Irish legend Kearney pumped to be at Force


He went from freezing conditions in Ireland to bench pressing his own hotel bed in Brisbane, but Irish rugby legend Rob Kearney was all smiles when he finally met his new Western Force teammates in Perth on Tuesday.

Kearney has spent his entire club life at Irish outfit Leinster and the star fullback jumped at the chance to experience something new when the Force came knocking in August.

Signing on the dotted line was easy, but getting to Perth amidst a global pandemic proved to be tricky.

Kearney eventually touched down in Brisbane last month when he was forced to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks with his fiance Jess Redden.

The pair got creative while in quarantine with Kearney even resorting to bench pressing the bed.

“It wasn’t heavy enough,” Kearney said with a laugh.

“I think I’ve lost a kilo or two after the few weeks quarantine. So I’ll be asking the boys to stack on more weight.

“I had a good pal who I used to play Rugby Union with – Ben Te’o. He’s with the Broncos at the moment and he dropped some equipment to me, a rower and TherraBands.

“When you’re forced to have to adapt, you can make sessions up pretty quickly and you can surprise yourself with how much work you can get done in a small room.

“My fiance is hugely into her fitness and she regularly ran 10, 12km a day in the bedroom, which put me to shame.”

Kearney, who arrived in Perth on Monday, said the safety Australia provided from COVID-19 plus its hotter climate were major drawcards in him signing with the Force.

He hopes to not only play a key role on the field but also help develop the club’s younger players.

“I’m very lucky that I’ve come from some teams and some cultures where we’ve won a lot of trophies and silverware,” Kearney said.

“Hopefully I can incorporate some of that winning mindset and what it takes to be a real high-performance team.”

Kearney finished up with Leinster in September and said he would gradually build up his loads over the coming weeks.

The 34-year-old is a rugby legend in his country, having made 95 Test appearances for Ireland and earning three Test caps for the British and Irish Lions.

Kearney’s arrival further bolsters a Force squad that went on a signing spree during the off-season.

Argentinian internationals Tomas Cubelli, Julian Montoya, Tomas Lezana, Santiago Medrano and Domingo Miotti have all signed, as well as Wallabies duo Tevita Kuridrani and Tom Robertson.

Former All Blacks Richard Kahui and Jeremy Thrush have re-signed from last year, giving the Force a huge international flavour.





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AFL 2021: Graham Arthur dead at 84, Hawthorn legend, first premiership captain, Australian Football Hall of Fame member


The AFL world is mourning the passing of Graham Arthur, an Australian Football Hall of Fame member and Hawthorn legend. He was 84.

Arthur was the Hawks’ first premiership captain, as a member of Kennedy’s Commandos under the late John Kennedy Sr, in 1961.

He played 232 games in the brown and gold, along with 12 for Victoria, captaining the side for nine seasons and winning three best-and-fairests (1955, 1958, 1962).

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Round 1

Arthur was named the captain of Hawthorn’s Team of the Century, and was an inaugural member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed checking out this post regarding Australian Sports updates published as “AFL 2021: Graham Arthur dead at 84, Hawthorn legend, first premiership captain, Australian Football Hall of Fame member”. This article was posted by MyLocalPages as part of our national news services.

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| Aldo Andretti, twin brother of racing legend Mario Andretti, dies at age 80Talking About Men’s Health™


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Aldo Andretti, twin brother of racing legend Mario Andretti, dies at age 80

Former motor racing driver Aldo Andretti, the twin brother of race legend Mario Andretti, died last Wednesday in Indianapolis at the age of 80.

His twin brother, race legend Mario Andretti, confirmed the news on Twitter last week. Aldo’s cause of death was due to coronavirus complications, according to Racer.

Aldo and Mario were born in Italy on Feb. 28, 1940, and both had a love for racing at an early age. While Aldo’s racing career was cut short after a violent crash in 1969, he was Mario’s biggest supporter and played a prominent role with Andretti Autosport. Mario went on to win the Daytona 500 in 1967 and Indy 500 in 1969.

Aldo’s son and fellow racer John Andretti died from colon cancer on Jan. 30, 2020. He was married and had five children, including John.

As of Monday, more than 350,000 people have died in the United States from COVID-19, according to the CDC.

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Arise Sir Lewis! F1 legend Hamilton knighted in New Year’s honours list | UK News



Seven-time Formula One title winner Lewis Hamilton has been given a knighthood in the New Year honours list.

The 35-year-old had previously been overlooked – reportedly due to his tax affairs and his move to Monaco in 2010.

But in November, Motorsport UK and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Formula One wrote to the prime minister saying it would be “totally wrong” to deny the champion a knighthood because his “tax status has been misunderstood”.

Others included in the New Year’s honours list include:

MBEs:

  • Singer and DJ Craig David
  • Coronation Street actress Sally Dynevor
  • Retired footballers Jimmy Greaves and Ron Flowers

OBEs:

  • Former EastEnders actress Nina Wadia
  • Screenwriter and Line of Duty producer Jed Mercurio
  • Actor Toby Jones

CBEs:

  • Academy Award nominee and actress Lesley Manville

Knighthood:

  • Two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins
  • Former attorney general Geoffrey Cox QC

Damehood:

  • Make-up artist Pat McGrath
  • Angela Eagle, long-time MP for Wallasey in Merseyside
  • Actress Sheila Hancock

Hamilton, 35, has been in the news recently after saying his success over the last year had been inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

He took the knee on the grid and wore anti-racism slogans during the motorsports season.

The honours system has been criticised as being too closely-linked to the UK’s colonial past, with titles linked to the Order of the British Empire.

In 2019, George The Poet revealed he had turned down an MBE because of the “pure evil” of the British Empire and “the colonial trauma inflicted on the children of Africa”.

A similar sentiment was expressed by poet Benjamin Zephaniah, who turned down an OBE in 2003, saying he was “profoundly anti-empire”.

Director Ken Loach refused an OBE in 1977, saying the British Empire “is a monument of exploitation and conquest” and Liverpool’s first black footballer Howard Gayle turned down an MBE in 2016 saying his ancestors “would be turning in their graves after how empire and colonialism had enslaved them”.

But the head of the Honours Secretariat at the Cabinet Office has said that, despite efforts to make the list more inclusive, the ’empire’ reference will remain.

Helen Ewen said: “There are no plans currently to make changes in this area – you’ve seen today that we’ve again seen a growth in the number of individuals in black and ethnic minority communities on this list, which we strongly welcome.”

This year’s list is the most diverse to date, with 14.2% of those honoured coming from black or minority ethnic backgrounds, while 6.9% have a disability and 4% identify as LGBTQ.

Also included in the list of honours is Kim Leadbeater, sister of murdered MP Jo Cox, who has been recognised for her work fighting social isolation.

She said: “I would have much preferred for my sister to be here carrying on the work she started on loneliness and so much else, but while this is sadly a bittersweet moment for our family, I know that Jo would be extremely proud.”



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Classique Legend flops in Hong Kong Sprint


Classique Legend, rated the premier thoroughbred sprinter in Australia before his recent export to Hong Kong, has made an inauspicious debut in the Asian racing hub.

Sent out one of the favourites to win the Hong Kong Sprint, Classique Legend finished 11th of the 14 runners.

A winner of the $15 million Everest at Randwick in October in his Australian swan song, Classique Legend was never a serious factor in the $A3.8 million race.

Classique Legend found interference and laboured in the straight after missing the start under Vincent Ho as the Japanese sprinter Danon Smash landed an upset for premier jockey Ryan Moore.

Classique Legend is owned by Hong Kong interests and was always earmarked for a career in Asia despite climbing to the top of Australia’s sprinting ranks under Sydney trainer Les Bridge.

Bridged trained Classique Legend to win six races from 12 starts.

The most important of those victories came in the Everest when Classique Legend scored a facile win from Bivouac and Gytrash.

The Sprint was one of four international races staged at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Danon Smash brought up an early international double for the incomparable Moore.

He rode Mogul, trained by Aidan O’Brien, to win the Hong Kong Vase – at 2400m the longest of the four features.

Ho made up for his Sprint disappointment when Golden Sixty extended his winning sequence to 11 victories in the Hong Kong Mile.

Australian jockey Zac Purton enjoyed success when Japanese runner Normcore won the Hong Kong Cup over 2000m.

Normcore delivered his challenge wide on the track and finished best to win with by three-quarters of a length.



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Pioneering black country music legend Charley Pride dies of COVID-19


Once called “the Jackie Robinson of country,” Pride grew tired of the never-ending questions about his skin colour and preferred to talk about his music.

“They used to ask me how it feels to be the ‘first coloured country singer.’ Then it was ‘first Negro country singer,’ then ‘first Black country singer.’ Now I’m the ‘first African-American country singer.’ That’s about the only thing that’s changed. This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it ‘skin hang-ups’ – it’s a disease,” he told The Dallas Morning News in 1992.

Country Music Hall of Famer Charley Pride.Credit:David Redfern/Redferns

Last month, Pride collected the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, becoming the first black artist to receive the honour since it was created in 2012.

The scaled-down version of the awards took place indoors at the Music City Centre convention hall under jittery circumstances, as several artists dropped out days ahead after testing positive for COVID-19. The Country Music Association said all stars had been tested multiple times for COVID-19 before performing. A request for “No drama, just music,” from the Country Music Association also drew criticism from fans in a year marked by historic protests over racial inequality.

The November 11 national telecast marked Pride’s last performance. Rising black country star Jimmie Allen introduced him, saying, “Here’s the truth, I might never have had a career in country music if it wasn’t for a truly groundbreaking artist who took his best shot and made the best kinda history in our genre.” Then the two sang a duet of Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’.

“Well, you might not believe but I’m nervous as can be,” said Pride in his acceptance speech.

Charley Frank Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi on March 18, 1934. One of 11 children raised by sharecropper parents, Pride sang from an early age, but his first true talent was pitching, fielding and hitting.

As a teenager working on the farm, he dreamed of following Jackie Robinson into major league baseball: “I said, ‘Here’s my way out of the cotton fields,” he told National Public Radio in 2017.

Pride left Mississippi in the 1950s to pitch in the Negro Leagues, eventually playing for teams in Memphis, Idaho, Wisconsin and Birmingham, Alabama, where he and another player were traded in exchange for a team bus, according to Pride’s 1994 autobiography, Pride: The Charley Pride Story, co-written with Jim Henderson.

He aimed for the majors, and even tried out with the California Angels and New York Mets, but injuries kept him out the big leagues. With encouragement from his coaches and from country star Red Foley, Pride launched his music career while still playing baseball. He started out modestly, performing in nightclubs around Montana, where he’d moved to play for the Missoula Timberjacks and where he later worked in construction and at a lead smelting plant.

His big break came in 1965, when he travelled to Nashville and convinced Chet Atkins to sign him to RCA Records. His first single, The Snakes Crawl At Night, flopped. But in 1966, he landed a Top 10 hit and a Grammy nomination with his third single, Just Between You And Me. From that point, his career skyrocketed.

For the next 20 years, Pride racked up hit after hit with songs as diverse as Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town, the reggae-style You’re My Jamaica and his chart-topping version of Hank Williams’ Honky Tonk Blues. He won a gospel performance Grammy for his 1971 song Let Me Live.

Critics dubbed his high-sheen country-pop sound “countrypolitan”. But Pride never tried to hide the twang and drawl in his singing voice, and he took great pride in his Southern roots.

“I’m really the epitome of American music, from gospel to blues to country, but country was the music I emulated the most,” he told The News.

In 1967, he became only the second Black musician to appear on the Grand Ole Opry – after harmonica player DeFord Bailey. Two years later, with his career exploding, Pride decided he needed to move from Montana to an area with a larger airport: While he considered heading back to the Deep South, he and his wife Rozene picked Dallas because it seemed more progressive. The couple lived for many years in a sprawling home in North Dallas.

“I grew up in a segregated society, and I didn’t want to subject my three kids to that,” he told The News in 2017. “We picked out what we thought was the best place for the kids, and also for travelling around the world, and you couldn’t find a better place for that than Dallas.”

When Pride started in Nashville, some people struggled with the concept of a Black singer performing what is essentially the music of white Southerners. In a 2017 interview with NPR, Pride recalled a Nashville publicist telling him “You look like them, but you sound like us.”

Yet in most interviews, Pride downplayed the role skin colour played in his career and said he was never jeered or booed by white audiences.

“Whenever I tell writers that, they look at me like they think I’m lying. But why would I lie? I’m a success. It would make a real sensational story if I talked about how this person called me this and that person called me that, but it never happened. Not once,” he told The News.

Pride scored his biggest hit in 1971 with the million-selling Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ , which crossed over to No. 21 on the pop charts and introduced him to a whole new audience. That same year, he won CMA awards for Entertainer of the Year and Top Male Vocalist.

After more than two decades of dominating the charts, Pride parted ways with RCA in the ’80s, and scored his last hit with 1989′s Moody Woman. Like a lot ageing country legends, he spoke out about an industry obsessed with young stars.

“Country music is becoming more like pop music all the time. They play the same 20 records over and over. Here I am, singing better than ever, and I can’t even get a record deal,” he told The News in 1992.

When Pride wasn’t working, he could often be spotted watching the Texas Rangers – he owned a minority interest in the team – and for years, he practiced with the team during spring training. But he never stopped performing. He continued to put out new albums and tour into his 80s.

“When you go onstage and you got a whole audience singing backup to every word of your song, it’s one of those things that gets in your blood,” he told The News in 2017. “You just love it, and it’s hard to stop.”

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Pioneering black country music legend Charley Pride dies of COVID-19


Once called “the Jackie Robinson of country,” Pride grew tired of the never-ending questions about his skin colour and preferred to talk about his music.

“They used to ask me how it feels to be the ‘first coloured country singer.’ Then it was ‘first Negro country singer,’ then ‘first Black country singer.’ Now I’m the ‘first African-American country singer.’ That’s about the only thing that’s changed. This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it ‘skin hang-ups’ – it’s a disease,” he told The Dallas Morning News in 1992.

Last month, Pride collected the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, becoming the first black artist to receive the honour since it was created in 2012.

The scaled-down version of the awards took place indoors at the Music City Centre convention hall under jittery circumstances, as several artists dropped out days ahead after testing positive for COVID-19. The Country Music Association said all stars had been tested multiple times for COVID-19 before performing. A request for “No drama, just music,” from the Country Music Association also drew criticism from fans in a year marked by historic protests over racial inequality.

The November 11 national telecast marked Pride’s last performance. Rising black country star Jimmie Allen introduced him, saying, “Here’s the truth, I might never have had a career in country music if it wasn’t for a truly groundbreaking artist who took his best shot and made the best kinda history in our genre.” Then the two sang a duet of Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’.

“Well, you might not believe but I’m nervous as can be,” said Pride in his acceptance speech.

Charley Frank Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi on March 18, 1934. One of 11 children raised by sharecropper parents, Pride sang from an early age, but his first true talent was pitching, fielding and hitting.

As a teenager working on the farm, he dreamed of following Jackie Robinson into major league baseball: “I said, ‘Here’s my way out of the cotton fields,” he told National Public Radio in 2017.

Pride left Mississippi in the 1950s to pitch in the Negro Leagues, eventually playing for teams in Memphis, Idaho, Wisconsin and Birmingham, Alabama, where he and another player were traded in exchange for a team bus, according to Pride’s 1994 autobiography, Pride: The Charley Pride Story, co-written with Jim Henderson.

He aimed for the majors, and even tried out with the California Angels and New York Mets, but injuries kept him out the big leagues. With encouragement from his coaches and from country star Red Foley, Pride launched his music career while still playing baseball. He started out modestly, performing in nightclubs around Montana, where he’d moved to play for the Missoula Timberjacks and where he later worked in construction and at a lead smelting plant.

His big break came in 1965, when he travelled to Nashville and convinced Chet Atkins to sign him to RCA Records. His first single, The Snakes Crawl At Night, flopped. But in 1966, he landed a Top 10 hit and a Grammy nomination with his third single, Just Between You And Me. From that point, his career skyrocketed.

For the next 20 years, Pride racked up hit after hit with songs as diverse as Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town, the reggae-style You’re My Jamaica and his chart-topping version of Hank Williams’ Honky Tonk Blues. He won a gospel performance Grammy for his 1971 song Let Me Live.

Critics dubbed his high-sheen country-pop sound “countrypolitan”. But Pride never tried to hide the twang and drawl in his singing voice, and he took great pride in his Southern roots.

“I’m really the epitome of American music, from gospel to blues to country, but country was the music I emulated the most,” he told The News.

In 1967, he became only the second Black musician to appear on the Grand Ole Opry – after harmonica player DeFord Bailey. Two years later, with his career exploding, Pride decided he needed to move from Montana to an area with a larger airport: While he considered heading back to the Deep South, he and his wife Rozene picked Dallas because it seemed more progressive. The couple lived for many years in a sprawling home in North Dallas.

“I grew up in a segregated society, and I didn’t want to subject my three kids to that,” he told The News in 2017. “We picked out what we thought was the best place for the kids, and also for travelling around the world, and you couldn’t find a better place for that than Dallas.”

When Pride started in Nashville, some people struggled with the concept of a Black singer performing what is essentially the music of white Southerners. In a 2017 interview with NPR, Pride recalled a Nashville publicist telling him “You look like them, but you sound like us.”

Yet in most interviews, Pride downplayed the role skin colour played in his career and said he was never jeered or booed by white audiences.

“Whenever I tell writers that, they look at me like they think I’m lying. But why would I lie? I’m a success. It would make a real sensational story if I talked about how this person called me this and that person called me that, but it never happened. Not once,” he told The News.

Pride scored his biggest hit in 1971 with the million-selling Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ , which crossed over to No. 21 on the pop charts and introduced him to a whole new audience. That same year, he won CMA awards for Entertainer of the Year and Top Male Vocalist.

After more than two decades of dominating the charts, Pride parted ways with RCA in the ’80s, and scored his last hit with 1989′s Moody Woman. Like a lot ageing country legends, he spoke out about an industry obsessed with young stars.

“Country music is becoming more like pop music all the time. They play the same 20 records over and over. Here I am, singing better than ever, and I can’t even get a record deal,” he told The News in 1992.

When Pride wasn’t working, he could often be spotted watching the Texas Rangers – he owned a minority interest in the team – and for years, he practiced with the team during spring training. But he never stopped performing. He continued to put out new albums and tour into his 80s.

“When you go onstage and you got a whole audience singing backup to every word of your song, it’s one of those things that gets in your blood,” he told The News in 2017. “You just love it, and it’s hard to stop.”

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Grunderzeit can break drought for Leeton legend Peter Clancy


This time in a week, former Godolphin galloper Grunderzeit will be 1500 days without a win, unless that is, he can break the drought at Wagga on Monday.

The son of Street Cry out of Snitzel’s sister, Viennese, is a winner of five races from his 40 starts.

In his prime, there was no better ‘Canterbury horse’ than Grunderzeit which accumulated five wins from his first six visits there.

Grunderzeit debuted in a midweeker at Warwick Farm in the race won by Wandjina no less, the future Australian Guineas winner.

The Form: Complete NSW Racing thoroughbred form, including video replays and all you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!

Grunderzeit was ridden that afternoon by Tim Clark which bears some irony, given that the horse is now stationed with his old boss, Leeton legend — Peter Clancy, who has picked out Monday’s Menz Plant Handicap (1200m) for the apparently rejuvenated nine-year-old.

“We bought him as a tried horse and he was very highly weighted in all his races and was very disappointing,’’ Clancy said.

“He was getting beaten a long way but he was a very unhappy horse. We thought we would give him a big spell and give him one more chance so we tipped him out for six months and he’s come back and at the moment he is happy.’’

That was clear to anyone who has been monitoring Grunderzeit’s trials.

He was never let go in either of the 1000m Wagga heats, winning his November 23 hit-out with plenty up the sleeve.

“I was happy with his trials and I expect him to go all right,’’ Clancy said.

Clancy also saddles-up the consistent gelding Crimson Hoffa who is blessed with a ‘winning draw’ in the Ladex Construction Group Class 2 Handicap over 1200m.

“It is about the first time he has drawn a decent barrier so he should run an improved race,’’ Clancy said.

“Earlier on he was a fair bit of a problem for us because he would draw outside all the time and we drove him forward and then he got over-racing so I think he is probably better with the shorter distance.

“He can get a mile but he is probably better off over 1200m and with the draw he’s got on Monday, hopefully he can take a good spot.’’

Interestingly, Crimson Hoffa, his dam and grand-dam, are all winners at Wagga.

Clancy himself trained Crimson Hoffa’s dam, Switch To Diamond, who won five times beginning with a maiden at Wagga when ridden by Peter Robl.

Grand-dam, Better Alice also retired with five wins, her Wagga victory came as a two-year-old in May 1989 when partnered by the late Ken Russell.

Meanwhile, Blaike McDougall will be short odds to win the race named in honour of his Country Jockeys Premiership win in the 2019/20 season.

McDougall, who has already established a commanding lead in his title defence, rides likely race favourite, Clem Fandango, for Matthew Dale.

A close relation to Coolmore Stud Stakes winner and Newgate Farm resident stallion Flying Artie, McDougall’s mount was an emphatic winner in Canberra prior to his distant third there at his last outing.

TUNCURRY DOUBLE IS JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERS

Given her 126 starts and constant presence around the stable, trainer Jeff Englebrecht will miss not seeing the appropriately-named The Iron Maiden every morning.

Although the mare has retired now, Englebrecht won’t be hanging up her familiar colours anytime soon with much still to do with Tuncurry bound The Crimson Idol and The Neon Knight.

Both horses are owned by long-time Englebrecht client and friend, Dr Ule Crosson, who shared the 2015 ATC Inglis 2YO Classic via Lady Jivago.

Since then, most of the good Doctor’s horses have had a theme — heavy metal.

The mild mannered GP by day, Metallica fan by night.

The Neon Knight, named after a Black Sabbath song, is showing considerable promise and only has to overcome her wide draw and she will return home to Wyong with her maiden out of the way.

“The form around here from last time in has stuck up fairly well so they weren’t just slow horses that were beating her home,’’ Englebrecht says.

The All Too Hard filly was runner-up at three of her five starts, the last one of which was at Taree when touched out by subsequent TAB Highway winner, Charmebaby.

‘’She has got plenty of speed if you want to use it. We’re trying to get her to hold back a little bit. From the gate (barrier 10) on Monday it’s hard to say where she will end up.

“It’s weather she can lump the 59kg first-up, that’s all, but I think she is strong enough. She is a wide filly, not a narrow looking filly.’’

For the uninitiated, The Crimson Idol was a 1992 album by a band called W.A.S.P.

Thankfully, Dr Crosson chose it for his horse and not their previous album, The Headless Children.

As for the horse, she is way down in class on Monday at Tuncurry having finished fourth and within two and a half lengths of Burst’s grand-daughter, Trajection, is Heat 2 of the Summer Provincial Series (1350m) at Wyong 11-days ago.

‘’It was a decent race and her fourth at Kembla two starts prior was a good run too,’’ says Englebrecht.

“The 1400m is probably going to help her and Couru raced on Saturday so there will be a bit less speed in the race so she should get a good run.’’



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Wagga races: Grunderzeit can break drought for Leeton legend Peter Clancy


This time in a week, former Godolphin galloper Grunderzeit will be 1500 days without a win, unless that is, he can break the drought at Wagga on Monday.

The son of Street Cry out of Snitzel’s sister, Viennese, is a winner of five races from his 40 starts.

In his prime, there was no better ‘Canterbury horse’ than Grunderzeit which accumulated five wins from his first six visits there.

Grunderzeit debuted in a midweeker at Warwick Farm in the race won by Wandjina no less, the future Australian Guineas winner.

The Form: Complete NSW Racing thoroughbred form, including video replays and all you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!

Grunderzeit was ridden that afternoon by Tim Clark which bears some irony, given that the horse is now stationed with his old boss, Leeton legend — Peter Clancy, who has picked out Monday’s Menz Plant Handicap (1200m) for the apparently rejuvenated nine-year-old.

“We bought him as a tried horse and he was very highly weighted in all his races and was very disappointing,’’ Clancy said.

“He was getting beaten a long way but he was a very unhappy horse. We thought we would give him a big spell and give him one more chance so we tipped him out for six months and he’s come back and at the moment he is happy.’’

That was clear to anyone who has been monitoring Grunderzeit’s trials.

He was never let go in either of the 1000m Wagga heats, winning his November 23 hit-out with plenty up the sleeve.

“I was happy with his trials and I expect him to go all right,’’ Clancy said.

Clancy also saddles-up the consistent gelding Crimson Hoffa who is blessed with a ‘winning draw’ in the Ladex Construction Group Class 2 Handicap over 1200m.

“It is about the first time he has drawn a decent barrier so he should run an improved race,’’ Clancy said.

media_cameraPeter Clancy is expecting an improved performance from the rejuvenated nine-year-old.

“Earlier on he was a fair bit of a problem for us because he would draw outside all the time and we drove him forward and then he got over-racing so I think he is probably better with the shorter distance.

“He can get a mile but he is probably better off over 1200m and with the draw he’s got on Monday, hopefully he can take a good spot.’’

Interestingly, Crimson Hoffa, his dam and grand-dam, are all winners at Wagga.

Clancy himself trained Crimson Hoffa’s dam, Switch To Diamond, who won five times beginning with a maiden at Wagga when ridden by Peter Robl.

Grand-dam, Better Alice also retired with five wins, her Wagga victory came as a two-year-old in May 1989 when partnered by the late Ken Russell.

Meanwhile, Blaike McDougall will be short odds to win the race named in honour of his Country Jockeys Premiership win in the 2019/20 season.

McDougall, who has already established a commanding lead in his title defence, rides likely race favourite, Clem Fandango, for Matthew Dale.

A close relation to Coolmore Stud Stakes winner and Newgate Farm resident stallion Flying Artie, McDougall’s mount was an emphatic winner in Canberra prior to his distant third there at his last outing.

Racing heads to Wagga and Tuncurry on Monday afternoon.
media_cameraRacing heads to Wagga and Tuncurry on Monday afternoon.

TUNCURRY DOUBLE IS JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERS

Given her 126 starts and constant presence around the stable, trainer Jeff Englebrecht will miss not seeing the appropriately-named The Iron Maiden every morning.

Although the mare has retired now, Englebrecht won’t be hanging up her familiar colours anytime soon with much still to do with Tuncurry bound The Crimson Idol and The Neon Knight.

Both horses are owned by long-time Englebrecht client and friend, Dr Ule Crosson, who shared the 2015 ATC Inglis 2YO Classic via Lady Jivago.

Since then, most of the good Doctor’s horses have had a theme — heavy metal.

The mild mannered GP by day, Metallica fan by night.

The Neon Knight, named after a Black Sabbath song, is showing considerable promise and only has to overcome her wide draw and she will return home to Wyong with her maiden out of the way.

“The form around here from last time in has stuck up fairly well so they weren’t just slow horses that were beating her home,’’ Englebrecht says.

The All Too Hard filly was runner-up at three of her five starts, the last one of which was at Taree when touched out by subsequent TAB Highway winner, Charmebaby.

‘’She has got plenty of speed if you want to use it. We’re trying to get her to hold back a little bit. From the gate (barrier 10) on Monday it’s hard to say where she will end up.

“It’s weather she can lump the 59kg first-up, that’s all, but I think she is strong enough. She is a wide filly, not a narrow looking filly.’’

For the uninitiated, The Crimson Idol was a 1992 album by a band called W.A.S.P.

Thankfully, Dr Crosson chose it for his horse and not their previous album, The Headless Children.

As for the horse, she is way down in class on Monday at Tuncurry having finished fourth and within two and a half lengths of Burst’s grand-daughter, Trajection, is Heat 2 of the Summer Provincial Series (1350m) at Wyong 11-days ago.

‘’It was a decent race and her fourth at Kembla two starts prior was a good run too,’’ says Englebrecht.

“The 1400m is probably going to help her and Couru raced on Saturday so there will be a bit less speed in the race so she should get a good run.’’

Originally published as Wagga preview: Underestimate a ‘happy’ horse at your peril



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NRL, rugby league legend depression, epilepsy diagnosis


Rugby league icon Wally Lewis famously had an epileptic seizure live on air while reading the sport for Channel 9 news in Brisbane in 2009.

The episode finally forced the 61-year-old to have the brain surgery he had done everything possible to avoid.

The operation to remove a piece of his brain 5cm by 3cm has always been credited as the moment his life was saved.

In many, many ways, the operation saved his life. But his ongoing depression battle followed him beyond his surgery.

It took a committed routine of antidepressants to finally reveal the true Lewis.

The true Lewis was a friendly, caring, gentleman — a man many of his teammates never knew existed.

It’s because Lewis’ secret epilepsy diagnosis was hidden from almost everyone until his on-air episode on Channel 9.

He kept the secret for 21 years from everyone outside his family and a couple of Queensland teammates.

He has previously talked about how the secret weighed him down. How it left him depressed.

He revealed 11 years ago the condition was triggered by repeated concussion cases, beginning from the age of 19.

Hiding his secret for so long consumed Lewis.

He has revealed further details of his traumatic journey in his new autobiography My Life: Wally Lewis.

Lewis’ mental health battles didn’t end with the surgery.

“I had suicidal thoughts and found myself crying uncontrollably, for no reason,” he says in the book, as first reported by The Courier-Mail.

“I needed someone with me at all times.”

In the book he reveals his darkest moment.

He admits to walking out onto the private pontoon out the back of his Brisbane home and wanting to jump in.

“Another time I walked down to the pontoon on the canal at the back of the house and considered jumping in,” he says.

“The thought was actually there – that day. If I was going to suicide that’s when I would have done it. (Jackie) never left me alone after that.”

Between the surgery, his medication and his famous fighting spirit, Lewis, was a new man within months.

He was back reading the news on Nine 10 months later.

It has still been no picnic.

He revealed in 2017 the surgery has left him with restricted language and cognitive skills, acute memory loss and painful headaches.

The ongoing struggle hasn’t stopped the true Lewis from showing his true colours.

He smiles warmly now like he never did during his 21 years of secrecy.

His friends now smile back knowing they’ve finally got their mate back. The King was back.

My Life: Wally Lewis, $39.99 from QBD and Dymocks. Limited hardback signed copies, $59.99 at www.stevehaddan.com.au



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