Home » Page 10

John O’Shea and Astern teach each other lessons and hoping to come up Roses

James McDonald rides Astern to win the MTA Run ToThe Rose at Rosehill this month. Photo: bradleyphotos杭州m.auGood horses teach trainers but, in turn, a trainer often has to teach a good horse how to show its best.

This is the dynamic for John O’Shea and Astern.

The Medaglia D’Oro colt has one defeat in  five runs, the Golden Slipper, the race O’Shea covets, but it is that loss that will shape his career and the tactics Godolphin will employ in Saturday’s Golden Rose.

“I have always thought ‘Why can’t I win a Slipper?’ Astern and others since I have been here [at Godolphin] have shown me why – because I haven’t had a horse good enough,” O’Shea said. “Then you still need everything to go right.”

Astern drew wide in the Golden Slipper and O’Shea was determined to be positive on him. James McDonald charged across from the challenging draw and raced  outside of the leader in the Slipper but was left with nothing to give in the straight. Astern was one fo the first beaten and finished 11th, a run that flies in the face of his other form

It was a hard lesson to learn for the boys in blue but when Astern again drew 12  in the Golden Rose this week, O’Shea’s first thought was again to be positive – positively negative.

“He’ll go back from that gate. There is no other way to ride him. We want to ride him to relax and have him settle,” O’Shea said. “I have spent the last four months of my life teaching him to relax and we not going to waste that on the big day.

“We’ve seen what he can do when he is relaxed and he is a very, very good horse.”

After the Golden Slipper, Astern dead-heated with Rose rival El Divino in the Kindergarten Stakes, and was then spelled.

His barrier trials gave some insight into the bigger, stronger and relaxed Astern but it was the Run To The Rose that confirmed his lightning acceleration.

McDonald had him comfortable back in the field and  gapped his rivals when he released the brakes   before he held off Star Turn’s late rally. The rest were left 3-1/2 lengths in their wake, led by another Godolphin colt, Impending.

“That’s what [Astern] can do when he settles and we have seen it at home,” O’Shea said. “Impending is a good horse with a soft draw [on Saturday] and will put himself in the race and only needs to get the breaks at the right time to be in the finish, so we have two good chances.”

The form reference is strong for Astern,  which carried a penalty in the Run To The Rose and gave those, who will come to the Rose from that race two weeks ago, weight and a thumping by at least 3-1/2 lengths.

Astern has been solid in betting at Ladbrokes and is the Golden Rose favourite at $3.80 as Silver Shadow Stakes winner Omei Sword has drifted to $4, with Up And Coming Stakes winner Divine Prophet at $4.80.

The main market mover has been for Yankee Rose, which is first-up since winning the Sires’ Produce Stakes after being Golden Slipper runner-up in the autumn. He has  come in from $9.50 to $5.50.

The Wallabies, not referees, have the image problem

Man in the middle: Referee Romain Poite looks toward Australian captain Stephen Moore during the Bledisloe Cup match in Wellington. Photo: Anthony Au-YeungThere is a moment in the upcoming Richie McCaw film, Chasing Great, that no Australian rugby player or coach can afford to ignore.

World Rugby referees’ chief Alain Rolland is asked why the former All Blacks openside was allowed to get away with so much at the breakdown. Rolland reflects on how often he is asked that question.

“My response is, he just seems to know where the line in the sand is,” Rolland says. “He’ll study the referees that he’s going to have, and he’ll know what he may or may not be able to get away with.”

We have heard much talk of “the line”, where it is, how receptive it is to being pushed and bent, and who it is who does that best. The take-home is actually Rolland’s observation that the All Blacks do their homework.

Flash back to Wellington two weeks ago, and observe McCaw’s successor, Kieran Read, in action. While Australian captain Stephen Moore was shooed away or ignored by Romain Poite, Read availed himself of the referee’s open-door policy to the All Blacks. Moreover, Moore would not so much as approach Poite before Read appeared beside him, asking “Romain” if he needed his help. His demeanour and tone resembled that of a protective big brother.

To Australian eyes and ears it was eye-wateringly obsequious. We haven’t stopped hearing about it either, after Wallabies coach Michael Cheika singled out Poite for pointed criticism in the post-match media.

But what are the Wallabies doing to help themselves? Talk to many international and Super Rugby referees, to coaches around the world and current and former players, and a picture emerges of the Wallabies as outliers in international rugby.

Where other unions, coaches and players cultivate good relationships with match officials off the field, the Wallabies policy has been not to engage. There are many reasons for that, some cultural, historical and some that come down to the personalities of the people involved. But what is the cost of not playing the game?

When a referee lands in South Africa or New Zealand ahead of a Super Rugby match or Test, they are inundated with hospitality. Tours to wineries, wildlife experiences, dinners, gifts. A classic anecdote is the time, more than a decade ago now, when three Brumbies players walked into a bar in Durban to see a referee happily sandwiched between two attractive, scantily clad women. The Brumbies players sidled up to say g’day and learnt the women were staff from the local tourism board, assigned to the official for the week he was in town.

Those days are long gone, but the overt courting has been replaced by the cultivation of mutual respect. There are strict guidelines governing a team’s interactions with head referees in the lead-up to a game. Outside the official match windows, or on the hospitality circuit around major events, it is common practice for coaches to seek out match officials, meet them and get to know them. One former Test referee told Fairfax Media the contact was never mistaken for friendship, but it helped build understanding and familiarity, which translates to goodwill and respect on the field.

Referee consultants are often hired by national unions and clubs. The Brumbies under Jake White hired one, who would advise when and how referees liked to be contacted as much as their approach to the scrum. It is understood that some players, who are now Wallabies, were not interested in hearing his recommendations.

Australians instinctively baulk at the suggestion a wheel be greased. This is the land of the fair go, of egalitarianism, of telling it like it is. From that perspective Moore deserved better from Poite in Wellington last month, not because he has ever made an effort to earn Poite’s respect, but because he just deserves it. One Super Rugby player told Fairfax Media: “It’s frustration, pure and simple. There’s no conscious lack of respect, it’s just frustration that you’re not being given a fair go.”

In the modern game it appears the fair go starts off the field. Talk to a referee – none were willing to be named in this story – and common courtesies go a long way. Pronounce their name correctly on the field, acknowledge them off it. Avoid public criticism, because there is no right of reply. One referee reflected on the dominance of rugby league in Australian rugby’s heartlands. Has its adversarial model of interaction between teams and match officials changed Australian players’ and coaches’ attitudes towards referees in rugby?

None of this is to discount criticism of the system, which has an acute image problem. Robbie Deans is understood to have once told an official before a big Super Rugby match that he could referee netball rules and there would be no complaints, as long as it was netball for the full 80 minutes. Consistency is the constant cry of the Super Rugby coach, yet at every turn in recents seasons it fell on deaf ears.

SANZAAR say they are open to constructive criticism. At a meeting next week the 18 chief executives will discuss a range of issues, including a proposal from Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson that Super Rugby adopt a similar model to England’s Premiership Rugby competition, which clearly defines communication and review procedures before and after games. At the international level, World Rugby’s regulations committee will review their laws governing meetings with match officials at a meeting early next month.

In return, Australia might look at their own behaviour in the context of the international game. Cheika and the Wallabies can rage against the machine all they like but what will best serve their 2019 World Cup ambitions?

Comments out of Wallabies camp late this week suggest the penny has dropped. The Wallabies joined with the Springboks on Friday to meet with referee Nigel Owens ahead of Saturday’s Test. After opting for scorched earth two weeks ago, now they appear to be going for soft power.

“Nigel’s the top referee in the world, and I know that is what the intention will be from day one,” Cheika told Rugby 360. “We made our point, we’ve spoken to the referees boss about our points and the work-ons that we want. We want to try to work with them to make it better for everyone. I’ve no doubt that we’re going to get that this weekend.”

Time to end this latest cycle of inhumanity

Paris Aristotle says: ‘The immediate imperative is that Australia acts swiftly to change the present policy settings that are inflicting serious harm.’ Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Albert Einstein is generally credited with asserting “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

Here’s a definition of inhumanity: doing the same thing over and over when you know the damage you are doing to people’s lives.

We know from the experience of the Pacific Solution that leaving people in limbo on Nauru without hope of being able to rebuild their lives makes them feel worthless, depressed and suicidal.

We know this because the last substantial group from that caseload, many of whom were refugees, was only resettled in Australia when the resident psychiatrist warned she would not be held responsible if they took their lives.

Now Paris Aristotle, the man who investigated the plight of this group back in 2005, has issued a similar warning about those who have been on Nauru and Manus Island.

We also know about the damage done by separating refugee families, because this was also part of the Pacific Solution.

Back in 2003, it emerged that several men who had been recognised as refugees and granted protection visas had wives and children on Nauru who had arrived on separate boats in 2001.

Just like now, the Australian government refused to bring them together, despite strong representations from the United Nations refugee agency, on the grounds that this would encourage people smuggling.

Just like now, those involved suffered depression so serious they could not function, whether they were families “free” in the Australian community or fathers and husbands on Nauru.

The ordeal of the families only ended when New Zealand agreed to resettle the families, having already taken a sizeable portion of those who were rescued from their sinking boat by the Norwegian freighter, MV Tampa.

It didn’t reignite the boat trade. Nor would ending the suffering of this group now.

Follow us on Twitter  

Motley Fool: Glenn Stevens leaving the economy in good shape

RBA Governor Glenn Stevens is leaving the economy in good shape. Photo: Louie DouvisThanks, Governor.

Reserve Bank supremo, Glenn Stevens, will vacate the big chair in just over a week, having been at the helm during one of the most challenging economic periods in living memory, and has come out of it with the regard of economists, central bankers, politicians and investors — no small feat, given the fractious nature of each of those groups… let alone trying to have those groups agree with each other on anything.

Oh, not everyone agrees, of course. But then, we’re all armchair experts. We opine with the luxury of knowing our opinions will never be tested in the real world. Generally, though, it’s hard to find many people who have a real and abiding disagreement with the way Stevens has run the central bank.

It’s something of a thankless task. Stevens worked for a small fraction of what he could have earned in business. He was scrutinised on an almost-daily basis in our media, and had submit to grillings by parliamentary committees. And, lest we forget, he has precisely one real tool in his toolkit — the official cash rate.

Compare that to the federal Treasurer of the day. He has income tax, indirect taxes, welfare programs, government rebates, industry assistance, procurement policy and scores of other tools at his disposal. Having too many options may be a curse in itself, but Stevens (and his replacement, the incoming governor, Phillip Lowe) has a single lever, with only three positions: hike, hold or cut.

A blunt tool

And here’s the thing: Stevens knows just how blunt that tool is. Cutting rates lowers the cost of borrowing, and so stimulates business investment. But he also knows that it adds fuel to an already overheated housing market, and significantly reduces the incomes of retirees. Plus, he has to think about the impact on business and consumer confidence, the exchange rate, and the fact that changes tend to take three to six months to really roll through the economy, so he needs to be part-forecaster, too.

Of course, he also has the most talked about skeletal feature of any public figure in the country: the fabled jawbone. As well as setting official policy, Glenn Stevens spent countless hours giving speeches and answering questions, knowing that his comments would be analysed and picked over. Both a blessing and a curse, one of his early attempts at humour was completely misunderstood by investors and traders who, frankly, really should get out more. But he turned that to his advantage, taking opportunities to comment, however obliquely, on the exchange rate, lending policy and — even more obliquely — giving a little advice to the Treasurer.

His appearances in Canberra were always fun to watch (well, if you like that sort of thing). With the wit of someone who knows the impact of their words on the market, Stevens’ answers — and more frequently his non-answers — both delivered with a wry, knowing smile are the stuff of legend.

A vital cog

Glenn Stevens steps down as Governor just as Australia celebrates its 100th consecutive quarter without a recession — a result that’s bettered only by one country, the Netherlands. That’s a record we’re likely to break by this time next year. That success is in part a result of thoughtful government policy (think: reforms that made our economy more flexible and resilient) and in part due to our geographic and natural resources luck — we had what China wanted, even as the rest of the world slumped into the GFC.

He played a critical role during that period, too — both by being prepared to cut rates, hard, when needed, but also to instill that most precious and important factor: confidence. While most people focus on the economic statistics — GDP, exports, spending and the like — these are outputs. In today’s globalised and services-heavy world, the single most important element of our economic circumstance is confidence. Without it, our wallets snap shut and the economy plunges into recession. That we avoided recession in 2008 and 2009 is, in very large part, a result of the faith Australians had in our economic circumstances, and the man with his hand on the rates button.

Foolish takeaway

Governor Stevens will leave his post with an economy in very good shape, thanks in part to his management of interest rates. But it’s not without risk. House prices are high, thanks largely to the availability of cheap credit. Central bank governors’ reputations are solidified in the years after their terms end, and a housing crash could well tarnish Stevens’, just as the low rates and low regulation sullied US Fed chief Alan Greenspan’s.

Still, based on what we know today, Glenn Stevens can leave his post with his head held high. He may not be solely responsible for our economic well being, but he has contributed meaningfully to the Australian economy we enjoy today.

Go well, Governor, and thank you.

New report: Forget BHP and Woolworths. These 3 “new breed” top blue chips for 2016 pay fully franked dividends and offer the very real prospect of significant capital appreciation. Click here to learn more.

Scott Phillips is the Motley Fool’s director of research. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TMFScottP. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

Stephen Moore gives critics short shrift as Wallabies seek to arrest form slump

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore says he has not taken notice of criticism hurled his way in recent weeks but insists he still has plenty of self-belief in his game as Australia look to reverse the “embarrassment” that is 2016 against the Springboks in Brisbane.

In the wake of the Wallabies’ defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington, Moore was asked if he had lost confidence in his lineout throwing, or in other words, whether he had the yips.

His response was a blunt “no” but there is no hiding from the 57 per cent throwing record he has returned in his previous two Tests.

Moore was asked again on Friday, after the Wallabies captain’s run at Ballymore Stadium, how he felt about the criticism directed at him.

“Has there?” Moore asked. “I haven’t really looked much at that, so if you start looking at that stuff you take your mind off what’s important. There’s a lot of belief in the team.

“I have got a lot of self-belief about my role in the team and we’re just worrying about what we can control internally so anything else is peripheral.”

Moore will need to generate belief quickly so he can formulate a solid partnership with his second-rowers and lineout generals as Australia attempt to get their set-piece sorted.

The skipper has backed new blindside breakaway and renowned jumper Dean Mumm, who has replaced Moore’s Brumbies teammate Scott Fardy, saying: “Deano’s done really well in the last few weeks when he’s come on and he’ll do a good job.”

Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss said it would be foolish to write a player of Moore’s calibre off and is expecting the Wallabies lineout to be much improved.

“Amazing player, great individual rugby player and a great hooker,” said Strauss of Moore, who will run out in his 108th Test on Saturday. “He knows how to throw the ball into the lineout so that’s definitely not an area of his game that is lacking and we know they’ll fine-tune their lineouts and be back.”

Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham, who is Moore’s mentor in Canberra, said the 33-year-old was playing the best football of his life.

“He’s still regarded as one of the best hookers in the world,” Larkham said. “He had a super-strong Super Rugby campaign, probably the best rugby I’ve ever seen him play. He’s making sure that his performance this week is as good as can be.”

After a shock 3-0 home defeat to England, Saturday presents as the Wallabies best chance to snap a six-game losing streak.

It is a dip in form that Larkham has described as an “embarrassment”, but statistics are on the Wallabies’ side.

For the first time since the England series they are favourites with the bookies and have won eight of nine games against the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium.

South Africa has only beaten Australia three times this century away from home, but facts and figures aside, Larkham reckons the Wallabies have had their best training week of the year.

“Motivation’s high, the energy’s high,” Larkham said. “We’ve carried a fair bit of embarrassment out of the last five games [this year] so the guys are very focused on trying to put a good performance out on the paddock.

“We felt we started something over in New Zealand in that last Test and we need to continue that.”

The Wallabies finalised their bench on Friday, opting for a 5-3 split with winger Drew Mitchell coming back into the frame to provide the backline with greater balance, according to Larkham.

RBA governor Glenn Stevens’ parting shot – hosing down the $A emphasis

Glenn Stevens was careful in his final interview as governor to downplay the exchange rate’s role in the transmission of monetary policy. Photo: Louie DouvisThere’s more than a little irony in at least some of the Australian dollar’s latest gyrations being attributed to Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens’ exit interview. He actually dissed monetary policy’s exchange rate power.

While the Australian dollar’s relative strength remains a constant concern for the RBA, at various times over the years the bank has tried to explain that it doesn’t move interest rates to specifically move the Aussie.

Yes, lowering interest rates and judicious use of the governor’s jawbone have had an impact, but Stevens was careful in his final interview as governor with Fairfax Media to downplay the exchange rate’s role in the transmission of monetary policy.

Asked specifically how much of monetary policy’s stimulus comes through its effect on the exchange rate, Stevens said:

“It’s very hard to be precise, because there are so many other things affecting the exchange rate, so identifying the interest rate effect is, you know, really a mug’s game, I think. But I guess I have to believe that having lowered the cash rate for five years, and also made the odd comment, exchange rate is lower than it was going to be otherwise. The terms of trade are taking it down as well. How much of that’s the interest rate? Impossible to be precise.”

The RBA view has been that the exchange rate movements follow the thrust of why monetary policy is moved, rather than just the actual interest rate adjustment. Obviously it all goes into the mix, as the governor implies, but trying to be specific about it is indeed a mug’s game.

Much, maybe most, market commentary has never accepted that. Time and again in this cycle, the commentariat has called for a rate cut or explained one as being necessary to lower the dollar. And when the Aussie has proceeded to go on its own sweet way despite a rate move, that argument gets put away until the next RBA meeting.

In his farewell interview, Stevens revisited a key point from his final speech about the burden of monetary policy stimulus falling on households:

“I think most of the domestic effects of cheap money comes through the household sector. Higher house prices than otherwise, more borrowing than otherwise, wealth effects, lower saving rate, etc, etc. That’s where I suspect the bulk of the domestic demand impetus comes from.

“It doesn’t come from businesses saying: ‘Quarter point less on funding costs relative to my hurdle rate. I’m now going to do the project.’ You know, there’s no evidence that that occurs or ever did. So it comes from the households. And as you know, the thing that I’ve tried to grapple with is – that’s where we get the effects, but do we actually want households to engage in a major levering-up from here. It’s not that what they did before was disastrous. That clearly hasn’t been. But from here how much more do you want?”

And that’s why Stevens has urged governments to borrow more to invest in the nation while still needing to rein in its recurrent budget deficit.

As to some perspective on Stevens’ RBA stewardship, at his farewell dinner on Tuesday, one of the fathers of modern Australian finance remarked how rare and pleasurable it was to be at a function for an institution that was held in near-universal respect. By implication, it’s hard to think of any other.

I began the week in this space previewing Australia’s incredible achievement of cracking the ton, of scoring 100 consecutive quarters of GDP growth, not out. That success had many fathers, as success tends to, but certainly there in the delivery room has been the RBA.

We are indeed fortunate to have such a fine central bank, a credit above all to its culture of service and intellectual honesty. That culture has both provided and nurtured by several decades of fine leadership, none better than that of Glenn Stevens.

It’s not entirely coincidental that for 20 of our 25 years of unbroken growth, Stevens has been a, or the, key player in our monetary policy. As the governor-designate, Philip Lowe, recounted on Tuesday, Stevens has attended 215 RBA board meetings – for 10 years as governor, for five years as deputy governor and for five years as chief economic adviser to the board.

Lowe’s speech was comprehensive, but I think the core of it about Stevens the man was this:

“Those of you who don’t know him might feel like you do: there are few Australians whose public utterances are so closely scrutinised and so widely covered by our media. But whether you know him personally, or through the media, I am sure you will have formed the same impression of Glenn.

“That is of an incredibly dedicated servant of the public over a career that spans 36 years, and a man of the highest integrity.

“Glenn has relentlessly served the interests of the Australian people. He has brought a very high level of analytical rigour to the task. He has exercised an independence of thought that is not always seen in public life. He has patiently explained difficult economic issues to Australians. He has talked to us about the challenges that Australia faces, but also the opportunities we have.

“In a world where optimism has sometimes been in short supply, he has more than once reminded us that the glass is at least half full. He has been deliberate, logical, thoughtful and measured in his remarks. He has done this all without fear or favour. He is a man of courage, prepared to say things that are true, even when they are not popular. And last – but not least – he helped successfully navigate our economy through the biggest resources boom in a century and a global financial crisis.”

And given his chance to reply, Stevens was quick to deflect credit to the many relatively anonymous workers at the RBA.

We have been fortunate to have him as governor and to have our central bank continue with its culture intact.

ICAC chief Megan Latham rejects plan to restructure agency

ICAC Commissioner Megan Latham gives evidence at state parliament on Friday. Photo: Daniel MunozThe head of the NSW corruption watchdog has criticised a proposed restructure of the agency that would see her role replaced with a panel of three commissioners, saying it would increase costs and leave “a couple of people sitting around twiddling their thumbs”.

Megan Latham, a former Supreme Court judge who took over as head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2014, told a parliamentary inquiry on Friday that splitting her role between three commissioners would “involve unnecessary cost and complexity”.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet says in a submission to the inquiry that a “best practice” model would be for ICAC to adopt a panel structure with three commissioners.

It suggested some decisions, such as whether to hold a public inquiry, could require the unanimous approval of the panel.

The proposal has been viewed as a way to curb the power of any one commissioner to influence the direction of the agency.

But Ms Latham said the model was “untested” and “does not represent current best practice for anti-corruption agencies”.

“No other anti-corruption agency in Australia requires unanimous or even majority decisions between commissioners and assistant or deputy commissioners before investigations can be commenced or statutory powers exercised,” she said.

Equivalent bodies in other states, including the Victorian Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission, vested powers in one commissioner “who may be assisted by a deputy or assistant commissioners”.

Ms Latham said having three full-time commissioners would at times leave “a couple of people sitting around twiddling their thumbs” and the existing system of ad hoc commissioners was preferable.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet has suggested the panel structure “may assist in alleviating tensions that can arise between a single Commissioner and a single Inspector”.

Ms Latham has butted heads with ICAC Inspector David Levine, QC, a former Supreme Court judge who has been a vocal critic of the agency.

Inaugural ICAC Inspector Graham Kelly told the inquiry of the spat between the pair: “It is heartbreaking for me to see the mess that has ensued. It didn’t need to ensue.”

Mr Levine has recommended ICAC hold its hearings behind closed doors to minimise reputational damage to targets.

But Mr Kelly said the government and parliament should “stand condemned if such retrograde steps were undertaken”.

He also queried whether the ICAC inspector should be a former judge, saying “it all becomes too legalistic”.

“You need an acute understanding of the law but you need an understanding of how organisations work and you need an understanding of management issues,” Mr Kelly said.

Ms Latham said it was worth considering appointing an ICAC inspector from a different background.

Having a commissioner and an inspector drawn from the same “bear pit” could be a recipe for disaster and “egos can be strong”, she said.

“I think there is scope for a different kind of relationship between the inspector and the commissioner where you haven’t got someone in the role of the inspector who potentially thinks they could be doing a better job,” Ms Latham said.

Super Rugby 2016: Police want to speak again to stripper at centre of Chiefs scandal

New Zealand police say they will speak again to Scarlette, the stripper at the centre of the Chiefs scandal after an interview with her was played on New Zealand radio on Friday.

Police said they would investigate after Scarlette said in the interview that players from the Hamilton-based Super Rugby team threw gravel at her, touched her genitals and chanted obscenities as they crowded around her.

But New Zealand rugby players’ association boss Rob Nichol says was nothing new in the information and that allegations broadcast were looked at during the investigation and refuted by the players.

“They were not substantiated by the investigation,” Nichol said.

“If the police deem that they need to look at this again, then they absolutely should.”

Politicians have slammed the “bogus” investigation, while organisations including the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network and the Human Rights Commission urged New Zealand Rugby to sort out how it deals with women.

Following the initial allegations, police said they had spoken to Scarlette on two occasions.

“At the time she was offered further information and support by police. However, based on those discussions, which included consideration of her wishes and the information that was available to us, police at the time were not able to take the matter further.”

There was now potential to take the issue further, considering the information released to the public on Friday.

“Given what has been reported in the media today, we will again reach out to her to see if there is any further information she wishes to provide for police to assess,” a police spokesperson said.

In an interview with RNZ last month, further details of which have now been released, Scarlette spoke about the ordeal says she faced on the night.

When she arrived, the players were “beyond drunk” so she had to perform in a garden bar outside, rather than the main building, she said.

“The first thing they said when they saw me was show us your —- so straight off the bat, I went, right, I’ve got to handle these guys how they want to be handled, because they’re not going to listen to me.”

After she started her performance, the man she was performing on hit her when she slapped him as part of her routine, she said.

“He hit me back, I told him not to hit me which he did again,” she told RNZ.

“He proceeded to touch my vagina multiple times with me telling him not to and eventually having to fight him off. That didn’t deter him though, he kept going.”

During the performance, Scarlette the players crowded around her with “a real pack mentality kind of thing”, she told RNZ.

She said they tried to get their penises out, while they were throwing gravel at her during the performance.

“I’d normally stop just from that, but I felt that I couldn’t stop because I’ve been in situations before where I’ve been held in rooms, had knives held to me and I didn’t want this one to go that way, because if you show your vulnerability they do attack it,” she told RNZ.

– Stuff

Harriet Wran set to walk free from Silverwater jail

Harriet Wran after she was sentenced last month Photo: Michelle MossopHarriet Wran, the daughter of late former premier Neville Wran, is set to walk free from Silverwater jail within days after being granted parole.

The NSW State Parole Authority granted her release at a private hearing at Parramatta on Friday.

“The offender has served more than two years of a maximum four year sentence,” the authority said in a statement on Friday.

As part of her release Wran must abstain from alcohol and must not be found in possession or using illegal drugs.

She must also participate in psychological or psychiatric treatment and must not contact the victim’s family or her co-offenders.

The authority said Wran will be released within the next seven days.

In July this year Wran was sentenced to a minimum of two years jail for her involvement in a robbery and acting as an accessory after the fact to the murder of small-time drug dealer Daniel McNulty.

Mr McNulty was murdered by Wran’s boyfriend of two weeks, Michael Lee, and another man, Lloyd Haines, during a botched ice deal at a public housing unit in Walker Street, Redfern on August 10, 2014.

She has been in jail since her arrest in August 2014.

At the time of her sentencing Justice Ian Harrison found that Wran played no role in the events that unfolded in unit B30 once she had knocked on the door.

“Once entry to the unit had been gained, the robbery escalated well beyond the scope of the offence to which Ms Wran was a party.

“Indeed, it escalated unexpectedly and quickly in a manner that she did not anticipate or foresee,” he said.

He described Wran’s accessory offence as “harbouring Mr Lee for a period of three days and failing to bring him to the attention of police”.

Wran was originally charged with the murder of Mr McNulty but the charges were downgraded by the Crown on July 6.

Wran then pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of accessory after the fact to murder – knowing that Lee had murdered Mr McNulty – and robbery in company.

At her sentencing hearing Wran spoke for three hours explaining to the court how she went from private school girl who abused Ritalin to an ice junkie who ended up in the middle of a bloody murder.

“I’m ashamed to have been involved in anything like that. I can’t believe someone died,” she told the court.

“I regret every step I took that night.”

Lee pleaded guilty to murder on June 16 while Haines pleaded guilty on June 21.

“I never thought in a million years I’d end up in jail, let alone for murder. I’ve never intended for anyone to get hurt in my life,” she said.

“If I hadn’t knocked on the door perhaps it wouldn’t have happened.”

Justice Harrison handed down a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years for robbery in company, and a one-year term for acting as an accessory after the fact.

Racing: Makybe Diva Stakes preview

Big chance: Black Tomahawk, right, at Moonee Valley last month. Photo: Vince CaligiuriRace 1 12.25pm Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Handicap (2500m)

Black Tomahawk is well overdue for a win with placings at his last four starts and gets his chance coming back to Flemington. The Darren Weir-trained gelding was beaten by a nose two starts back over the same course and distance as this week’s contest and last start was second again over 2500m at Moonee Valley. O’Lonera comes to Flemington looking for four wins on the trot and is stepping up in distance on her last-start win over 2000m at Caulfield. Refectory is looking for a hat-trick after wins at Sandown and Moonee Valley.

Race 2 1pm Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m)

The Robbie Laing-trained Missrock showed her class with an impressive win in the group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes at Randwick during the Sydney autumn carnival. Her fresh record is two from two and she will be hard to beat first up again. My Country was spelled after winning in Listed company at Eagle Farm during the winter carnival and is certain to be competitive again. Ariaz is stepping up to harder company after a second in a midweek Sandown BenchMark 70 and Getemhel is back to Saturday class after winning her maiden at Geelong last start.

Race 3 1.35pm Starlight Express Room Stakes (1400m)

Tessera made up ground from the back when seventh to stablemate Astern in the group 2 Run to the Rose and will be better suited here. Good Standing is also better placed here but is also an acceptor in the group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill.

Tessera during early morning trackwork at Richmond. Photo: Peter Rae

Seaburge will wear the winkers for the first time after a first-up fourth in the group 3 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield. Promising colt Yu Long Sheng Hui will also wear winkers and Throssell is a winner of two from three starts and will take plenty of benefit from his first third in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley. Sydney colt Detective has the job ahead from a wide barrier.

Race 4 2.15pm The Sofitel (1400m)

Tashbeeh is facing a huge class drop after running fourth to Black Heart Bart in the group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield last start and will be hard to beat in the Listed Sofitel. The Mick Price-trained Brook Of Brooklyn is racing consistently with four seconds and a win from his last five starts and heads to Flemington on the back of a second over 1400m at Caulfield. Bon Aurum will take a lot benefit from his first-up third at Caulfield and is a winner over the same course and distance as The Sofitel and Cool Chap will be running on while fresh.

Race 5 2.50pm Danehill Stakes (1200m)

Defcon scored a brilliant first-up win in the group 3 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield and looks the one to beat in the Danehill Stakes. Hardham has the blinkers on after a disappointing last start sixth behind Defcon and the stable is expecting plenty of improvement. Highland Beat also chased home Defcon when runner-up in the McNeil Stakes to record his third second placing in his last three starts and deserves a change of luck. Valliano ran a solid race last start for fourth in the group 3 Vain Stakes and Archives will wear the blinkers when he resumes. The market will be the best guide for Kiwi colt Saracino who is a last-start group 2 winner in New Zealand.

Race 6 3.30pm Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m)

Under The Louvre was strong to the line when second to Redzel in the group 3 Resimax Stakes and the Stradbroke Handicap winner will be amongst the top-end of the prize money again.

Dwayne Dunn rides to victory in the Stradbroke Handicap on Under The Louvre. Photo: Tertius Pickard

Santa Ana Lane was making up plenty of ground when third to Redzel and is certain to be one of the main players as well. Kiwi sprinter Xtravagant has group 1 winning form in New Zealand but did fail at his only run at Flemington when unplaced in the Australian Guineas during the autumn carnival. Kinglike is struggling to regain the early potential he showed as a three-year-old, but has won over this course and distance when he took out group 2 Danehill Stakes 12 months ago.

Race 7 4.10pm Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m)

Black Heart Bart has the form on the board and is the one to beat after an impressive first-up win in the group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield. The Memsie Stakes was his second group 1 victory and a lot would have to go wrong for him not to secure his third group 1 win in the Makybe Diva Stakes. Rising Romance chased home Black Heart Bart in the Memsie Stakes and will be doing her best work again at the end of the 1600m. Palentino is back to the scene of his best win in the group 1 Australian Guineas over the same course and distance as the Makybe Diva Stakes and a finish in the placings is on the cards. A better effort from Tarzino is expected back at the bigger Flemington track after a first-up eighth in the Memsie Stakes.

Race 8 4.50pm Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m)

The Mick Price-trained Badawiya and Tony McEvoy’s Don’t Doubt Mamma look set to fight out the Let’s Elope Stakes on the track and in the betting ring. Both mares are battling for favouritism in wide betting in the capacity field of 16 mares. Badawiya is a winner over this course and distance four starts back and is first-up since running 11th to Precious Gem in the group 1 Sangster Stakes at Morphettville in May. Don’t Doubt Mamma will have benefited from her first-up fifth in the Cockram Stakes at Caulfield. Thames Court and Telopea are also in contention after finishing second and third in the Cockram Stakes.

Race 9 5.25pm Spring Is The Season Handicap (1700m)

Royal Rapture can make it four wins on the trot if he can take out the Spring Is The Season Handicap. The Darren Weir-trained seven-year-old has won twice at Flemington recently, once over the same distance as Saturday’s assignment and heads back to Flemington on the back of a win over 1500m at Moonee Valley three weeks ago. The lightly-weighted Pilote D’Essai is overdue for a win after being runner-up at his last two starts at Flemington and Moonee Valley. Tally will find this a lot easier than his first-up 12th of 12 in the group 1 Memsie Stakes and will expect a better result. It wouldn’t surprise if Big Memory and Howard Be Thy Name put in eye-catching runs at their first outings for the spring.

Content provided by our commercial partners Ladbrokes.

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.