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Banks lead ASX fightback

The ASX opened solidly lower on Monday but recovered throughout the day, almost entirely making up the losses to finish only slightly lower by the close.
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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index finished down 0.1 per cent to 5746.7, while the broader All Ordinaries was also down just 0.1 per cent.

“Weakness in resource stocks was offset by strength in the banks,” said Atlas Fund Management’s Hugh Dive.

The financial sector drove the partial recovery, with the heavyweight big four banks up by between 0.3 and 0.4 per cent, with the exception of CBA, which ended the day flat.

Mr Dive said investors were positioning ahead of the May bank earnings results, which he expected should be upbeat. “Bad debts should be lower, and you’ve got the loan repricing,” he said. “And they’re normally quite strong in the lead-up to May.”

Loan repricing – all four banks raised interest rates out-of-cycle with the Reserve Bank last week – was also the topic of a Macquarie note on the sector, which forecast a 3 per cent boost to bank earnings due to recent “repricing initiatives”.

“In the short term, we see banks’ ongoing ability to reprice and maintain earnings growth as a positive for the sector,” they wrote. While the ability to raise interest rates without RBA movement is positive for the sector, Macquarie remains “neutral” on it given “relatively high regulations and increasing regulatory risks”.

Meanwhile, continuing weakness in key commodity prices dragged on the miners. BHP Billiton fell 2.9 per cent, Fortescue Metals shed 3.0 per cent. while Rio Tinto gave up 1.8 per cent.

Falling on the day it announced a $US500 million ($655 million) share buyback was South32. Mr Dive speculated the lack of “juice” in the announcement – the stock fell 1.8 per cent – might partly be because investors were worried about a repeat of BHP’s top-of-cycle share buyback in 2011.

Myer shares jumped 18.3 per cent towards the end of the day after a big block trade of more than 81 million shares was sold at $1.15 – well above the day’s open at $1.08.

Shares in Downer EDI recovered some ground from Friday’s 21 per cent slump, closing up 3.1 per cent.

Gold miners were, in their usual contrarian fashion, the standouts, after the yellow metal’s price climbed above $US1250 an ounce. Newcrest rose 1.3 per cent while St Barbara added 2 per cent. The All Ordinaries gold index ended the day 1.9 per cent higher.

Stock watch: Funtastic

Struggling toy and confectionary wholesaler Funtastic dropped 47 per cent to less than 1c after it announced it was taking steps to delist from the n Securities Exchange. The delisting announcement came after a decade’s worth of sliding earnings and shares. Funtastic, which distributes Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears and Star Wars branded toys and merchandise, has seen its share price fall markedly since a profit warning in 2007. Its shares were trading around $1.57 in December 2006 but fell to 16.6 cents by December 2008. At their peak in 2003, they were at $2.13. Funtastic said that over the past six months less than 2 per cent of its shares have traded in any one month.

Property soars

House prices remained on a tear, jumping more than 5 per cent in Sydney since the start of the year and 4.4 per cent in Melbourne, but BetaShares chief economist David Bassanese is convinced the RBA won’t hike rates in response. Raising rates might well work to at least momentarily cool prices, but won’t tackle the real underlying drivers of their house price boom unless the the central bank tightened policy dramatically. “And were the RBA to tighten more aggressively, the wider-ranging effects on the economy would be disastrous,” Mr Bassanese said.

Japanese Yen

A reassessment on the likelihood of pro-growth policies in the US, and a series of domestic and technical factors, combined to reignite buying interest in the yen – for which analysts see more upside. Rising Japanese real-interest rates, the yen’s haven status from global political uncertainty and technical signals monitored by foreign exchange traders have helped the currency rebound 7 per cent from December lows against the US dollar. A further 2 per cent rise to 108 yen per US dollar is possible by June, according to market participants

Oil review

A joint committee of ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers agreed to review whether a global pact to limit supplies should be extended by six months, OPEC said in an overnight statement. An earlier draft of the statement had said the committee “reports high level of conformity and recommends six-month extension”. But the final version said only that the committee had requested a technical group and for the OPEC Secretariat to “review the oil market conditions and revert … in April, 2017 regarding the extension of the voluntary production adjustments

Iron and steel

Chinese steel and iron ore futures plunged to their lowest in more than six weeks, extending a five-day losing streak as speculative investors continued their exodus amid mounting concerns about demand and growing inventories – which grew at major ports for the second week in a row. Steel is set for its worst day since early February, with the most-active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange down 4 per cent at 3026 yuan ($US440.31) a tonne. Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange plunged 6 per cent to 545.5 yuan ($US79.37) per tonne.

Six of the Hunter’s most prestigious historic homes

Beauties from a bygone era Belltrees near Scone
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Aberglasslyn House near Maitland

Lance Villa in Newcastle

Jesmond House in Newcastle

Minimbah House near Singleton

Duckenfield House, near Morpeth.

TweetFacebookBelltreesThe magnificent Belltrees pastoral station and homestead still survive in the Upper Hunter as a great monument to a pioneering past. On Gundy Road, Scone, the Belltrees property has been home to the White family since 1831, although the pastoral dynasty really began in 1853.

Today it remains as one of ’s most famous rural properties and home to seven generations of the White family. Sited over fertile river flats, Belltrees homestead was built by pastoralist H.L.White at the peak of the wool production boom. That was in 1907.

The distinctive 53-room homestead was designed by prominent Maitland architectJ.W.Pender and is heritage-listed. It is the family home of Dr Judy White, author and historian. From at least 1901 up to 1920, about 100 people worked in the station’s shearing shed where 180,000 sheep were shorn and 3000 bales of wool were exported to England.

By 1912, the Belltrees estate covered 65,000 acres and had more than 3000 kilometres of fencing and 64 houses.

Today Belltrees consists of 9000ha of prime grazing country fronting the Hunter River. The emphasis, however, hasshifted from sheep to Black Angus cattle breeding.

Fine horse breeding has long been a tradition on the property, with station horses once exported overseas to the Boer War. In the polo season, matches are an exciting spectacle at the Scone Polo Club at Belltrees.

Today, accommodation on site is available at several self-contained cottages.

Minimbah HouseThis huge 45-room mansion is a true Singleton district landmark. Built between 1875-1877 by Hunter Valley pastoralist Duncan Forbes Mackay, the house sits in the saddle between two mountain ranges.At Whittingham, on the eastern outskirts of Singleton township, it is truly one ofthe Hunter’s grandest homes.

But beautiful Minimbah House has always needed a lot of tender loving care. Oneprevious owner is reported to have spent $1million to keep the home in good order. The first sight of the mansion is impressive. The facade, which features numerous columns and a long lacework verandah, isthe first of many surprises.

Just inside the entry foyer is a grand, ornately carved timber staircase made of n red cedar and rosewood and carved in Germany. It is one of the hints of past glories when the house was first built and money was lavished on it.

Cedar joinery is found throughout the house as are stain glass windows.

The two-storey structure, made from cement-rendered sandstone and sandstock bricks, originally stood on 48ha of land at Whittingham, but is not immediately visible on the landscape from the New England highway.

Built in a U-shape design, Minimbah was formerly known as Dulcimah, and is officially described as being a Victorian Italianate mansion.

With the Brokenback Ranges as a backdrop, the house had two architects. The original plans were drawn up for William Dangar, the eldest son of the famous Hunter Valley pioneer and surveyor Henry Dangar, who surveyed Newcastle in 1823.

William Dangar, heart-broken then on the death of his wife, sold the plans to Hunter Valley settler Duncan Forbes Mackay who had them modified.

The design as we know it today is by colonial architect Benjamin Backhouse.

Minimbah House was expensive to build during the high Victorian boom era and it has been estimated to be worth more than $30million in replacement value today.

The Mackay family once also owned Anambah homestead out of Rutherford, near Maitland.

From the mid 1990s until 2007, Minimbah was owned by Bill and Bliss Ryan whocarried out extensive restoration work on the homestead and planted a vineyard at thehouse entry. Bliss Ryan had also been Miss in 1954.

At one stage in its recent history, the mansion, because of its size, was planned to beturned into a retirement home for wealthy women, but the project fell through.

A striking feature of the home is its ornate central tower. It’s said it was erected to keep awatchful eye out for any bushrangers roaming the countryside.

The truth though is far more likely to be that the Mackay family wanted Minimbah Houseto be more imposing than the Dangar family’s residence at the nearby Baroona mansionbelow.

Baroona is also one of the Hunter Valley’s most historic houses, having later been builton the Castle Forbes property where a famous convict revolt once occurred.

Duckenfield HouseSadly, this mansion near Morpeth no longer exists, although it was once extremely

famous in the Hunter Valley so it’s worth recalling it briefly here now. Begun by empire-builder John Eales Snr (1799-1871), the 45-room mansion was completed by his son John Eales Jnr MLC.

The lavish project took 18 years from 1854 and was once the most recognisable symbol of opulence in the Hunter Valley. It was then sold in 1917 and dismantled, its stone creating at least five new Hunter structures, including Mayfield houses and BHP’s pattern store. A new book on the rise and fall of the “Valley King” was only published last year.

Aberglasslyn HouseSituated just out in rural Maitland, off Aberglasslyn Lane, this is one of the great houses of the Hunter Valley. A massive, square, two-storey sandstone Greek revival style villa with spacious cellars, it dates back to about 1840. After a succession of owners, it was largely derelict by 1977 when new owners began urgent conservation work.

Built originally by cattle breeder George Hobbler, worked suddenly stopped in 1842 due to drought. Hobler was soon bankrupt. Features of the 17-room, heritage-listed home include a stone flagged entrance hall, an impressive winding stone staircase with wrought iron railings, marble fireplaces and rooms some 18ft (5.4m) high.

Overlooking a bend in the Hunter River, it has been described as one of the most important colonial homes in still in a rural setting.

Jesmond HouseSitting atop The Hill in Barker Street, above Newcastle CBD, this 1875 mansion became Newcastle’s most expensive property in 2008 when it sold for a record $7million.

Originally built for a Henry Rouse, it was extended by new owner and beer baron John Wood. Legendary architect Frederick Menkens designed the rear buildings while another architect James Henderson designed the building’s tall Italianate tower.

Son John Robert Wood then married popular Shakespearean actress Essie Jenyns in 1888 and the house then became the centre of the district’s social events.

A brother, Joseph Wood, also built the Woodlands mansion in Church St west in 1879 to overlook the town. It later became the Centaur Hospital in World War II, then a boarding house for migrants, before reverting to a private hospital for 24 years until 1979.

Lance VillaAlso in Church Street, The Hill, is the yellow brick Italianate style Lance Villa on the corner of Church and Perkins streetsoverlooking Newcastle Harbour.

Built in 1890 under the direction of famed architect Frederick Menkens, the home may only have had three family owners in its 127-year history. Full of ornate detail, the house forms a bookend to the nearby historic Victorian terraces. And looks are deceptive, the impressive two-storey house is actually four-storeys high.

Olympic hurdler Lauren Wells eyeing 10th national title

Canberra’s Olympic hurdler Lauren Wells isn’t one to tempt fate.
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She’s already got a world championships qualifying time under her belt, but 30 hurdles stand between Wells and a 10th national title ??? which would automatically book her ticket to London.

Wells will look to seal a world championships berth when she runs in the 400m hurdles at the n athletics championships in Sydney on Friday.

The 28-year-old’s world championships qualifier came in a resounding Canberra Grand Prix win, in just her third race of the season. Never before has she qualified for a major championship so early.

Going into nationals without the added pressure of trying to register a qualifying time for worlds is “a luxury” for Wells and she can use nationals to fine-tune her preparation.

“Now I can go into nationals knowing that I can just enjoy running the races,” Well said.

“Obviously the goal is to win the national title because that will seal my selection on the team but it’s all focusing on the process.

“There’s still heats, semis, and finals. I’ve still got three rounds to get through. Obviously 10 hurdles every race. It’s certainly not a done deal, I’m not one to tempt fate. It’s all about the process, but in saying that I’m certainly not resting on my laurels from the race in Canberra. I know I can run a lot faster that I did here, so I’ll certainly be looking to go to nationals not only to win, but to run a fast time as well.”

The prospect of clinching a 10th national title is a surreal feeling for the two-time Olympian, but she is always focused on the next step.

Wells’ hurdling style is often compared to that of former Jana Pittman ??? and she wouldn’t mind drawing another parallel to the two-time world champion with a title of her own.

“Some people never get to win one, so it’s a huge honour to be crowned the national champion,” Wells said.

“But it’s all about wanting to be the best in so you can take on the best in the world. I’m always going out there every time I race, racing the clock, trying to run a [personal best], trying to execute my race and if I can nail the process and nail my stride pattern the time will come from that.”

Wells registered a 400m hurdles personal best of 55.08 seconds four years ago in Belgium, and has backed herself in to break through for a new one.

Every time she steps out on the track she is hunting for a PB, and the national titles won’t be any different.

“I think that’s what every athlete does so it’s been a few years since I’ve run one and I certainly think that I’m in shape to run something fast this year,” Wells said.

“Whether it’s in Sydney or whether it’s overseas somewhere, I’m not sure, but that’s what we’re working towards, definitely.”

Rose River to flow at Newcastle Writers Festival

CHANGING TIDE: Deanna Rose, far right, will debut a new line-up for Rose River when they perform at the Wisdom Tree Live showcase during the Newcastle Writers Festival.DEANNA Rose admits she initially haddoubts when Newcastle Writers Festival director Rosemarie Milsom handed her the set list.
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Punk rock isgenerally doesn’t feature inthe Tamworth-raised Newcastle-based folk singer’s repertoire. But as part of her band Rose River’s showat the Writers Festival she will performfive songs selected by Brisbane novelist Nick Earls.

The performance will be based on Earls’critically acclaimed novellas, Wisdom Tree, and will feature songsinspired by the locations of each book.

“The rehearsals are coming along quite well,” Rose said.“There’s one song by the Ramones I was a little bit worried about as I didn’t know how we were going to do it because I’m a folk singer.”

Rose River is a constantly-changing unitand the show on April 8 at the Unorthodox Church of Groove will be this line-up’s first public performance.

“It’s kind of referring to the river of musicians that I go through, because it’s really hard to get people to go in the same direction,” Rose said.“As a soloist I tend to use a lot of people all over the place.”

The 2015 Voice contestant is also gearing up for a final hurrah with another project Rose & The Sea at the Gum Ball in April. Rose’s partner in the duo, Milli Casey, is opting to focus her energy on music booking and management following the Dashville gig.

However, Rose has already kick-started a new project with NatHenry from the Wayward Henrys. The pair played Wollombi Tavern last weekendand are hoping to record an album later this year.

BLISSFUL RETURNIT’S been a horrible 2017 so far for Bliss N Eso. In January 28-year-old stuntman Johann Ofner was shot dead when a gun accidentally discharged during the filming of a Bliss N Eso music clip for FriendLike Youin Brisbane.

The Sydney hip-hop posse will attempt to move on from the tragedy this winter with 27-date tour announced to promote their new album Off The Grid. Their sixth studio album will be released on April 28 and featuresFriend Like You and Dopamineand upcoming singleMoments.

Bliss N Eso perform at the Cambridge Hotel on June 30.

UNION OF ARCADIA MAIDEN TRIP: Brisbane’s Blues Arcadia play the Stag and Hunter Hotel on April 7.

LONDONER Chris Harvey had to travel half way around the world to Brisbane to find his musical partner in Irishman Alan Boyle. The creativity between the pair was instant as their Bella Reunion project went straight to #1 in the n Blues and Roots AirplayChart in 2015.

A year later they addedbassist Jeremy Klysz and jazz pianist Parmis Rose to become Blues Arcadia. Again the foursome attracted instant success with their self-titled debut EP earning nominations for Group Of The Yearand Song Of The Year for Corner Girls at the n Blues Music Awards in January.Blues Arcadia playtheir first show in Newcastle on April 7 at the Stag and Hunter Hotel.

SHOW OFHOPEMOUNT Hutton’s Centre For Hope will throw open its doors on Saturday to celebrateYouth Week with music, an African drums workshop and live graffiti art.

Sydney hip hop artist Hyjak headlines the show, bringing the rhymes and dropping the beats that led him to perform with celebrated acts The Hilltop Hoods and De La Soul. Aboriginal roots musician Gambirra will also perform at the All Elements showcase, which runs from 10am to 2pm. Entry is free.

CRUDE ATTACKFrenzal Rhomb – C–T Act (language warning)FRENZAL Rhomb might be middle-aged and fathers, but they haven’t given up on being provocative. The punk larrikins have released a scathing new single, with the colourful name C—t Act, that attacks passengerswho recline fully on flights, social media trolls, companies that use off-shore tax havens and individualswho think its hilarious to dress upas black people.

The band’s video also features cartoon versions of conservative commentators Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine, as well as disgraced Catholic cardinal George Pell.

C—t Act is the lead single off Frenzal Rhomb’s forthcoming album Hi-Vis High Tea, released on May 26. Fanscan hear tracks from the album on August 4 when Frenzal Rhomb play the Cambridge Hotel.

MORGANA DEBUTANYONE who hasseen Morgana Osaki and Huw Jones, aka Fox Control, perform live around town knows the pair make emotionally-rich music. Osaki’s harp and haunting vocal mixed with Jones’ guitar and electronic sounds are a beautiful union.The pair will finally launch their long-awaited debut EP Kraken Lady on April 28 at the Cambridge Hotel.

BEACHSIDE COLLINSREIGNING golden guitar best male artist Travis Collins is making use of his new-found success. The Cessnock troubadour was added this week to the line-up forthe second Broadbeach Country Music Festival on the Gold Coast.Collins joins America, Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson, Sara Storerand Troy Cassar-Daley at the festival from July 28 to 30.

VIDEO: Peep Tempel find joy in China’s shady characters

INTENSE: The Peep Tempel’s third album Joy is critically-acclaimed for its unhinged punk rock and stories of colourful characters. DESPITE living in Melbourne, The Peep Tempel’sBlake Scott is constantly searching beyond thecity’s expanses to the far-flungreaches of for inspiration.
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Scott seeksthe stories of thedusty bar-room raconteurs or the crooks on the run,and theresults havebeen thrilling. The Peep Tempel’s past two albums Tales (2014) and Joy (2016) have been critically-acclaimed for their visceral punk-garage rockand Scott’s blistering stories of dark na thatfollowthe proud tradition of The Cosmic Psychos and The Drones.

Scott, a carpenter by trade, grew up in the Western nwheat belt town of Narrogin as the son of a truck driver. It was there among Narrogin’s pubs that Scott developed anaffinity forthe working man.

That understanding is articulated in his portraits ofhard-drinking miners (Kalgoorlie), storiesof a corrupt policemen (Constable) and angry retorts to racist (Rayguns).

“The characters in the songs are made up, but they do come from somewhere,” Scott said.“You meet these people on your travels, especially in the north of . There’s so many places that people go to hide– actually hide or hide away from society.

“In those back blocks you really meet some interesting people and you can be surprised how worldly they are and where they’ve been and what they’ve done and it’s interesting the reasons why they end up in these out posts. I’ve certainly been intrigued by isolation and the isolation you can come by in . I find that fascinating and something I’ve enjoyed myself.”

Scott is unsure where his interest in the dark side of the “lucky country” is derived. As he points out, many of his stories are littered with sarcasm.

The Peep Tempel – Rayguns“It always just seems to turn to the dark side,” he said. “It’s grotty rock’n’roll guitar music, that justhappens to be the sound that comes out when we get together. I guess it’s the platform or canvas for the characters or the topical content of the songs.

“I actually thought Joy was pretty joyous, but maybe I’m a dark person, or maybe I’m not and I’m just getting it out on a Peep Tempel record. It is a bit of fun. It’s easier to write about a crook, it keeps it interesting and it’s been fun creating these characters who are a little gnarly.”

Joy featured on various critics’ “best of” album lists last year and has enabled Peep Tempel to secure slots on the recent Golden Plains and upcoming Gum Ball music festivals.

“I guess take off is the word,” Scott said.“It started to happen with Tales. We haven’t be hurdled into the stratosphere, but we’re getting some really cool opportunities and enjoying what we’re doing. There isn’t as much hardship now.

“We actually get to enjoy it. It does get to a point where you get pretty worn out, especially in the beginning when you’re touring really hard. A few years ago we played in Newcastle to one person, so it’s nice to have that stuff behind us even though you’re learning how to be on the road together.”

The Peep Tempel perform atthe Gum Ball at Dashville on April 21-23.

Dogs don’t need to sack Hasler. They need a player to get angry

People in rugby league seem to be losing a lot of things lately.
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Jason Taylor lost the support of the Wests Tigers board and then his job. Wayne Bennett has apparently lost his aura and his dressing-room. Nathan Brown would be losing his hair if he had any left to lose.

The Bulldogs just keep losing matches. They’ve lost seven of their past eight. Their 36-0 loss to Manly at Fortress Lottoland on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so much a loss as a humiliation.

It was shanking your drive on the first tee in front of a dozen or so people. It was cheering home the wrong horse. It was the walk of shame on a Sunday morning.

There’s quite a few angry Bulldogs fans out there who will tell you Des Hasler must lose his job, and if he doesn’t the club will start losing their memberships.

The Bulldogs don’t need to lose the coach. They need to find a leader.

It seems like a strange thing to say when they have an angry red-headed captain in James Graham who can almost single-handedly drag his side back into matches with one angry run, one angry tackle, one angry exchange with the referee, one angry howl at the moon before eating Billy Slater’s ears.

But that angry man who as a teenager refined his running style by charging at garage doors just isn’t there at the moment. Indeed, none of the Bulldogs are playing angry.

They don’t have a cranky forward – and certainly not a playmaker – who will bark at his teammates to follow his lead as he rips the opposition a proverbial new one. Against Manly, the best they could do was David Klemmer face-slapping halfback Daly Cherry-Evans in frustration.

This isn’t an attack on Graham or the side’s commitment. It doesn’t mean they don’t respect the coach. But the fabled “Dogs of War” have put their guns back in the holster. Most of their once-feared pack just seem like frustrated halfbacks.

Every successful team relies on a player to drag their side into the streetfight but at a club like Canterbury-Bankstown it’s in the woodwork. It’s in their DNA.

Steve Mortimer, Terry Lamb, Peter Kelly and any number of hard-headed forwards all sailed close to the line of aggression and legality but left opposing sides without any doubt about who they were playing.

Oh how I loved watching Chris Mortimer play in the 1980s, even against my own team, and then you hear his former teammates talk about him and you understand why.

They tell you he had a signature instruction to those standing next to him in the defensive line and the politically correct should look away now: “Take your f—ing skirts off. This is how you rip into them.”

And then he did.

Simple stuff, but effective nonetheless. When was the last time the Bulldogs gave away a penalty in anger, just to prove a point?

Far better students of the game than this one have had their say on what’s wrong with the Bulldogs and the universal observation is they are “playing slow”.

It’s reflected in the yardage of the men who should have the most.

In 2014, Graham was averaging 150 metres a game. Last year, he was churning through 167 a game. So far this year, just 111.

His fellow prop, Aiden Tolman, is averaging 100m a game. Tolman’s new three-year deal has raised as many eyebrows as Hasler’s persistence with hooker Michael Lichaa. His persistence with Josh Reynolds. With Moses Mbye.

With a style of play that starts and ends with a quick play-the-ball and one that looked revolutionary when the Bulldogs were making grand finals a few years ago but now seems as fluid as porridge.

The frustrating thing for Dogs fans is these are issues that have been identified for the best part of a year.

When the Bulldogs lost to the Panthers in the first week of the finals last year, some of their directors – including chairman Ray Dib – were watching from a private suite at Allianz Stadium.

It was interesting to be a fly on the wall that day. The look on their faces at fulltime told the story: something had to change.

But will it?

I was told on Friday afternoon that an extension on Hasler’s contract was basically done. He had conceded that he had to change, that he had to embrace that unmistakable Bulldogs DNA we’ve been talking about, and that he wasn’t the central figure at the club as he was at Manly and as he has been at Belmore in recent years spending millions on his football department.

Despite the loss to the Sea Eagles, the feeling I’m getting is that Hasler is more likely to be re-signed than not.

Bennett’s Broncos may well flog them at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night but Hasler has been given ample time to secure a few wins and a few more years at Belmore.

Dib’s decision to get on the front foot and do the rounds with selected media on Sunday was telling.

A shrewd operator who doesn’t usually broadcast what he’s thinking, Dib told Fairfax Media: “We’ve stuck to our plan and we’re not going to expedite a decision early. We’re not going to be pushed. We’re not a reactive board so we’ll stick to our plan.”

But Hasler cannot deny he’s on shaky ground. He fronted his first media conference at the start of this season and declared reports about his potential demise as “fake news”. He mustn’t be talking to the very nervous board members who wanted him gone for this season.

Des is my favourite person in rugby league. His eccentricity keeps reporters in a job. Although it’s probably time for both him and the Bulldogs to go in separate directions, he still has an ocean of football knowledge and experience.

That’s something you never lose.

You can follow me on Facebook.

‘We’re at the tip of a new paradigm’: radical asthma treatment unveiled in Canberra

n scientists unveiled a “radical” approach that could revolutionise asthma treatment at a research conference in Canberra on Monday.
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The research, described as a “world first”, used subtle changes in diet to help keep the respiratory disease under control.

It was presented for the first time at the annual meeting of the Thoracic Society for and New Zealand.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at the impact of altering the gut microbiome on asthma control in humans,” the society’s president Professor Peter Gibson said.

“We’re at the tip of a new paradigm for how diet can be used to treat asthma.”

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that affects more than two million people throughout and at least 300 million across the globe.

It is projected that between 2016 and 2019 the treatment of asthma will cost the n taxpayer at least $4 billion.

The study, led by the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs, used fibre supplements to change the composition of bacteria in the gut.

These changes were associated with reduced airway inflammation and had a beneficial effect on asthma control.

They were particularly effective in groups of asthmatics who struggled to control the disease, such as those who were overweight or obese.

“For many obese asthmatics, using puffers to control their asthma simply isn’t working and it has doctors baffled,” Professor Gibson said.

“With almost two out of three adult ns obese or overweight, this is becoming an increasingly pressing issue.

“These studies – which shed light on how diet can impact asthma by its effect on the gut microbiome and airway inflammation – hold particular significance for this group.”

Professor Lisa Wood, the study’s lead researcher, said the breakthrough could have a massive impact on the way asthma was treated.

“This ground-breaking research offers hope of a viable, complementary treatment for tens of millions of asthmatics around the world struggling to control their asthma with existing medications,” she said.

Another study presented at the conference probed the effect of fatty foods on asthma, showing that meals high in saturated fats could worsen inflammation and bring on symptoms such as coughing and chest tightness.

“These studies show both how diets high in fat can worsen asthma and how, conversely, a diet high in soluble fibre can help manage it,” Professor Wood said.

“It illustrates just how vitally important it is that ns eat healthily and how fundamentally important gut bacteria are to our well being.”

Your guide to music, movies & theatre around the Hunter

PURE CLASS: Pop music and film star Jessica Mauboy will light up Newcastle on Thursday night at the Civic Theatre. Picture: Robert Pierse.MUSIC5 Sawyers Thursday, Salt Tree. Friday, DJ Timmy Coffey.Saturday, Devultra.
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Adamstown Uniting Church Sunday, Hunter Singers –Sacred Rites.

Albion Hotel SingletonFriday, David J Bull.

Anna Bay TavernSaturday, The Remedy.Sunday, Kim.

Hotel CessnockSaturday, Open Fire.

Bar Petite Friday, Dean Kyrwood. Saturday, Emmy Rose. Sunday, Jerome.

Battlesticks Bar Thursday,John Larder.Friday,Nano.Saturday,Little Cents.Sunday,Nicko.

Beach Hotel Friday, In Motion. Saturday, Club Esky.

Belmont 16s Friday,Rave On,Marissa. Saturday, DV8, All Access 80s,Anthology. Sunday, Blue Water Cowboys.

Belmont HotelSaturday, The Bad And The Ugly.

Beresfield Bowling Club Friday, Gen-X. Saturday, Blues Bombers.

Belmore HotelSaturday, Pelican Romance.

Bimbadgen Saturday,Blondie (US), Cyndi Lauper (US), Montaigne, Alex Lahey.

Blackbutt Hotel Friday, Ty. Saturday, Phase III.

The Bradford Friday, The Way. Saturday, Iguana. Sunday, Jacinta.

Broughtons at The Bay Sunday, Mick Jones.

Burwood Inn Friday, Bucko. Saturday, Pap’N’That.

Cambridge Hotel Thursday, Kyle Lionheart. Friday,Sleepmakeswaves (Glass House), Gooch Palms, Raave Tapes, Wavevom. Saturday, Client Liaison (Glass House),Gooch Palms, Vacations (Warehouse). Sunday, Kill The Noise, Blanke.

Cardiff RSL Club Friday, Dos Eager. Saturday, Loose Bazooka.

Carrington PlaceThursday, The Frenchman St New Orleans Jazz Band. Friday, Loui Abell. Saturday, Joe Cox.

Catho PubSaturday, Shawn Lidster.Sunday, The Search Party.

Central Sunday, Thirsty Merc.

Central Charlestown Leagues Club Saturday, Matt Semmens.

Central HotelStroudSaturday, The Milestones.

Cessnock Hotel Friday, Mick Jones.

Cessnock Leagues Club Saturday, Counterpart.

Charlestown Bowling Club Friday, The Remedy. Saturday, Mardy Leith.

Civic Theatre Thursday, Jessica Mauboy,Isaiah Firebrace.

Clarendon Hotel Friday, Lauren Arms.

Club Kotara Saturday, Bobby C.

Club LemonTree Friday, Redline. Saturday, Big Pete.

Club Maitland City Friday, Mardy Leith.

Commercial HotelBoolarooFriday, Murray Byfield.

Commercial Hotel Morpeth Friday, Adrianna Mac.Saturday, Pat Vs Cat.

Country Club Hotel Shoal Bay Friday, Teddy Cream. Saturday, Dola.

Criterion Hotel Carrington Friday, Greg Bryce. Saturday, Roxy. Sunday, Ben Travis.

Criterion Hotel WestonSaturday, Crawfish Stew Band.

Croatian Wickham Sports Club Saturday, Peach Studio 54.

Crown & Anchor Hotel Sunday, Kylie Jane.

Customs House Friday, Chad Shuttleworth. Saturday, Kim. Sunday, Bonny Rai.

Cypress Lakes Saturday, Daniel Arvidson.

D’Albora Marina Sunday, Mick Jones.

Denman HotelSunday, James Naldo.

Duke Of Wellington Friday, 2GoodReasons. Saturday, Redline.

East Maitland Bowling Club Friday, 4 Letter Word.

Edgeworth Tavern Friday, Shivoo.

Exchange Hotel Friday, Alias.

Family Hotel MaitlandFriday, Sass And The Boss.Saturday, Purple Hearts.Sunday, Lennie Live.

FogHorn Brewhouse Friday, The Andy Show. Saturday, Tori Foryth & Carl TheBartender. Sunday, Gleny Rae Virus& Her Bluegrass Playboys.

Gallipoli Legion Club Thursday, The ‘So What’ Supper Club. Saturday, Yes Commissioner.

Gateshead Tavern Friday, Loose Lips.

George Tavern Friday, Max Jackson. Saturday,The De Lisle Project.

Grain Store Sunday, Matt McLaren.

Grand Junction Hotel Thursday, Archer. Friday, LD Express. Sunday, Neil Murray, William Crighton.

Great Northern Hotel Teralba Saturday, Kaylah Anne.

Greenroof Hotel Friday, Dave Owen.

Greta Workers ClubFriday, Loose Bazooka.

Gunyah Hotel Friday, The New Cool.

​Hamilton Station Hotel Thursday,Panhandler (SWE), Tiger Can Smile, Wilson & The Castaways, Suburban Haze, Tear You Apart. Sunday,Laura Mardon,Nothing Rhymes with David,Spencer Scott,Jack Lundie&JimDusty.

Harrigan’s Pokolbin Friday, Overload.

Honeysuckle Hotel Friday, Tre Soul. Saturday, McKenzie. Sunday, Jerome, Banddits.

Hotel DelanyFriday, AK Morris. Saturday, The Urge.

Hotel Jesmond Friday, Michael Mills.

Iron Horse Inn Saturday, Jungle Duo.

Jewells Tavern Saturday, R nR.

The Junction Hotel Friday, Kylie Jane.

Kent Hotel Friday, Hell Rad. Saturday, Project XI. Sunday, Jungle Kings.

Khartoum HotelFriday, Witchery.

King Street Hotel Friday, Valentino Khan. Saturday, Scndl.

Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre Sunday,Orchestra Novapresents TheArtof theScherzo.

Lake Macquarie Tavern Friday, Tim Harding.

Lake Macquarie Yacht ClubFriday, Maryanne Rex.

Lakeside Village TavernSaturday, The V Dubs.

The Landing Friday, Anyerin. Saturday, Tim Harding.

Lambton Park Hotel Friday, Grant Walmsley.

Lass O’Gowrie Friday,Binjuice,Great Gable,Tobias.Saturday,Unfit For Human Consumption,Flight to Dubai,Nick Nuisance & The Delinquents.

Lizotte’s Thursday, Martha Tilston (UK). Friday,Dave Graney &the Coral Snakes,Georgio “The Dove” Valentino. Saturday,Soul & Cirque. Sunday,The Grigoryan Brothers.

Lucky Hotel Friday, Matt McLaren.

Mark HotelSaturday, Mark Wells Duo.Sunday, Hornet.

Mary Ellen Friday, Gen-R-8. Saturday, The DuoTones. Sunday, Mark Wells.

Maryland Tavern Friday, Ryan Daley. Saturday, Full Throttle.

Mavericks On The Bay Friday, Damien. Saturday, Jackson Halliday, Matt McLaren. Sunday, Greg Bryce.

Mavericks On Darby Friday, Adam Gear. Satruday, Chad Shuttleworth.

Mezz Bar at Wallsend DiggersFriday,Triple Zero.Saturday,Cruzers.Sunday,Blues Bombers.

Morisset Country ClubFriday, Duplexity.

Murray’s Brewery Sunday, Brien McVernon.

Nag’s Head Hotel Saturday, Hayden Johns.

Neath Hotel Saturday, Flatline.

Nelson Bay DiggersFriday, Frets With Benefits. Saturday, Frick-n-Orson.

Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club Sunday, Bobby C.

Newcastle Leagues Club–The Vault Friday,Hollow World,Daemon Pyre,Zeolite,Grim Demise,Blade of Horus.

Northern Star Hotel Friday, John Larder. Saturday, Phoenix Pritchard.

Pedens CessnockFriday,Blake Saban.Saturday, Ash Mountain.

Pelican RSL ClubSaturday, Smokin Rosie.

Pippis At The Point Friday, Kylie Cartner, Banddits. Saturday, Troy Kemp. Sunday, Max Jackson.

Potters Brewery Friday, Pistol Pete.

The PourhouseSaturday, James Osborn.

Premier Hotel Saturday, Steve Geary. Sunday, Busta Thong.

Prince of Wales Hotel Friday, Little Cents. Saturday, Nicko.

Queens Wharf Hotel Friday, Hayden Shepherd. Saturday, The Sue & Mikey Show, Dean Kyrwood. Sunday, The Years.

Railway Hotel Cessnock Friday, Ashley Knight.

Raymond Terrace Bowling Club Sunday, Roxy.

Royal Federal HotelBranxton Saturday, The Gaudrys.

Royal HotelSingletonSunday, Zac And Ben.

Royal Inn Waratah Friday, Joel Oakhill.

Royal Motor Yacht Club TorontoFriday, Garry Booth.Sunday, Karen O’Shea.

Rutherford Hotel Saturday, Pistol Pete.

Seabreeze Hotel Friday, Soul Play. Saturday, 4 Letter Word. Sunday, Georgina Grimshaw.

Seven Seas Hotel Saturday, Jessica Cain.

Shamrock HotelSaturday,Duplexity.

Shortland Hotel Friday, Zane Penn. Saturday, Brenton Williams.

Small Ballroom Friday,Tijuana Cartel.

Soldiers Point Bowling Club Friday, Brien McVernon. Saturday, Dreams.

South Newcastle Leagues Club Saturday, Karen O’Shea.

Spinning Wheel Hotel Friday, Jon Matthews.

Stag and Hunter Hotel Friday, Archer, Amy Vee. Saturday, Bad Luck Kitty.

Star Hotel Friday, DJ Benny B. Saturday, Phonic Duo.Sunday, Steve Cowley & Friends.

Stockton Bowling Club Saturday, DJ Symon. Sunday, Witchery.

Stockton RSLClub Saturday, The Rattlesnakes.

Sunnyside Tavern Saturday, Phil McKnight.

Swansea Hotel Sunday, Damien.

Swansea RSLClub Saturday, KaDenCe.

Tea Gardens Country ClubSaturday, Outerphase.

Tea Gardens Hotel Saturday, Extreme Mobile Entertainment.

Tilligerry RSL Friday, Kim & Mik.Saturday, Sarah Christine.

Toronto Diggers Friday, 40 Up Club.

Toronto Workers Friday, Chad Shuttleworth. Saturday, Wicked. Sunday, Kaylah Anne.

Unorthodox Church of Groove Thursday,BandaluziaFlamenco with NaikePonce(SPAIN). Sunday,Hinterlandt.

Victoria Hotel Hinton Friday, Jake Davey.

Wangi HotelSunday, Wesleys Edge.

Wangi Workers Club Friday, Karen O’Shea.

Wangi Wangi RSLClub Friday, Allan Freihaut. Sunday, Gareth Hudson.

Warners At The BayFriday, Tim Broadway. Saturday, Zane Penn.

Warners Bay Foreshore Friday, Jumpin’ Jutebox.

Westfield Kotara Saturday, Beth Gleeson.

Wests CardiffSaturday, Wayne and the Wanderers.

Wests New Lambton Thursday, Angamus. Friday, Snape Trilogy. Saturday, Dr Zoom. Tuesday, Angamus.

Wickham Park HotelFriday,Whiskey Business. Saturday,Jye Sharp,The Years. Sunday,Codi Kaye,Blues Exile.

Windale Gateshead Bowling Club Friday, Vegas.

Windsor Castle HotelSaturday, Pete Hibbert.

MOVIESA Street Cat Named Bob(PG) Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat. (Regal)

A United Kingdom (PG)Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s. (Lake Cinema)

Beauty and the Beast(PG)An adaptation of the classic fairy-tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love.

Fight Club (R)An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Ghost In The Shell (M) Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybridleads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.

Hidden Figures(PG)A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.

Kong: Skull Island(M)A team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, including the mythic Kong.

Life(MA)Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As members of the crew conduct their research, the rapidly evolving life-form proves far more intelligent and terrifying than anyone could have imagined.

Lion(PG) A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Kolkata, thousands of kilometres from home. (Regal)

Logan(MA)In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

Manchester By The Sea (M)A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies. (Regal)

Moonlight(M)The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.

National Theatre: Hedda Gabler (CTC)Hedda and Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon and the relationship is already in trouble. Trapped but determined, Hedda tries to control those around her, only to see her own world unravel.

Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience(G)On this exclusive four-part adventure see Peppa visit the outback for a barbecue, learn to surf, throw a boomerang and see the Great Barrier Reef in a submarine.

Power Rangers(M)A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.

The Boss Baby(G)A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.

The Coming War On China (CTC) John Pilger’s 60th film for ITV. Pilger reveals what the news doesn’t – that the United States and the world’s second economic power, China are on the road to war.

The Edge of Seventeen (M)Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine, who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian starts dating her best friend. (Regal)

The LEGO Batman Movie(PG)Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.

The Light Between Oceans(M)A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. (Regal)

THEATREDreamtimeTwo male teenagers find their dreams of adventure are different to reality whenthey try to steal a couple’s money; drama by Maura Campbell, based on real events. ReamusYouth Theatre, at Maitland Repertory Theatre. Friday and Saturday at 8pm.

Newcastle Comedy Showcase HourTen Newcastle comedians showcase their skills in thisfundraiser for the new University of Newcastle Comedy Club; with Jarrod Moore as MC.Royal Exchange, Newcastle. Saturday, at 7.30pm.

On CueWEA Hunter’s 2017 Diploma of Musical Theatre students in song and dancenumbers from classic and contemporary Broadway musicals. Civic Playhouse, Newcastle.Friday, at 7pm.

Queen of MarsA young woman with a passion for space exploration competes for a one-way vessel trip to Mars; premiere of a comedy-drama by Newcastle writer-director JohnWood. Theatre on Brunker, at St Stephen’s Church Hall, Adamstown. Friday and Saturday,dinner and show at 7pm, show only at 8pm.

Soul & CirqueA band of musicians recreate the classic Motown sound, while internationalaerial and ground acrobats perform amazing routines. Lizotte’s, Lambton. Saturday, dinnerand show from 6pm, show only at 8.30pm.

The BusinessA woman who helped to make a family company an n success findsherself in conflict with her children when her husband is dying; comedy-drama by JonathanGavin. Valley Artists, at Laguna Hall, Laguna. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at 8pm.

The World of MusicalsA large international cast in numbers from 18 musicals, includingLes Miserables, Cats, Jersey Boys and Singing in the Rain. R.K.T.Z Group & MayoEntertainment. Civic Theatre, Newcastle, Saturday, at 8pm. Cessnock Performing ArtsCentre, Monday, at 8pm.

Sydney restaurants’ logo wars: What constitutes the letter ‘S’?

It’s the stellar battle over an upmarket Sydney restaurant’s logo in which the stakes could not be higher.
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The Star casino in Pyrmont and a prominent Sydney restaurateur are locked in an escalating dispute over use of a signature “golden star” symbol which threatens to boil over into the federal court.

Peter Petroulas, the managing director of GPO Grand restaurants in Martin Place and Balmoral Beach, accuses the Star Entertainment Group of infringing his copyright on branding he has used since 2002.

Mr Petroulas claims the matter dates back to 2009 when he was asked to a meeting with then Star casino chief executive Larry Mullin, managing director Sid Vaikunta and head of hospitality Victor Tiffany.

The executives were embarking on a redevelopment that included high-end restaurants and Mr Petroulas says he walked them through his strategy during a five-hour meeting at his Martin Place headquarters in the historic GPO building.

The executives subsequently left the Star, most notably Mr Vaikunta, who spectacularly resigned over a sexual harassment scandal.

But in a rebranding exercise, in November 2015 the Star unveiled its current logo, a gold star featuring what may or may not be an “S”, which Mr Petroulas believes is so similar to the one he has used for more than a decade that it infringes his copyright.

Mr Petroulas says he was not aware of a concurrent application to trademark the gold star logo until after it was registered and the objection period had expired the following May.

He says this was because the application was made by a lawyer with King & Wood Mallesons, a firm engaged by the casino group.

The rights were later transferred to The Star by the lawyer. Mr Petroulas argues the process is a breach of the trademark act which says a logo can only be registered by its owner.

What precisely constitutes an “S” is also in dispute after the Star objected to an application by Mr Petroulas to register two new gold star logos featuring the letter.

This was done to brand his Greek restaurant Subterranean Bar and Grill and Japanese eatery Sosumi Sushi Train.

“By definition a symbol can only be defined as the letter “S” when the ends of the letter curl back into the spine of the letter,” he asserts in a submission to IP , which manages trade mark issues, defending his applications.

“I note that by definition the squiggle in the centre of the Casino Device is not the letter ‘S’. “.

In March, Mr Petroulas wrote a letter of demand to the Star’s board which called on the company “cease and desist” from using the gold star logo, destroy all copies of it and remove it from its premises in Sydney and Brisbane.

He says he will take The Star to the federal court.

“In my opinion it’s a clear breach of my rights to actually see the application going through and be able to object to it,” he says. “They’ve denied me that opportunity.”

But a spokesman for The Star labelled Mr Petroulas’ claims “spurious and insulting”.

“The Star Entertainment Group proudly embraces the highest professional standards,” he said.

“We trademarked our logo after following the registration process to the letter.”

“There were opportunities for objections to be lodged and that did not occur. Now we seek to protect the brand equity in the logo and the brand we’ve developed.”

Staying dry and consistent

Interstate trainer Tony McEvoy will wait as long as possible before heading to Sydney for Saturday’s $3 million The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Day 1 of The Championships.
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Victorian visitor Hey Doc will be primed for Saturday’s $1m The Star Doncaster Mile. Picture courtesy Racing Photos

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McEvoy will be represented by one of the fancies Hey Doc ($15), an impressive last start n Guineas winner at Flemington.

“We won’t head up from Victoria until later in the week,” McEvoy revealed.

“I prefer to work him at home in the dry rather than go up to Sydney where there’s been a lot of rain.”

Hey Doc has won two of his only three starts this campaign and claimed the Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington prior to his Group 1 n Guineas victory.

“The Doncaster is obviously a big step up for him. Only the top line three-year-olds can win these types of Group Ones and we’re hoping he is up to the task.”

Hey Doc has been a model of consistency with six wins and three placings from his 12 starts, accumulating $900,000 in prizemoney.

“He is a very good prospect. He is honest, sound and on Saturday has no weight (51kg) on his back so we’re expecting a huge run from him,” McEvoy said.

Regular jockey Luke Currie cannot make the weight with local rider Tim Clark being booked for Hey Doc, with Clark having won the race five years back aboard Sacred Choice.

McEvoy will also be bringing talented colt Aspect to Sydney for Saturday’s Group 1 $1 million Inglis Sires’ (1400m).

Aspect has only raced four times for a win and a second, the latter being a nose defeat in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce (1400m) at Flemington on March 11.

“He’s a lovely horse and we’ve always held him in high regard,” said McEvoy.

Luke Currie had to ride the horse upside down last start in contrast to the colt getting back in the field and running on late.

“He was trapped wide early and Luke had no choice but to go forward and sit outside the leader rather than cover extra ground.

“He was out of his comfort zone and ran super.

“The winner zipped away from him halfway down the straight then my bloke charged to the line – one more stride and he wins the race.”

TAB fixed odds have Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic the $4.60 favourite for the Inglis Sires’ ahead of Menari and Tulip at $8. Aspect is quoted at $51.

This preview of The Championships is brought to you by Racing NSW. Mark Brassel writes for Racing NSW Magazine, racingnsw苏州夜总会招聘.au and thechampionships苏州夜总会招聘.au