico’s portfolio of scattered operations, mostly in Canada, but also in Mexico and Finland. Boyd said it would attribute capital to explore the geological potential of the land based on the merits.

The company stock fell 2.3 per cent to $93.95 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, TMAC stock jumped 38 per cent to $2.18 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Boyd said the company would move slowly. TMAC has long faced operational issues with its mill that have prevented it from recovering the expected amount of gold from its ore, and is currently operating at 40 per cent of its previous capacity. A report last year suggested the operations need $600 million in investment.

TMAC also had roughly $167 million in debt, and about $71.5 million in cash at the end of the third quarter.

Still, the purchase price represents about one per cent of Agnico’s $23.3 billion market cap, and the Hope Bay mine, even at its reduced operating level, could add 100,000 ounces, or roughly five per cent, to Agnico’s expected 2021 gold production of two million ounces.

“We come into it with our eyes wide open because we know Nunavut is not an easy place to do business,” said Boyd, adding that his senior team plans to travel to Hope Bay on Wednesday to assess the property again.

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Godolphin have a strong hand at Eagle Farm as they pursue more Magic Millions success

Godolphin’s quest to snatch another Magic Millions wildcard continues with a three-pronged attack on Saturday’s Eagle Farm features, with the trio trying to join Roheryn on the Millions hunt in a fortnight.

James Cummings won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic two years ago with Exhilarates, who was purchased the year before by Godolphin boss Vin Cox out of the MM January sale.

But the bulk of the Cummings horses are homebreds, meaning they need to secure a wildcard in order to compete on Magic Millions Day.

Two years ago Manicure won the Nudgee Stakes to qualify for MM day, before running second in the $1M F & M race on the Gold Coast.

Then last year Isaurian earned his place, only to be nudged out by Madam Rouge in the MM Snippets.

Roheryn has already qualified for Godolphin by winning the Falvelon last week and Saturday Phaistos (Shoot Out), Hilo (The Buffering) and Athiri (Nudgee) get their chance, with Nash Rawiller aboard all three.

Rawiller has only had a handful of Queensland rides in recent years, with his last winner in the state coming on Moriarty back in May of 2014.

Hilo and Athiri only arrived in Brisbane this week, while Phaistos has his second run here after running second to Get Stuck In over 2000m at Doomben a fortnight ago.

Glen Boss told Godolphin’s Nacim Dilmi after his run at Doomben it would help the five-year-old as he steps further up in distance to Saturday’s 2200m and if successful, the 2400m on MM day.

From what Dilmi has seen in the fortnight since, he believes Phaistos is now ready to prove himself over the middle distances.

“The way he’s been working since his last run, he really feels like a stayer,” Dilmi said.

“I galloped him last Saturday and he gave me that feel and then on Tuesday I had to shake him up, he dead set feels like a two miler the way he’s settling.

“I think the step up in distance and Eagle Farm will really suit him.”

Athiri is a rejuvenated mare in the past four months, living up to the promise she showed as a juvenile, where she was sent out a $2.20 favourite against Bivouac once

“Athiri arrived Thursday morning and she’s really well placed,” Dilmi said.


Which Desert Lord will turn up in The Buffering at Eagle Farm?

Jockey Ryan Maloney has no doubt if it’s the same one who trounced his rivals at his first run for the David Vandyke stable three starts back, he will take a power of beating.

Maloney teamed with Desert Lord at Eagle Farm on August 29, where he came from the back of the field in a Class 6 Plate and rounded his rivals up in a few strides to win as he liked.

Yet at his next start, Desert Lord was more one-paced under Maloney and wound up third to The Harrovian when sent out a $1.70 chance, meeting the North Queensland champ at level weights that day.

He has since turned in a tradesman-like win, albeit after racing wide, at Doomben where Steph Thornton did the steering in another set weights Class 6 Plate.

Maloney jumps back aboard Desert Lord on Saturday, as Thornton switches to last year’s Buffering winner Deep Image.

“The way he picked them up that day (first up), if he brings that kind of form, he’s definitely a big chance in this race,” Maloney said.

“Second up he wanted to over-race a touch, whereas he didn’t touch the bridle at all in that first up win.

“Whether that big fresh win just took away some of his brilliance for the next run, I’m not sure, but he came out and won again after that.

“The key for me is that David seems very happy with him. He said he has jumped out really smart since that win and when David is prepared to spruik them like that, you really take notice.”

Desert Lord, like a number of Buffering runners, is trying to secure a wildcard into the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on January 16.

Vandyke also has Baccarat Baby, where he has added the blinkers in a bid to just spark a little bit extra from the mare, who hasn’t won since October 2019.

Maloney missed last Saturday’s Eagle Farm meeting after hurting a knee at trackwork, but rode a winner at Doomben on Wednesday after wearing a brace on the knee. He is counting down the days to the Magic Millions Guineas, where he rides the hotpot Isotope.

In her absence from Saturday’s Vo Rogue Plate, Maloney has picked up the ride on her stablemate Starosa, which looks one of the chances in a very open race.

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Wedge-tailed eagle Farrah survives horrific injuries caused by rabbit trap

It’s been 13 months since Farrah the endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle was rescued from the clutches of an illegal rabbit trap.

A passer-by spotted the male eagle struggling to fly in a paddock at Four Mile Creek on the state’s east coast.

The trap was thought to have been clamped on Farrah’s leg for at least 10 days.

Animal rescuers at the time said it was a “shocking case of animal cruelty” and the prognosis was not good.

“Anytime a rabbit trap is involved, the results are never good,” Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary director Greg Irons said.

“Rabbit traps are designed for an animal to never get out of there again.”

However, Farrah lived to fly another day and is now cared for at a wildlife park in north-west Tasmania.

Eagle’s injuries were substantial

The damage to Farrah’s talon means it can no longer catch live prey.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

Farrah’s rear talon was badly damaged, resulting in its back toe needing to be amputated.

It can still balance on branches and fly, but carers say it is unlikely the eagle will be able to catch live prey again.

After the surgery, the bird was placed with a private carer on the north-west coast for several weeks, before being released into a purpose-built enclosure at Wings Wildlife Park in Gunns Plains.

That’s where it will stay for the remainder of its life.

“We can’t release him back into the wild,” Wings Wildlife Park manager Gena Cantwell said.

“It is sad in a way but this enclosure is the safest place for him. He gets all his meals served to him, and he’s comfortable.

A woman smiles at the camera from inside a bird enclosure surrounded by bushland.
Gena Cantwell from Wings Wildlife Park says the eagle will never be released into the wild.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

“The back talon is what they use to hunt and eat, not their beak … so if he was released into the wild and he was on the road, for example, eating some road kill, not having that talon also makes him prey too.”

Ms Cantwell said most of Farrah’s days were spent sitting on the top branches and flying around the enclosure.

“He has made some friends too. We have a family of wedge-tailed eagles that come and visit every day almost, they’ll sit and have a chat,” she said.

Josh Gordon is the captive wildlife supervisor at Wings and remembers Farrah being brought in last year.

“He is one of the lucky ones, definitely,” he said.

“He’s been through quite an ordeal, being caught in an illegal rabbit trap … the positive side of that though is that he was able to be rehabilitated, treated and then brought here.

A close up of a rusty rabbit trap on the ground.
Leg-hold or snare traps are illegal in Tasmania without an exemption.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

Under the Animal Welfare Act, it is illegal to set leg-hold or snare traps in Tasmania without an exemption.

Those responsible could be fined and face up to five years in prison.

Wedge-tailed eagles are Australia’s largest raptors (birds of prey) and are critically endangered in Tasmania.

The total adult population has been estimated as less than 1,000 birds, with about 350 breeding pairs left in the state.

“They breed for life with the same bird, so it is also sad for his partner that this has happened,” Greg Irons said.

Christmas a busy time for rescuers

The Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPIPWE) maintains a register of injured birds and raptors that have been placed with carers.

In the past 12 months, 238 injured birds (non-raptors) have been placed with carers.

A wedge-tailed eagle with a bandaged foot stands on a log with its back to the camera.
Farrah was lucky to be rescued by a passer-by.(Supplied: Wings Wildlife Park)

For the period April 2019 to March 2020, 99 injured raptors have been placed with carers.

Greg Irons says the number of injured animals brought in to his park is at its highest over the Christmas holidays.

“We find that numbers really pick up significantly at this time of year,” he said.

“So people need to take extra precautions this time of year, especially on our roads.”

Already in the last few weeks he’s had two young Tasmanian Devils be brought in for care, along with wallabies, pademelons and possums.

“They probably lost their mum through disease or being hit by a car,” he said.

“Also this time of year we see a lot of birds — one windy day and you’ve got baby birds being blown around all over the place and it’s really important that we don’t just pick them up straight away, we need to seek advice first.”

Calls for more wildlife volunteers

Josh Gordon said the north-west coast needed more volunteers and wildlife carers.

A man smiles at the camera with trees and manferns in the background.
Josh Gordon recommends keeping an emergency animal rescue kit in the car.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

“We would like to have more around in the area, it would definitely help the number of birds that can be saved and helped,” he said.

Wings Wildlife Park is the only facility set up for long-term housing of injured birds of prey on the coast.

“We’re definitely thinking about putting up another net structure for them,” Ms Cantwell said.

“There’s probably room for maybe one more bird in the enclosure we have now, but after that they’d have to go elsewhere in the state.”

Mr Gordon said having a few essentials in your car could be a lifesaver.

“Easiest thing to carry in your car is a blanket, a flatpack box is also handy, along with gloves for your protection,” he said.

“Try and get the animal quiet and then call for help.

“In Farrah’s case, his treatment wouldn’t have been successful if he hadn’t have been found and brought in when he was.”

DPIPWE advises anyone who finds a sick, injured or orphaned animal to contact the Injured and Orphaned Wildlife Program on (03) 6165 4305 (business hours) or Bonorong Wildlife Rescue on 0447 264 625 (all hours).

An eagle sits on a platform at the top of an net-covered enclosure.
Farrah the wedge-tailed eagle will spend the rest of its days in a special enclosure.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

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The Harrovian chasing 11 wins in a row in the Bernborough Plate at Eagle Farm

He’s no Winx but bush freak The Harrovian has earnt cult hero status after shaking off a near-fatal illness to conquer Queensland racing.

Ten in a row and counting — that’s The Harrovian, the bush freak that shrugged off a near-fatal bout of travel sickness to conquer Queensland racing.

He might be a long way short of being the best horse in the country, but for owner Tom Hedley and his former trainer Stephen Massingham, The Harrovian is nothing short of a champion.

Now with Toby and Trent Edmonds on the Gold Coast, he is a raging favourite in Saturday’s Listed Bernborough Plate at Eagle Farm to win his 11th consecutive race.

“I just take one race as it comes,” said Cairns-based Hedley, who has been racing horses for 45 years. “I don’t get too carried away anymore. I like the winning feeling of course.”

A plumber by trade who made his fortune in construction, property and hotels, Hedley figures he has about 100 horses on the books, most of them bought as tried commodities.

The Harrovian and this year’s Stradbroke winner Tyzone are the pick of them.

“I’m buying all the time and I can tell you they don’t all turn out like him,” he said.

“It’s a bloody trying game at times. It’s bad enough when you buy yearlings and they go slow, but when you buy tried horses and you get hoodwinked with what problems they might have, it can be pretty frustrating, brother.

“There’s always some rogues around who will push anything onto you. I had two vetted four weeks ago, they passed the vet, but both were gone in the feet by the time they got to us.

“So you need a Harrovian or Tyzone to come along and give you faith in the game.”

Hedley is known as an animal lover.

He once spent thousands to save his pet dog, so when The Harrovian, which Hedley had paid just $20,000 for, nearly died upon arrival in Queensland owing to travel sickness, no expense was spared.

Massingham recalls the call 2½ years ago telling him it was likely the horse would not survive the trip up from his original trainer Jim Conlan’s base in Victoria.

“I can remember as clear as day,” Massingham said. “He had arrived in Brisbane on the Thursday night and I received a call from Les Rudd (from Rudd’s Horse Transport) the next morning saying, ‘Big fella, this horse will most probably die in the next hour.’ I said you can only do what you can do and get the vet and hopefully save him.”

The trainer was told The Harrovian needed 10 litres of plasma, costing around $4000, which was no issue for the horse’s new owner.

“When I was a young fellow, about 12 or 13, I got a couple of awards for taking in stray dogs,” Hedley said. “It’s just one of those things. I’m a lover of nature and a lover of animals. I don’t even like hitting a mosquito. I just tend to shoo them away.

“I had five dogs, but lost my best one recently. I’m still grieving losing him.

“So when they said it was going to cost you three or four grand a pop and he might need five rounds of it, that’s just the way it is.”

After a lengthy period of recovery, The Harrovian eventually made his way to Massingham’s Cairns stable, where he has exceeded all expectations.

“The horse has come out of nothing,” Hedley said. “It’s well-bred, but I’ve bought a lot of well-bred horses over the years and they haven’t clicked like this horse.

“It’s a bit freaky.

“He was in good hands where he was — Conlan won three races from 14 starts before The Harrovian was sold to Hedley — and then all of a sudden he came north, got crook, had a long break, came back, won a race and then got some confidence.

“I’ve been doing it a long time and no matter where you are, it’s a pretty good achievement for a horse to win the races he has.”

Massingham, known to all and sundry as “Boogie” — “I’ve had that name since I was four. I have no idea where it came from, but some people don’t even know my name is Stephen” — discovered The Harrovian might be better than average after his first jumpout.

“He worked like a nice horse, but nothing super,” he said.

“I gave him a jumpout about 10 days before he raced. He was a mongrel in the gates, reared right up and was 10 lengths off them coming to the corner and the young fellow who rode him (Anton Gibson) gave him a smack with the stick and he picked up and went straight past them.”

He would go on to be the best horse Massingham has trained — by a good way. Boogie could also have been a 50 per cent shareholder in the horse, but at the time he “needed another horse like a hole in the head” so passed up Hedley’s offer.

Still, Massingham’s name is synonymous with The Harrovian, despite the fact he has now switched to the Edmonds stable on the Gold Coast, from where he won first-up for the stable at Doomben a month ago.

“It’s hard to put into words what he’s done for us,” Massingham said. “It’s become mayhem some days, but in a good ways.

“It was difficult (to say goodbye), but the reality is that’s where the horse belongs.

“If I only had two horses in work I would have taken six months off work and stayed there with him. The reality is I have 15 horses at home, the show still has to go on.”

Once again on Saturday, Massingham will be part of The Harrovian’s ever-growing supporter group. “We’re coming in force, anyway. We have to enjoy the ride while we can. It doesn’t happen every day,” he said.

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Concussed Eagle Venables gets AFL lifeline

Premiership forward Daniel Venables has been handed an AFL lifeline after being redrafted to West Coast as a rookie.

Venables hasn’t played since suffering a horrific concussion that was likened to a car crash in round nine of the 2019 season.

The 22-year-old made several unsuccessful attempts to build up to full training loads over the following 18 months before being delisted two weeks ago.

But he has now been given another chance to resurrect his career after the Eagles took him with pick No.27 in Thursday’s rookie draft.

It’s understood Venables has made significant progress in his concussion recovery in recent months, but the Eagles will still need to take a careful approach with him.

Venables, who was first snared with pick No.12 in the 2016 national draft, was playing just his 15th game when he featured in West Coast’s 2018 flag.

But his career was put on hold the following year when he copped a sickening blow to the head while backing into a marking contest against Melbourne’s Tim Smith.

Venables’ head crashed into Smith’s hip before making heavy contact with the Optus Stadium turf.

The Victorian is expected to return to Perth next month to start a modified training program.

Fellow forward Willie Rioli still faces an uncertain future while he awaits his fate with Sport Integrity Australia (formerly ASADA).

Rioli is facing a four-year ban after allegedly tampering with his urine sample.

He has been provisionally suspended since September 2019, and any ban will be backdated from then.

His hearing is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

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The premiership Eagle draftee O’Driscoll learned from

Potential first round pick Nathan O’Driscoll says he loves the tough side of the game and in particular tackling.

Speaking on SEN’s The Captains Run on Friday morning, the West Australian prospect revealed what he loves most about the game.

“Definitely that competitiveness. Going in hard, cracking in for the footy and winning my own ball and tackling,” O’Driscoll said.

“I love the tough side of the game. I don’t mind tackling them hard, you’ve got to make them earn it. I love it.”

The tough on-baller, who hails from WAFL club Perth, spoke of how the COVID layoff during the season actually worked in his favour.

“Lucky enough I was struck with injury right when COVID hit, so I was doing rehab throughout that time and got my body right for the season re-start when we were allowed to play again,” O’Driscoll said.

“So I was actually pretty lucky.

O’Driscoll, who grew up barracking for Fremantle in a West Coast household, managed eight games this season including five at senior level for the Demons.

“It was obviously a very weird year due to COVID, but I was still pretty happy with the year I had,” O’Driscoll said.

“I was able to play a chunk of games and got a senior birth, so I was pretty happy with my season. I could have gone a lot better, probably could have gone better at under-18s level that’s for sure.

“It was really good playing at league level and learning from a lot of different players. We had (Eagles premiership player) Chris Masten come down too, so I learned off guys like that throughout the midfield.

“It is a massive step up.”

The tough left footer and brother of Fremantle AFLW player Emma averaged 15 disposals and five tackles in his eight appearances for Perth this season.

Tune in at 7pm AEDT on Wednesday, December 9 for the AFL Draft on SEN, powered by Tyrepower.

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Golden Eagle 2020 result, Collete wins, Rosehill Gardens, report, Icebath, Dawn Passage, full finishing order

ATC Oaks winner Colette has flown home down the outside to claim a thrilling finish to the $7.5 million Golden Eagle.

The James Cummings-trained mare relished the wet conditions at Rosehill and a solid tempo to nose out Icebath, with Dawn Passage finishing third.

Colette had shown her love for heavy tracks in the autumn, winning both the Adrian Knox and ATC Oaks on a heavy surface.

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Eagle helps Cameron Smith to share of lead after second round

Queenslander Smith was among several players on the course early Saturday AEDT to finish his opening round. Resuming at even-par, he had three birdies in his first four holes before adding two more on the eighth and ninth to finish at five-under-par.

Although he finished a shot worse off, it was the 27-year-old’s second round that turned heads, however. Smith had an eagle on 15 and followed up with three straight birdies to finish, picking up five shots in four holes and with them a share of the lead.

Cameron Smith was on fire at the end of his second round at Augusta National.Credit:AP

Patrick Cantlay is one shot off the lead after a 66 gave him a two-day total of 136. First-round leader Paul Casey is midway through his round at even-par and remains at seven-under.

Adam Scott, the Australian pace-setter on day one, carded a 72 to remain two-under while countryman and fellow major winner Jason Day is five holes into his second round and one-under the tournament.

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Lion’s likely arrival leaves veteran Eagle in contract limbo

Brisbane defender Alex Witherden is set to join West Coast, according to Channel Seven reporter Ryan Daniels.

Witherden fell out of favour in 2020 playing just six games after managing 44 in the previous two seasons.

Daniels understands that a trade between the Lions and the Eagles for the 22-year-old could be agreed by as early as Monday.

The imminent arrival of Witherden leaves West Coast veteran Lewis Jetta in contract limbo.

According to Daniels, Jetta is unlikely to receive a contract for 2021.

The 31-year-old made six senior appearances in 2020 taking his career games tally to 202 across 11 seasons.

Brisbane Lions

West Coast Eagles

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