South Australia to reopen border to Greater Melbourne on Friday



South Australia will reopen its border to Greater Melbourne from 12.01am on Friday.

The lifting of border measures mean people entering the state from Melbourne will no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing on days one, five and 12.

SA Premier Steven Marshall described the border reopening as a “huge relief”.


“Victoria has got on top of their outbreak, we are very grateful for the work they have done and we are looking forward to welcoming people from across that border,” he said.
South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said Victoria had done “extremely well” in containing the Holiday Inn outbreak.
“That is all very much under control,” she said.
“There is no evidence at all of community transmission in that state.”
The majority of people from Melbourne currently undergoing quarantine will be able to be released, aside from those who attended a tier one exposure site.


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State easing restrictions from Friday February 26; 50 people allowed in a house, 30 on a wedding dancefloor


New South Wales will ease coronavirus restrictions this week, increasing the number of people allowed at a house and bringing wedding dancefloors back.
Today marks 38 days of no community transmission in NSW, extending the state’s longest run of zero local cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

From midnight on Friday, people in NSW will be able to have 50 guests at a private gathering.

“Make sure no-one comes into your house with symptoms who has not been tested and told they can leave their house,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“Make sure there is good ventilation, good distancing.

“Please be careful if you are taking up this opportunity.”

A maximum of 30 people will be allowed on the dancefloor at any one time at weddings.

People will also be able to stand up while having a drink at outdoor venues.

“From March 17 if everything goes well, in three weeks’ time, you will be able to stand up and have a drink indoors as well as outdoors,” Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged anyone taking up the chance to have 50 people over to do so safely. (Kate Geraghty)

Despite the easing of restrictions in NSW in coming days, health authorities have urged people to enjoy their freedom safely.

“NSW is in a very good position but we know that is very volatile,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We have to be as vigilant as ever.

“We have to make sure we do not become complacent, that we stick to the COVID restrictions and rules to make sure that all of us stay protected.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged everyone to remain diligent with the use of the QR code system.

“While we are putting an incredible protections at our borders, and rolling out vaccine to our border workers and quarantine workers is the highest priority, the risk of an event where we get that transmission is still ever present,” she said.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the easing of restrictions was welcome news for businesses hit hard during the lockdown period.

“I think we are on track to be dealing well with not just the health response but the economy being open and providing people the freedom to live their lives,” he said.

Ms Berejiklian said the government would look at relaxing restrictions further once a greater number of people working in the hotel quarantine system have been vaccinated.

“What we are trying to do is reduce the risk of superspreader event,” she said.

“We didn’t have community transmission before the Northern Beaches cluster either but it snuck out of the hotel quarantine system and that’s our biggest risk.

“Once people in the quarantine system are vaccinated that reduces the risk of the virus getting out which is why timing is so critical for us.”

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Victoria marks five days of zero local coronavirus cases, restrictions on track to ease on Friday



Victoria has recorded its fifth day of zero local coronavirus cases as the state looks to further ease restrictions on Friday.

The number of active cases in the state has dropped to 20, with more than 20,000 people being tested in the past 24 hours.

There were no new infections detected in hotel quarantine as international flights arriving into Victoria continue to remain paused.


Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday said the state was “well placed” to ease restrictions come midnight on Friday.
The date marks when the 14-day incubation period will be up for a bulk of close contacts currently isolating due to the Holiday Inn outbreak.
“I hope to be able to make some significant announcements on Friday,” he said.

“That will then mean we can go back to hopefully, pretty much those COVIDSafe Summer settings.”

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Victoria ‘well placed’ to ease coronavirus restrictions on Friday



Victoria will likely return to its ‘COVIDSafe Summer’ restrictions this week, with an official announcement to be made on Friday.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the state was “well placed” to ease restrictions come midnight Friday, as no new local cases of COVID-19 were detected for the fourth consecutive day.

The date marks when the 14-day incubation period for a bulk of close contacts in isolation – linked to the Holiday Inn outbreak – will be up.


The COVIDSafe Summer restrictions could include 30 visitors to a home, up to 75 per cent of workers returning to offices and mask rules easing indoors if social distancing is possible.
“I think we are very well placed,” Mr Andrews said.
“I hope to be able to make some significant announcements on Friday.
“That will then mean we can go back to hopefully, pretty much those COVIDSafe Summer settings.”
The Victorian Government has also committed to celebrating Anzac Day in a way that is “as close to normal as possible”.

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Trump lawyers expected to allege Dem hypocrisy Friday as defense gets its turn at impeachment trial


The legal team for former President Donald Trump makes their opening arguments in his second impeachment trial on Friday — and they are expected to allege that Democrats are being hypocritical by saying that Trump incited the Capitol mob by telling his followers they have to “fight” against a “stolen election.”

They’re likely to point out past instances when Democrats have used combative rhetoric, playing videos similar to how the House impeachment managers used video of Trump speaking to make their case against him. 

Trump’s attorneys are also expected to argue, as they previewed in briefs submitted to the Senate, that the House impeachment managers are taking Trump’s words out of context as they aim to get 67 senators to vote to convict him of inciting an insurrection. 

“I think you’ll at least be moved by what you see and get a much better picture of exactly what’s going on here and the hypocrisy in some of the positions taken by the House managers in this case,” Trump lawyer David Schoen said on “America Reports” Thursday. 

David Schoen, President Trump’s attorney, speaking at his impeachment trial on Feb. 9, 2021.

“They built a sort of a false dichotomy here. Either you condemn what he said and … find him guilty or there’s no middle ground. There’s no possibility of thinking what he said maybe was inappropriate,” Schoen added later Thursday evening after meeting with a handful of Republican senators. “But when you use the word ‘fight,’ most of the times during the case, it’s clear he’s talking about legislators fighting for our rights, people fighting to advocate. And, you know, everyone likes to overlook the word peacefully in there.”

SCHUMER LEAVES DOOR OPEN TO 14TH AMENDMENT MEASURE TO BAR TRUMP FROM OFFICE

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, along with Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, met with Trump’s lawyers on Thursday. Cruz alluded to a similar argument. 

“The House managers focused a great deal on the president, using words like ‘fight’ or ‘fight like hell,'” Cruz said. “Well, if that constitutes incitement, then every single political candidate in America is guilty of incitement, because I guarantee you all 100 senators in that chamber have stood on the stump and said we need to ‘fight’ or ‘fight like hell.'”

Democratic elected officials who’ve previously used objectionable rhetoric who are expected to be featured on Friday may include Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., among others. 

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., leaves a leadership meeting as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., leaves a leadership meeting as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Meanwhile, speculation among those involved is that the impeachment trial could end sometime before the end of the weekend — potentially Saturday or even earlier. That would require the Trump lawyers to wrap up a brief presentation Friday and for the Senate to blow through the remaining procedural hurdles between them and the end of the trial. 

“We’re hoping they — the thing concludes by Saturday,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday. 

“We were talking earlier, maybe … three or four hours, something like that,” Schoen said of his planned Friday presentation when speaking to reporters Thursday.

TRUMP STEERS CLEAR OF IMPEACHMENT TRIAL RAPID RESPONSE WITHOUT TWITTER MEGAPHONE

One of those hurdles is whether there will be witnesses in the trial. The House impeachment managers have left the door open to asking the Senate to subpoena witnesses, but they have continued to refuse to confirm that they will bring witnesses.

“I’ll just say you’re going to see a devastating case against Trump in the managers’ presentation in the coming days,” a senior aide on the House impeachment managers team said Tuesday when asked about witnesses. 

“The American people with this … The senators witnessed this,” said impeachment manager Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., when asked about witnesses Thursday. 

This is a stark break from Democrats’ comments during Trump’s previous impeachment trial. Last year, they alleged that Senate Republicans were holding a sham trial because they refused to bring witnesses despite weeks of hearings and depositions in the House of Representatives that created a record on the Ukraine matter Trump was impeached over. 

“Whoever heard of a trial without witnesses and documents? It’s unprecedented,” now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Jan. 7, 2020. 

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Trump team lawyers on Friday will also be aiming to redeem themselves after a widely panned performance Tuesday. Attorney Bruce Castor gave a meandering speech as the Senate was considering the constitutionality of impeachment. Several GOP senators, including Graham and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said Castor’s performance was weak. Cassidy himself switched his vote from previously saying that the impeachment trial was unconstitutional to saying that it is constitutional due to the Tuesday arguments. 

“If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers,” Cassidy said in a statement. “The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not.” 

It’s also possible the Trump legal team could debut Philadelphia personal injury attorney Michael T. van der Veen, who joined the team in recent days, in a presenting role Friday. 

Trump’s lawyers will likely also revisit the constitutionality argument on Friday even though that issue was settled on a vote Tuesday. All they need is to prevent 17 GOP senators from voting to convict — only 6 of them voted on Tuesday that the trial is even allowed to happen. 

LEAD IMPEACHMENT MANAGER RASKIN REVEALS QUESTIONS HE WOULD HAVE ASKED TRUMP IF HE TESTIFIED

Democrats attempted to preempt this argument Thursday. House manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., implored senators to “focus like a laser beam on the facts and not return to the constitutional argument that’s already been decided by the Senate. Just as a defense lawyer who loses a motion to dismiss on a constitutional basis in a criminal case must let that go.”

Now-former President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Now-former President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Trump team is also expected to explain that Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 was protected speech under the First Amendment and that the House did not provide Trump with sufficient due process. 

“The Senate, in reviewing the House actions, should immediately dismiss this case because the process was completely unfair and one-sided,” Schoen, Castor and van der Veen said in a brief. “Throughout this entire process Speaker Pelosi was never acting to apply her understanding of the laws of impeachment in any principled manner. The Speaker did not think it was necessary to call for an impeachment so long as she got her way, and twice told the Vice President, and the country, just that.”

“President Trump’s speech at the January 6, 2021 event fell well within the norms of political speech that is protected by the First Amendment,” the lawyers also said. “The Supreme Court of the United States has long held that the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech protects elected officials such as Mr. Trump. The House Managers’ argument to the contrary both ignores well-established precedent and erodes the constitutional principles guiding this august body.”

Trump’s team is also expected to argue that the impeachment article alleges too many smaller offenses against the president and should have been broken up into several articles instead of just one. 

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor heads back into courtroom A after a break in a pre-trail hearing for entertainer Bill Cosby and his sexual assault case February 2, 2016 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Castor is now a defense attorney for former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. (Photo by Clem Murray - Pool/Getty Images)

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor heads back into courtroom A after a break in a pre-trail hearing for entertainer Bill Cosby and his sexual assault case February 2, 2016 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Castor is now a defense attorney for former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. (Photo by Clem Murray – Pool/Getty Images)

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“Because the Article at issue here alleges multiple wrongs in the single article, it would be impossible to know if two-thirds of the members agreed on the entire article, or just on parts, as the basis for vote to convict,” the Trump team’s pre-trial brief says. 

Trump’s current impeachment was spurred by the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Trump, after months of making false claims that he’d won the presidential election, held a rally in Washington, D.C., with his supporters on the same day Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence were meeting in a joint session to certify the results of the election. That day, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, forcing Pence and hundreds of lawmakers into hiding as they interrupted the election certification. 

Trump, at the rally, repeated his false election claims and he and advisers used pitched rhetoric, riling up the large crowd. Trump at one point during the rally told his followers to “peacefully and patriotically” march to the Capitol, a comment his defenders point to as part of the reason why he does not bear responsibility for the ransacking of the Capitol.

But House impeachment managers are arguing that one comment does not cancel out the balance of Trump’s other comments in that speech or in the proceeding months. They say the former president is fundamentally responsible for the Capitol riot and that it was foreseeable that his words and actions would have led to the Jan.6 violence. 

Fox News’ James Levinson, Jason Donner and Kelly Phares contributed to this report. 

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NSW will see an easing of some restrictions from Friday morning



New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced an easing of restrictions from 12:01am Friday which will see the state revert to the two square metre rule with masks only compulsory on public transport.

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Federal politicians ordered into quarantine until Friday after WA COVID scare


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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, spoke with the President of the Senate, Scott Ryan, on Sunday night and decided none of the people on the flight should come to Parliament until further notice.

Late Sunday, the ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Vanessa Johnston confirmed that those on the flight would have to quarantine until 5pm on Friday.

“In line with the WA Government’s own lockdown, we are saying that anyone who has been to one of these regions since 25 January should quarantine until 9pm on Friday 5 February, even after they have received their test results,” Dr Johnston said.

“This advice also applies to the passengers from a Qantas flight that landed in Canberra.”

The events throw a wildcard into preparations for Parliament to meet on Tuesday for the first sitting of the year, with the Morrison government holding power by only two seats, which means the absence of any MPs could tip the balance on the floor of the lower house.

That means the MPs on the Qantas flight returning from Perth will be prevented from coming to Parliament for days, but may be subject to further advice from the ACT government.

The top officials from each chamber of Parliament – the serjeant-at-arms from the House of Representatives and the usher of the black rod from the Senate – were sent to Canberra airport to meet the flight and convey the message.

It came soon after Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan placed metropolitan Perth and the WA regions of Peel and South-West into a five-day lockdown until Friday.

Mr McGowan revealed a male security guard in his 20s tested positive for COVID-19 after working at a quarantine hotel.

He said the guard had worked on the same floor as a person who tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19, and the guard called in sick on January 28 after working 12-hour shifts the previous two days.

There was a risk, Mr McGowan said, that the UK variant could have entered the community.

Airline staff were interviewing the passenger who realised mid-flight they had visited one of the exposure sites. The flight took off several hours before Mr McGowan announced the snap lockdown.

News of a COVID-19 case in WA threw the travel plans of thousands into doubt.

Queensland responded by declaring Perth a hotspot, and in a statement its Health Department advised that anyone arriving from the three regions from 6pm on Sunday would be required to go into 14 days’ mandatory hotel quarantine.

WA residents were on Sunday strongly advised not to travel interstate, and Mr McGowan said other Australians should reconsider their need to travel to the state.

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Victorian public health officials held snap talks to determine how to act in response to the Perth lockdown.

It came as Victoria recorded its 25th day in a row with no evidence of locally acquired cases of coronavirus, but follow-up tests are being undertaken by health experts on one uncertain test result.

Also on Sunday, the Morrison government officially resumed Australia’s travel bubble with New Zealand, allowing New Zealanders to travel to Australia without quarantining after a six-day suspension.

The decision not to extend the suspension beyond Sunday was based on advice from acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd after a meeting of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

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Horoscopes for Friday, January 29


April 20-May 20

Turn up the intensity! Bulls are usually pretty easygoing and are seldom known to get heavy, but today your brow will be furrowed whilst in deep thought searching for answers. This may well become a quest of sorts involving probing and detective work. Just be prepared for what you may or may not discover.

Gemini

May 21-June 21

Feel as though you’re wading through quicksand? You’re impatient and frenetic by nature and today you’ll be champing at the bit to spring into action, problem is, if your success hinges on others they mightn’t be on the same page, or in a hurry to get there. Empower yourself by working independently and gaining as much knowledge as you can.

Cancer

June 22-July 22

You may be impulsive with money today as your ruling ‘planet’ ignites your sector associated with finances. This is a great time to examine your cash flow situation and decide where best to allocate funds. However, it is not ideal for shopping as you’ll be prone to bursts of retail therapy and may regret purchases.

Leo

July 23-August 22

Today’s full moon in your sign provides you with the perfect excuse to be egocentric but also to let your hair down and revel in the love of friends and family. However, you are also likely to feel hypersensitive and even prone to pouting if you don’t receive the kind of attention you deserve. Ask for it.

Virgo

August 23-September 22

Solitude and silence is looking pretty good today. You may be pulled in a hundred different directions and feel the pressure to complete many things. Don’t. The full moon in your sector of spiritual and solitary confinement beckons you to relax and unwind without feeling guilty about it. Recharge your batteries behind closed doors and delve deep.

Libra

September 23-October 22

Cooperation is the key! Today the full moon moves into your area of group activities which will enable you to reach your goals much faster by working within a team environment. Seeds sown from months ago will also show signs of progress. If you can strike a balance between pleasing others and having your needs met success will be inevitable!

Scorpio

October 23 – November 22

Over the past six months or so dedicated Scorpios may have felt as though you were denied opportunity and recognition, but with the full moon shifting into your sector of career today you will finally get the kudos you deserve. You’ll also get the green light for projects, especially surrounding work, and things will progress at a much faster rate.

Sagittarius

November 23-December 20

With today’s full moon taking up residency in your sector of adventure and journeys you’ll be absolutely gagging for a change of scenery. Thankfully you may get an unexpected offer to stay at a friend’s home away from home. Although you usually have no problem asserting yourself this placement will also encourage you to air your opinions.

Capricorn

December 21-January 19

You’re known for having a strong work ethic, and as much as you love it even you need a break. Today you’ll be torn between doing the right thing, i.e. putting in overtime and taking up the slack or throwing it all in and hitting the beach. The only solution is to work hard, play harder!

Aquarius

January 20-February 18

The full moon today is stirring up drama in your sector of relationships. You may be in a feisty mood and will be itching for an argument. Instead pour that wonderful lunar energy into something productive like a decent heart to heart with your significant other. Get to the root of problems so you can focus on fostering love.

Pisces

February 19-March 20

You’ll have a lot on your plate today regarding work, thanks to the full moon in your sector of industry. Although you’ll be proficient and in the mood to roll up your sleeves this is also your time to delegate, Pisces, and not take on the entire load by yourself. People will be kind and forthcoming.

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Markets Live, Friday 9 January, 2021


The bulk metal rose another 1.8 per cent before trade on Friday to reach $US171.69 a tonne. Oil also climbed further on the promise of Saudi production cuts.

Meanwhile, investors continue to price in the prospect of unfettered Democrat control of US Congress.

The Blue Wave victory in both Georgia Senate run-off seats has effectively handed the party control of all three major organs of the US government and opened the door for a larger stimulus response to the coronavirus.

Novus Capital Senior Client Adviser Gary Glover said there was a seasonal element to the year-opening bonanza for ASX investors with the Santa Rally usually continuing into January.

But he is also among the investors who remain cautious that the initial equities rush will fade once Joe Biden’s policy agenda – and his tax and regulatory reforms – become clearer.

“It’s a mixed bag really – dual control means Biden will get more done and get the stimulus package out more quickly,” Mr Glover said.

“But markets might also be a bit more nervous longer-term about tightening regulations and what it means for tax… which will probably affect the big tech companies also”.

Mr Glover said markets appeared to be riding an “irrational” wave of momentum in the face of high valuations and an uncertain macro outlook.

“You can see there’s a reckoning that is going to come, but when will it come?

“There have been times when the market has been irrational, but I can’t remember a time when they have been irrational for this long.”

The materials sector added 6.6 per cent for the week but the iron ore and gold producers cooled their jets on Friday.

BHP backed away from a record high to finish 0.5 per cent lower at $46.67, while Rio Tinto dropped 1.3 per cent to $124.01, and Fortescue Metals shed 2.2 per cent to $25.34.

The lenders were strong in the final session of the week, with Commonwealth Bank gaining 1.2 per cent to $85.63, NAB up 1.4 per cent to $23.35, Westpac 1.5 per cent higher at $20.28, and ANZ rising 0.9 per cent to $23.84.

Afterpay rose 6.6 per cent to $116 and biotech CSL rose 1.9 per cent to $280.25.

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Tips and race-by-race preview for Canterbury twilights on Friday


Have been looking forward to the return of Tracey Bartley’s speedy filly 2. Barossa Rosa. She was heavily backed on debut at Wyong but having sat outside of the leader was left a sitting shot before getting no luck at start two. She was spelled after that and returned with an effortless trial win on her home track.
How to play it: Barossa Rosa win.
Odds & evens: Split.

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Race 4 – 7:15PM IRON JACK HANDICAP (1550M)

3. Space Is Deep stays at 1550m second up and draws wide but the price is just too tempting about this improving four-year-old. He won three of his last four starts before spelling and liked the way he speared to the line first up this time back. 1. Celtic Love keeps turning up preparation after preparation.
How to play it: Space Is Deep each way.
Odds & evens: Odds.

Race 5 – 7:45PM THE AGENCY REAL ESTATE HANDICAP (1900M)

1. Tochi loves Canterbury. It suits his front-running style, especially out to this trip where she can pinch a little break at the top of the straight. The mare’s track record reads 6:3-1-1. Her record over this distance is 5:4-0-0. Her record over the Canterbury 1900m is 4:3-0-0. Not sold yet? At the time of writing she is double-figure odds.
How to play it: Tochi each way
Odds & evens: Split.

Race 6 – 8:15PM ANZ BLOODSTOCK NEWS HANDICAP (1250M)

9. Pyrmont has been a tease for much of his racing career but the stars may have finally aligned. He carries just 51kg after the claim, draws low to stalk the speed and strikes a very evenly matched field. He hasn’t had much luck in his past two outings. On the topic of bad luck, surely 1. General Soho is due a change of fortune at this track.
How to play it: Pyrmont each way.
Odds & evens: Odds.

Race 7 – 8:45PM SUTTONS CITY KIA EVENING STAR (1550M)

5. Above And Beyond never got a crack at his rivals last start. Forget that. Prior to last start, the five-year-old had been racing as well as ever. First up at Randwick he handled a soft 7 rating to just miss behind Never Talk so as long as it’s not heavy, he should handle the going.
How to play it: Above And Beyond each way.
Odds & evens: Odds.

Race 8 – 9:15PM CANTERBURY NIGHT SPRINT SERIES – HEAT 1 (1100M)

In a race with so many exposed horses that have reached their limit, inclined to go with the lightly raced improver in 12. Hurt Money. The three-year-old colt with Peter and Paul Snowden jumps from a provincial maiden to a BM72 in town but he did it well firs-up and already boasts a second to The Face form back in July.
How to play it: Hurt Money each way.
Odds & Evens: Split.

Tips supplied by Racing NSW
Full form and race replays available at racingnsw.com.au

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