AFL 2021: Mark Brayshaw resigns, AFL Coaches Association, medicinal cannabis, coach payouts, coach contracts


The outgoing AFL Coaches Association CEO has teed off at the league for allowing a “disgraceful” six-month payout clause for senior coaches, claiming it allows “moron boards” to sack their coaches with little repercussion.

In late 2019, the AFL put into place a maximum six-month settlement for any new coaching deals at an AFL-funded club regardless of the length of the contract.

The move was made to avoid any more million-dollar payouts to sacked senior coaches, but Mark Brayshaw, who announced he is leaving the AFLCA after six years to take join a medicinal cannabis company, unloaded on the change as he left.

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CEO Mark Brayshaw resigns from AFL Coaches’ Association to pursue medicinal cannabis venture


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He was a candidate for the North Melbourne CEO job that Ben Amarfio eventually won and his three boys, Angus, Andrew and Hamish, have all been on AFL lists, with Angus and Andrew high-profile midfielders at Melbourne and Fremantle.

However, the coronavirus pandemic led to an upheaval in football departments with clubs standing down coaching staff and the AFL leading a narrative that claimed the game was poorer due to the proliferation of coaches.

The AFL also cut the football department cap from
$9.7 million to $6.2 million a year in 2021, which led to many coaches leaving or seeking work in football at the community level and some disquiet with the league’s regard for the coaching role.

In a statement Brayshaw said he had loved the job he held for six years.

“The coaches have inspired me with their work ethic, empathy and candour. I’m lost in admiration for the role they play in our game and have been very grateful for the support I’ve received from them and this wonderful industry,” Brayshaw said.

After such a tumultuous year, in which Rhyce Shaw parted ways with North Melbourne for personal reasons, and the personal lives of respected coaches making headlines, senior coaches such as Hawthorn’s Alastair Clarkson have expressed concern about the future of the profession.

The AFLCA will canvass members before beginning their search in February with Brayshaw to remain in the position until April.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and cabinet resign over child welfare payment scandal


The move was seen as largely symbolic; Rutte’s government will remain in office in a caretaker mode until a new coalition is formed after a March 17 election in the Netherlands.

The resignation brings to an end a decade in office for Rutte, although his party is expected to win the election, putting him first in line to begin talks to form the next government. If he succeeds in forming a new coalition, Rutte would most likely again become prime minister.

Geert Wilders, leader of the largest opposition party in the Dutch parliament said it was the right decision for the government to quit.

“Innocent people have been criminalised, their lives destroyed and parliament was informed about it inaccurately and incompletely,” he tweeted.

The Netherlands is the third European country thrown into political uncertainty this week in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. In Estonia, the government resigned over a corruption scandal, while Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s governing coalition is at risk of collapse after one party withdrew its support.

Rutte said earlier this week that his government would be able to keep taking tough policy decisions in the battle against the coronavirus even if it were in caretaker mode. The Netherlands is in a tough lockdown until at least February 9, and the government is considering imposing an overnight curfew amid fears about new, more contagious variants of the virus.

“To the Netherlands I say: Our struggle against the coronavirus will continue,” Rutte said.

Jesse Klaver, the leader of one opposition party, told national broadcaster NOS he would continue to support the government in its coronavirus campaign.

On Thursday, localtime, the leader of the opposition Labor Party stepped down because he was minister of social affairs in a coalition led by Rutte when the country’s tax office implemented a tough policy of tracking down fraudulent child welfare claims.

A sitting minister, Eric Wiebes, who also was linked to the scandal, said Friday he was resigning with immediate effect and would not be part of the caretaker administration.

At Friday’s Cabinet meeting, ministers decided their reaction to a scathing parliamentary report issued last month, titled Unprecedented Injustice, that said the tax office policies violated “fundamental principles of the rule of law.” The report also criticised the government for the way it provided information to parliament about the scandal.

Many wrongfully accused parents were plunged into debt when tax officials demanded repayment of payments. The government has in the past apologised for the tax office’s methods and in March earmarked 500 million euros ($784 million) to compensate more than 20,000 parents.

In a written reaction, the government pledged to reform the welfare system as a result of the scandal and to quickly pay affected parents 30,000 euros ($47,000) and expand existing compensation schemes.

“Everything is aimed at offering the parents and their children a new start in life,” the government said.

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One of the parents waited near parliament as the Cabinet met and said she wanted it to resign.

“It’s important for me because it is the government acknowledging, ‘We have made a mistake and we are taking responsibility,’ because it’s quite something what happened to us,” Janet Ramesar told The Associated Press.

Rutte plans to lead his conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy into the March election, and polls suggest it will win the most seats. That would put Rutte, who has been in office for a decade at the head of three different coalitions, first in line to attempt to form the next ruling coalition.

But he said that it was up to voters at the election to decide on his future, noting that he took ultimate responsibility for failings within his government.

“The buck stops here,” he said.

AP

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Mark McGowan’s hot and humid pork barreling bush tour


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By the Liberal count this would mean trying to find $2.8 billion of savings in the state budget over the next four years, a figure relating to the initiatives Labor has switched to being funded out of RFR instead of the consolidated account.

Committing to the Nationals’ key re-election platform would open the opposition to an easy line of attack on their ability to manage the state’s books and debt which was targeted with success by Mr McGowan just four years ago.

Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup’s opening strategy to start the year has been minimising himself as a target for Mr McGowan.

He was aided by billionaire Clive Palmer excising himself from the election in all forms early in the week.

Zak Kirkup in Mount Lawley with a voter and a pug.Credit:WAtoday

Mr McGowan had loved to tout Mr Palmer as public enemy number one and demonise the Liberals by association after the billionaire claimed his preferences and attack ads on federal Labor helped Scott Morrison to his 2019 election win.

Mr Kirkup also distanced himself from Colin Barnett’s failed bid to sell Western Power by reiterating former Opposition Leader Liza Harvey’s November promise that the entity would not be privatised.

Asset sell-offs are not on the cards this time around for the opposition but Labor will get creative and paint the Liberal energy proposal to enable private competition with Synergy as the thin edge of the wedge towards total privitisation.

WA learns Mark McGowan’s weakness

After facing off with New South Wales and continuing to see off COVID-19 community outbreaks through his conservative border stance, the public got a glimpse of what makes the premier really sweat.

Heat and humidity.

Mr McGowan’s milk run trip from Kununurra to Karratha on Tuesday and Wednesday was sweltering with most days above or touching 40 degrees.

This is really something. Hold on, I never sweat, oh jeez. Okay. Yep.

Mark McGowan on the Broome heat

The premier told reporters in Broome he never sweats but had to mop his brow a few times outside Sun Pictures to get through a 20 minute press conference, with high humidity suffocating the town as locals wait for a big drop of rain.

WA Premier Mark McGowan talks to Karratha locals at the Grand Central Tavern in Nickol.

WA Premier Mark McGowan talks to Karratha locals at the Grand Central Tavern in Nickol.Credit:Facebook

North West residents were still generally happy to see Mr McGowan, who has attained celebrity status in WA, out and about and perspiring in their part of the world.

And they had $368.3 million reasons to be pleased, with key infrastructure projects promised over the next few years and a pledge to put a cap on plane tickets for regional residents.

There have been several inquiries at a state and federal level into airline prices with evidence of regional West Australians being slogged more than $1000 at times for a one-way flight to or from Perth.

The cost of expensive flights can be crippling and is one of the biggest downsides of living in the bush at times when residents have medical or family emergencies.

A cynical regional voter might scratch their head as to why the government is committing to subsidising their airfares when Labor had positioned itself against a mass underwriting of flights in the past.

At $19.8 million set aside for the new program over three years, or $6.6 million annually, the figure seems like a relatively low sum considering how much of the nation’s wealth comes out of the rich resources in the regions.

As a comparison, Labor has spent around $7 million a year on incentivising logistics companies to put more freight on rail rather than the roads in and out of Fremantle Port.

Nationals Leader Mia Davies was quick this week to point out disparities between country and metropolitan life.

“The Nationals WA have been pushing for action from this Labor Government on regional airfare affordability for years,” she said.

“If Labor can afford a multi-billion-dollar project like Metronet to expand public transport in Perth, similar efforts should be made to reduce the cost of regional airfares, which many depend on as an essential part of the state’s transport network.”

Why the regional blitz so early?

More and more voters have been turning to early polling in recent years and major parties want to get their main messages out there in time to have any influence.

For Labor they are hoping to capitalise on the goodwill for a popular government and grab more control in the parliament’s upper house.

The upper house’s structure favours the Liberal and National alliance but has historically meant Labor requires a lot of cross-bench support to pass its legislative agenda.

With 35 seats, sans speaker, a government requires 18 votes to pass any laws.

Labor had 14 seats in the first McGowan term but only 13 votes with one of its members, Kate Doust, taking on the president role.

This has meant Labor has often relied on the Greens and at least one cross-bench vote in the past four years.

Now here’s why the regions matter when it comes to the government as a whole.

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Labor runs 18 candidates across the six upper house districts — each made up of six representatives — and is a good chance to pick up extra seats in the Mining and Pastoral and South West regions in March after narrowly missing out on sweeping the electorates in 2017.

Mining and Pastoral covers the Kimberley, Pilbara, and Goldfields, with the latter getting a visit from Mr McGowan and his bag of election promises on Friday.

Labor’s Mining and Pastoral number three candidate Peter Foster, a local government councillor in Tom Price, was narrowly pipped on preferences at the last election.

He said he was hopeful all three Labor candidates would get over the line this year for his district.

“People who say they don’t normally vote Labor, are saying they’ll vote for Mark because they feel safe,” Mr Foster said.

A steady stream of community projects and the progressing sealing of the Manuwarra Red Dog Highway, a key dirt road between Tom Price and Karratha, has added to a positive outlook for the party according to Mr Foster.

“I think that’s what people care about most. They want to see money in the regions,” he said.

The promises you might have missed this week

There were a lot.

Thankfully WAtoday has put them all into a promise tracker that will be updated throughout the course of the election.

To summarise the past week, Labor promised $394,315,000 while the Liberals offered up about a third of that amount with $129,575,000.

Mr Kirkup has been dusting off several of Ms Harvey’s election promises she made before stepping down, but has basically gotten through his re-announcement period and started getting into the rest of the party’s policy box.

Liberal candidate for Fremantle Miquela Riley, Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup and Deputy Leader Libby Mettam handling rock lobsters at the Fremantle fishing harbour.

Liberal candidate for Fremantle Miquela Riley, Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup and Deputy Leader Libby Mettam handling rock lobsters at the Fremantle fishing harbour.Credit:Facebook

On Thursday he grabbed the cray-fish by the antenna and revealed a $38 million fisheries package.

The promise included $10 million to find new markets for WA seafood and a bid to double the crayfish industry’s size over the next decade.

The latter might be a bit hard to deliver considering China pays the most and until recently bought 90 per cent of the state’s rock lobster stock prior to its live cray ban.

A discovery of new countries with the appetite and spending capacity of the not so Sleeping Dragon would probably be the second biggest find of the 2020s after the vaccine for COVID-19.

With a lot of WA’s population based around coastal areas, Mr Kirkup has made a lot of promises to date based around fishing and swimming.

These have included protecting the Cockburn Sound and to “take” sharks which threatened humans.

The anti-shark rhetoric continued with Thursday’s announcement which was sprinkled with mentions of expanding the shark fishery in the south and possibly re-establishing a fishery in the north so anglers can wind in their catches without losing half of it to the ocean predators.

There are 630,000 recreational fishers in the state, according to the peak angling lobby group, which is a bit more than a fifth of WA residents.

With so many of us unable to leave the state and instead exploring our own backyards, Mr Kirkup is tapping into the issues which impact daily West Australian life in the great outdoors as long as COVID-19 is kept at bay.

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Mark Wright tells ‘Covid deniers’ the virus is terrifying after family illness


Mark Wright has hit out at those who have denied that coronavirus is a real illness after his dad and uncle were struck down by the virus.

The 33-year-old former TOWIE star has passionately hit out at ‘Covid deniers’ after revealing that the virus has had an effect close to home and said that it was far worse that ‘just a cold’.

Writing in The Sun, the reality star described the symptoms his dad experienced before detailing the “horrendous” after effect of the virus, after a negative test had been provided.

Mark said that after seeing how his family members have struggled with the virus, he said that conspiracy theorists “frustrate the life out of me” and that “death counts are not accurate when they say stuff like ‘died with’ not ‘died of'”.



Mark Wright with his father, who has suffered the effects of Covid

Speaking about his dad contracting coronavirus, Mark said that he had “weird symptoms” which started with what “felt like he had a bit of grit in his eye”.

He said that his father then felt “bloated, as if he had acid in his stomach.”

Eventually, his dad was admitted to hospital after his “oxygen levels were too low”.

Mark wrote that while some people experience Covid like it is a cold, he said that the death counts are “terrifying”.



Mark Wright has spoken out against conspiracy theorists
Mark Wright has spoken out against conspiracy theorists

Pictures of empty corridors in hospitals are misleading according to Mark and that you would be “off your head” if you didn’t believe Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assertions that the NHS could be overrun.

Mark also indicated that his brother Josh, who is a professional footballer, has “suffered terribly” with the after effects of the virus.

He said that his sibling still “can’t smell or taste” and warned his fans that “this virus is horrendous.”

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Mark Taylor, Tim Paine defend Steve Smith over shadow batting furore


Smith, however, has been urged by captain Tim Paine to review his behaviour in order to avoid similar controversies in the future.

One former international teammate close to Smith believes he was too traumatised by the ball-tampering episode and his 12 months out of the international game to consider deploying underhand tactics.

Australian players have launched a strident defence of Steve Smith against claims of unsportsmanlike conduct.Credit:AP

It was also noted Smith did not take part in the verbal exchanges that prompted debate about Australia’s on-field conduct.

There was a strong response from Australian players to the criticism directed at Smith, including from former captain and Cricket Australia director Taylor, who is noted for his even-handed analysis and commentary.

Taylor believed Smith, who took guard as a left-hander in the footage that went viral on social media, was attempting to put himself in the shoes of a captain to work out how to dismiss Pant.

“I can recall doing similar things myself when I was captain and [Shane] Warney was bowling,” Taylor said.

“You stand roughly where the batsman is going to stand, look at where the rough is going to be and work out ‘is your bowler bowling too short, too full’, those sorts of things.

“I don’t think it would be any more than that. I dare say the people who are making these comments, and I don’t know who they are, are making more of a name for themselves rather than actually commentating on the bloody game. I think there’s a few conspiracy theories going on out there.”

Paine refuted allegations Smith was trying to deceive Pant by scratching a new mark, saying his teammate was “really disappointed” how his actions had been interpreted.

“Steve’s quite upset about it,” Paine said. “It’s something we always have a laugh about because he just loves batting so much and even when he’s out on the field he’s shadow batting and marking centre,” Paine said.

“I’m sure if people are happy to look back at the footage, you’ll see it happens probably more than once a Test match with Steve.

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“There’s no way in the world he was trying to change Rishabh Pant’s guard or anything like that. Now that it’s come up as it has, it’s something he might have to look at because of the perception of it.”

Lloyd was scathing in a column for the Daily Mail. “Let’s start with Steve Smith’s decision to rake his size nines on the crease where Rishabh Pant had marked his guard,” Lloyd wrote. “That was plain childish. He’s trying to irritate the batsman.

“But with all the cameras around these days, and Smith’s history with the sandpaper, you have to reach the conclusion that he can’t have two brain cells to rub together.

“What was he thinking – if he was thinking anything at all? If I’d been umpiring that game, I’d have gone straight to the captain to tell him that I’m reporting his player, and that he’s got to take responsibility for the behaviour of his team. Absolutely disgraceful.”

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Tim Pain’s huge target a mark of respect for India on day when they deserved more


Tim Paine looks on as officials investigate a report of crowd abuse at the SCG on Sunday.Credit:Getty

Before Paine’s declaration, Australia’s innings was no easy procession towards setting a target. For much of the day, they were forced to eke out their runs against an Indian attack missing the injured Ravindra Jadeja.

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Marnus Labuschagne completed twin half-centuries for the match, while Steve Smith was ropable at missing out on twin centuries. Such are the differences between a mini-me and a me. Smith’s return to his run-making ways has been so complete that he has moved from anxiety to irritation.

If he had made the century he wanted, it would have been one of his slowest and hardest-earned. If Smith’s revival has filled in a gap in the slide puzzle of Australia’s batting, Matthew Wade has opened up another. We are all permitted our favourites, and Wade is one of mine. It’s a matter of personal taste, and I admire his team-first approach to cricket. Is he a genuine Test No.5? Probably not quite, but he was not a genuine Test opener either, and he still stepped into that role knowing he was putting his career at risk, just as he has done whenever his captain has asked him to sacrifice his average to lift the run rate.

Paine congratulates Cameron Green on his half-century.

Paine congratulates Cameron Green on his half-century.Credit:AP

In Sydney, Wade has had to press against a tide that, at the age of 33, seemed to have finally turned against him. He played with a run-hungry attitude in both innings but got himself out. In the field, catches constantly eluded him. What he would have given for a couple of Cameron Green’s inches. If Wade should lose his spot after this match, the Australians will be sorry to lose a true team player.

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It was Green’s innings that provided the most stimulating subplot. The 21-year-old battled to score, as had everyone else, and was lucky to survive some early scares when he closed his bat face dangerously on the slow pitch. Once Paine joined him and made noises about the declaration, however, Green found his freedom and hit some towering blows over the on-side to complement his more classical cover-driving. We can only hope that the Twenty20 recruiters were not watching.

Green even did the right thing by his captain at the end, getting out for 84 before he could prompt uncomfortable questions about whether a declaration should be delayed even further to give him time to make a hundred.

India’s progress, in a long final session, gave Paine enough to worry about but not enough for nightmares. Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma were critical to India’s hopes. Both threatened, producing the most attractive batting of the game, but both were ultimately cut short. Josh Hazlewood, who had created enough scares for a haunted house, eventually secured Gill’s wicket.

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Late in the day, Patrick Cummins had Rohit caught on the boundary, a mode not previously seen in this Roundhead battle.

The rope where Rohit holed out was in front of the Brewongle Stand, from which six spectators had earlier been ejected after Indian players accused them of abuse.

As long as the matter remained under investigation, the exact nature of the alleged abuse was being debated. But from all accounts, the kindest interpretation of the taunts was that they were witless and stupid. If the Brewongle Six were Australian patriots, they would have done well to follow their captain’s example and treat our guests with respect.

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Clive Palmer says Mark McGowan can ‘breathe easy’, United Australia Party will not contest election


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Mr Palmer accused the WA Premier of repeatedly attacking him, saying Mr McGowan was still facing defamation actions.

“I have had my lawyers write to him over Christmas saying that I will remove those actions even though everyone knows he is guilty,” he said.

“Christmas is a time for forgiveness and mercy walks hand-in-hand with justice.

“The Liberal Party in WA has the chance to be better than it has been and stand on its own feet.”

Despite being 10 days into the New Year, Mr Palmer said Christmas was a time of forgiveness in the media statement released on Sunday in which he also advised Mr McGowan to take some time off.

“I wish the people of WA the best for the New Year and that they continue to benefit from my investment in the great state,’’ he said.

“Mark, I recommend that you take some time off over this period, relax and enjoy yourself.’’

Mr Palmer spent $84 million on the 2019 federal election and his company Mineralogy reportedly put about $4.6 million into his party ahead of the 2020 Queensland election.

Electoral reforms promised by Labor to be in force before 2021 – which were tabled late in the government’s first term, not made a priority, and never passed parliament – had proposed limiting third party advertising spending in an election to $2 million.

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Mark Newnham has Sydney Cup plans for Spirit Ridge


Mark Newnham will let his impressive import Spirit Ridge shoot for Group 1 glory in the autumn after he won back-to-back cup races at Randwick.

The six-year-old was even better yesterday than he was when taking out the Summer Cup (2000m) a fortnight ago and that’s what Newnham needed to see.

“I thought he had more improvement because last start when he won the Summer Cup he was probably only at his top for the last 150m,” Newnham said.

“He was locked away and only got out late.

“The best part of his race was on the line. In the autumn he’ll get up to a 2400m and maybe even the Sydney Cup might be on the agenda.”

Spirit Ridge boasts a regal heritage having been bred by Juddmonte Farm, the breeding arm of Khalid Abdullah of Frankel fame.

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!

Spirit Ridge is a son of Galileo’s King George winner Nathaniel who has sired more than 400 winners, none of them better than Juddmonte’s own two-time Arc de Triomphe winner, Enable.

On top of that, Spirit Ridge’s dam – Tates Creek – was a mare of the highest order winning Grade One races at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita.

Spirit Ridge won his first race at Catterick in England beating Loveisili who was himself in action at Royal Randwick forty minutes after Newnham’s gelding completed the Summer Cup/January Cup double.

Jockey Robbie Dolan made all the right moves to give him the best possible run in transit.

“It was another peach of a ride from Robbie,” Newnham said.

“As we discussed prior to the race, if we could get that position it would be the ideal spot and, like last start, it all went as expected and he executed well.

“He loves a fight and with the way they ran it they probably turned it into a sprint and he was at his top at the top of the straight but you could see his staying qualities shine late.”

Dolan had the $3.10 favourite stalking the speed set by Wolfe and didn’t let Laure Me In pocket him in when it made a move around him at the 500m.

Once they got into the straight he let his horse’s superior staying ability take over and he didn’t look like losing over the final 200m.

He beat home a brave Wolfe by three quarters of a length with Mr Marathon Man ($26) running above his odds in third.

‘’It was tricky on paper, obviously with Wolfe and Gone Bye drawn on the inside of us, it was going to be fifty-fifty whether I was able to get into a position,’’ Dolan said.

“Thankfully I had a nice horse under me and he jumped out well and brought me into a position himself.

“Jay (Ford) came upside me on the bend and nearly caught me napping on the bend but he is the superior horse in the race and he is going to go onto bigger and better things than that.

‘’He really enjoys himself and that is a big asset for him. He loves his racing, he loves a day out, he pricks his ears everywhere you go and that is a good sign.

“He has got a really good turn of foot for a horse that gets over a bit of ground and I would definitely be looking forward to seeing him get over further.”

Spirit Ridge was quickly inserted as a $51 chance in the Sydney Cup in April and will obviously have to go to another level to claim a major.

“It’s a stronger race these days because it’s worth $2 million and we’re getting more of these horses in it and he’s still improving,” Newnham said.

“His level of improvement from the middle of last year until now has been great and I think he’s got more left in him. He was going away on the line.”

Newnham will take him to the Manion Cup on the way to the Sydney Cup.

“He’ll have a couple of weeks out. He’s a real European stayer who is clean winded and doesn’t take long to come up,” he said.

“Even off a two-week break I might kick him over an 1800m race. He showed today that further than 2000m isn’t going to be an issue.”

AT THE TRACK

PRINCE OFF TO PADDOCK

Pinnacle Prince will not be aimed at this year’s Country Championships but his trainer Brett Cavanough has a plan that could get him to the $1.3 million Kosciuszko (1200m) in the spring.

The Hinchinbrook colt won his second Highway race in as many weeks and Jason Collett said he’d love to ride him in Tamworth’s Country Championships qualifier on March 7.

“He’ll go for a spell,” Cavanough said. “The Country Championships might be coming too quick for him.

“You definitely won’t see him inside the next 21 days.” He’ll come back to racing later in the winter and if he keeps winning he’ll get his shot at the Kosciuszko.

Jason Collett’s winning ride on Pinnacle Prince came at a cost after he was suspended for careless riding when making the winning move to shift out on the horse and cause interference.

As he was waiting to talk to his manager chief steward Marc van Gestel said: “Are you happy to have the charge against you? “Yes, well I’m not really happy about it, but yes,” Collett replied. The hoop got three meetings and will miss next week’s racing.

WINX STAND WORKS UNDERWAY

Here’s the work currently going on to complete the new Winx Stand at Randwick. The facility will be completed in early 2022.

STABLE LIFE ON HOLD FOR FOREIGN WORKERS

While stables are generally always looking for an extra staff member, the pandemic has made it even harder to get workers.

“Usually, at this time of the year you’re inundated with people from the UK on working visas coming over here to get away from their winter,” Newnham said.

It meant Newnham, like many trainers, had to work on Christmas Day.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said.

“We’ve only got one son and he’s 23 so it’s not like we’ve got little kids. My wife and son came to the stables and helped feed the horses then we had a later lunch.”

McEVOY IN NO HURRY TO SACK PAIR

Kerrin McEvoy wasn’t about to give up on Greek Hero and Handspun winning races again soon.

He said Greek Hero, who ran seventh to stablemate Ulysses, needed an easier race.

“I thought he ran fine, I told the connections that he’s finding it hard in Saturday grade to give them a start and win the race.”

I told them to go back to Wednesday grade,” he said.

Handspun just didn’t get a race run to suit.

“I was happy enough. It was a case of the race being run quite quick which had me gassed over the last furlong but I was still happy with the run,” McEvoy said.

CAVANOUGH APPLAUDS RACING NSW

Racing NSW changed the conditions for the Country Championships and Provincial Championships.

Horses that are stable returned for the first time (previously unraced) must have been legitimately under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer by September 1, 2020.

And horses must remain under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer for a period of 12 months after the series Final.

Some trainers don’t like it but Brett Cavanough isn’t one of them.

“When do Racing NSW bring in a rule that’s not good? I think it’s a great rule and you can quote me on that,” Cavanagh said.

The Scone trainer’s son Jack is doing well since a track work fall in July when suffering a bleed to the brain and took Another Sin to the Gold Coast.

“He’s in Toowomba with a couple of horses. He’s not allowed to ride for a year but he’s getting back involved,” Cavanough said.

***

Follow: Fifteen Aria (on the way up), Subedar (nice return), Brutality (still going well)

Sack: Greek Hero (disappointing), Matowatakpe (struggling)

Ride: Robbie Dolan on Spirit Ridge (ripper)

Quote: “That was a 12 out of 10 ride.” – Mark Newnham to Robbie Dolan after winning the January Cup.



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Bitcoin crosses $40K mark, doubling in less than a month


First it went through $US20,000. Then 10 days later, it broke through $US25,000, and then, with barely taking a breath, it crossed $US30,000. Now only a few days into 2021, the price of bitcoin has crossed $US40,000.

Nothing’s new with the digital currency in the month since it crossed $US20,000 — there’s been no major change in how it can be used. Although some investors are now using the notoriously volatile currency as a “store of value,” which is traditionally a title saved for safe haven investments like gold and other precious metals.

Bitcoin has made a habit of breaking records, as its safe haven appeal increases.Credit:Bloomberg

“Will you be able to buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin? Probably not with the current version of Bitcoin. It’s largely become a store of value,” said Mike Venuto, a co-portfolio manager of the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF, a $US391 million ($503 million) exchanged-traded fund that focuses on blockchain technologies and companies that deal with cryptocurrencies.

Media attention to its rise has only added fuel to the rally. But investors in digital currencies and companies that trade or “mine” them are warning people to be sceptical of Bitcoin’s recent rise and to be braced for a lot of volatility.

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