The Trip: Italy and France

NAMES Vincent and Swee Chong
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THE TRIP Italy and France in April/May 2017 (food, glorious food!)

THE ITINERARY We started in Milan and took a Bernina Express tour which included a coach ride to Tirano and then a train ride to St Moritz. The journeys and destinations were spectacular. From Milan, we also went to Bergamo, and Citta Alta was fascinating and the polenta cake yummy. The Milanese veal cotoletta and risotto in Osteria Brunello in Milan were exceptional.

In Venice, we strolled leisurely and loved the chichetti and frittura mista. In Rome, we ate seasonal Roman food like carciofi alla romana and alla giuda. Fatamorgana’s innovative gelato flavours were delicious. We also enjoyed a food tour in Trastevere which highlighted Roman specialities. In Sorrento, the seafood at Porta Marina was unforgettable and unpretentious. Raki is now our top-ranked gelateria!

We now know there is more to Positano than just the tourist area. We had wonderful seafood and smoked mozzarella grilled between lemon leaves. In Florence, we enjoyed lampredotto sandwich, bolitta, trippi, tortelli with wild boar sauce, spaghetti with fresh anchovies/capers and bistecca alla fiorentina. From La Spezia, we went on a Sunday to Camogli which celebrated its annual fish festival. We saw the biggest frypan and longest queue for seafood! The Porta Palazzo market and Egyptian Museum in Turin were excellent. We tasted delicious Piedmontese food which included Fassone and Grissonipoli beef and “bonet” pudding.

We loved the markets and chocolates from Sebastien Bouillet in Lyon. With minimal French, we ordered many a meal with difficulty but ate with ease. In Tours, we toured the impressive Chambord and Chenonceau castles and ate delicious French food. Our last stop was Paris and we loved the French Open tennis. We ate comfort French food and pastries, watched the ducks in the Tuileries and walked the Promenade Plantee. C’est bon!

BEST BITS Being at Roland Garros was special. So was eating confit of goose and carciofi (Roman-style artichokes).

WORST BIT We had only one bad meal, at a bouchon in Vieux Lyon – the duck and quenelle were uncooked!

BEST TIP Take the trains in Italy and France and use local transport wherever possible; you will see the land and live like a local.

WHERE TO NEXT A food tour in Morocco with side trips to the tapas/pincho bars in Spain.

‘That one really cuts the heart’: the pain the Wallabies will channel in Brisbane

Kurtley Beale has urged the Wallabies to channel the pain of Dunedin to erase their heartbreak and restore credibility against the All Blacks this weekend.
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No n player was more broken than Beale after full-time in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in New Zealand when the Wallabies blew a golden chance to beat the Kiwis on their home turf.

Standing in the players’ tunnel at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Beale could barely get his words out, repeatedly looking off into the distance and contemplating how close he and teammates came to breaking a 16-year drought on New Zealand soil.

“That one really hurts, heartbreaking stuff ??? that one really cuts the heart,” Beale said in the aftermath of one of the great Bledisloe Cup matches.

Eight weeks on, Beale and the Wallabies have made steady progress and since Dunedin are unbeaten.

The suggestion that Saturday’s clash in Brisbane will carry little significance will be met with a scoff from n players who have recalled the pain of that night.

Asked whether the team could use intrinsic motivation from the last loss, Beale replied: “Yeah I think so. Some guys might forget about it, some others might still be hurt by it and use it to advantage on the weekend. I think we have a really good balance.

“Even though it did hurt in the end, I think individually in my own game it felt good to be part of a huge game like that. Looking how far we came from the week before gave me a lot of confidence in guys around me. It allowed me to look forward with excitement and enthusiasm to keep building and learning off each other to try to reach that No.1 spot that we want.”

‘s spatial awareness in defence might look better than earlier in the year, but numbers show the team is still leaking as many points.

From 15 Tests last year the Wallabies averaged 27.1 points against them per game. From nine matches this year, the figure is, remarkably, exactly the same, while during the Rugby Championship that number has inflated to 29.8 points per game.

Beale is confident his men are more assured in their defensive roles ahead of a third bout with the All Blacks.

“Defensively it’s all about attitude,” Beale said. “If guys are ready from the first whistle I think we’ll put ourselves in a really good position to aim up in our defence.

“If we are urgent around that from the start I feel like we have got the confidence in our defensive structures to be able to shut them down.

“It’s easy to say that but it’s a matter of getting out there and doing it. You can’t lose focus for a second or they’ll come back and pounce on you and take that opportunity and turn it into points.”

Beale crunched All Blacks No.12 Sonny Bill Williams on two occasions in Dunedin and since then the 32-year-old former NRL star has been under significant pressure from the New Zealand media regarding his performances.

Beale, however, was quick to praise his opposite number.

“Sonny Bill is no different; another guy who can create something out of nothing,” Beale said. “Obviously a world-class player, another danger man.

“It’s just going to be a huge challenge – No.1 to No.15 to get on top of your man. We’ll be doing everything possible to try to shut those threats down.”

Beale will hold onto his No.12 jersey but the question on everyone’s lips is whether Michael Cheika will recall Karmichael Hunt, ‘s inside-centre in June, to get a maiden crack at the All Blacks.

Hunt’s astute rugby brain, fearless attitude in defence and inventive style of play are three traits Beale believes the Wallabies must use if they are to snap a seven-game losing streak against their trans-Tasman rivals.

“I think [he can bring] creativity and I’ve always said that in Test match footy you need creativity along with a lot of one-percenters,” Beale said. “Obviously this week we’re up against New Zealand and their whole team is full of that.

“They have X factor, they have game breakers across the whole park and we are fully aware of that. To have someone of K’s calibre ??? he can add that to our team and help us get the right result.”

ASIO warns of overwhelming foreign spying threats

Domestic intelligence agency ASIO says it has not been able to keep up with the growing level of “harmful espionage and foreign interference” operations being carried out in , which have sought to steal sensitive government and corporate information and covertly influence public debate.
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The secretive agency said it had struggled to meet the demands of confronting two major threats, terrorism that “shows no sign of diminishing” and an “unprecedented” level of hostile foreign interference that was “expanding in its scope and complexity”.

“Foreign intelligence services sought access to privileged and/or classified information on ‘s alliances and partnerships, our position on international diplomatic, economic and military issues, our energy and mineral resources, and our innovations in science and technology,” director-general Duncan Lewis wrote in ASIO’s annual report.

ASIO chief Duncan Lewis. Photo: Andrew Meares

On top of these operations, the spy agency “identified foreign powers clandestinely seeking to shape the opinions of members of the n public, media organisations and government officials in order to advance their country’s own political objectives”.

“Ethnic and religious communities in were also the subject of covert influence operations designed to diminish their criticism of foreign governments,” ASIO reported.

“These activities – undertaken covertly to obscure the role of foreign government – represent a threat to our sovereignty, the integrity of our national institutions and the exercise of our citizens’ rights.”

Much of the interference, according to the report, is an “insidious threat” and the significant consequences may not be immediately felt. The threat of state-sponsored cyber-attacks is also expected to increase due to their affordability and “plausible deniability”.

ASIO’s comments follow accusations that one of ‘s biggest political donors engaged in clandestine activities to “advance the interests of the People’s Republic of China” and concerns that Chinese students at universities are agitating against free speech and political expression.

Earlier this year, a joint Fairfax Media-Four Corners investigation exposed ASIO’s concerns about foreign interference, including the targeting of Chinese ns who are critical of Beijing and influence on university campuses and in Chinese language media.

Attorney-General George Brandis is planning a significant shake-up of the laws governing influence in n politics amid the fears centred around the Chinese Communist Party.

In recent days, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Frances Adamson, head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, have called for respect of freedom of speech at universities and “secure and resilient” campuses in the face of “untoward influence and interference”.

ASIO’s report suggested some government departments or agencies felt that “more resources should be devoted…to our broader counter-espionage and foreign interference efforts”.

The agency also singled out the rising popularity of encrypted communications, saying its use “by security intelligence targets remains an area of particular concern”.

“Rapid technological development and the increasing use of encrypted communications devices by individuals planning attacks impacted on intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ efforts to detect their activities,” the report said.

Mr Lewis also expressed concern about the “re-emerging” terror threat in south-east Asia, pointing to the ongoing influence of the so-called Islamic State, the significant number of south-east Asian foreign fighters involved in the Middle East, the release from prison of convicted terrorists “who remain capable and influential” and the existence of “ungoverned spaces…which can be used as safe havens for planning and logistic support by terrorists” .

The n government has been assisting the Philippines in a domestic conflict with Islamic State-aligned militants, who have laid siege to the southern city of Marawi.

ASIO warned that “any defeat of ISIL will not be absolute”, predicting that the threat – including from returning foreign fighters – would endure for a long time.

Newcastle start-up Feike takes the hassle out of a night out by cycling to your car to meet you and dropping you home

Let me jump your car: FEIKE founder Daniel Spitieri drops a client home in their car. You were an apprentice at Gough and Gilmour, an earthmoving company in the Hunter Valley. What sort of apprenticeship did you do?
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Plant mechanic. I have been injected with what they call “yellow blood”.

You were then a marine engineer on a 115ft mega yacht in the Caribbean – what led you there and how was that experience?

​I set off on a working holiday through the United States, ended up scoring a job down in Dominican Republic and stayed on the vessel for three years. It was an unbelievable experience to travel through the Caribbean, Bahamas and USA working on a mega yacht which was loaded with jet skis boats diving equipment.

You were a workshop supervisor at Longwall Haul in Redhead for the past six years – what were your core duties?

Organising workshop employees with daily task, making sure safety and compliance was being held to a high standard in accordance to the latest WHS guidelines. Trouble shoot and diagnose complex machine faults on safety systems and machine systems. Organise maintenance service intervals and repairs.

You’ve recently started FEIKE, a company in which you basically ride your bikes to meet clients who have consumed too much to drive their car, or just pick up their car and drop it to their house. Where did you get the idea and what made you think it would work?

After leaving my previous job I was often wondering what my next move was going to be.

It wasn’t until we met up with a group of our friends, with who we take it in turns and do a “Master Chef” cook off, we all have kids and there is plenty of wine involved, so one of the partners always has to not drink to be able to drive home.

One couple said while they were overseas a guy used to pick them up and drive their car home after drinks all the time.

I said “this is brilliant, who wouldn’t want this service, and we would use this service right now!’

Especially in Newcastle, parking meters everywhere, people risking DUI the next morning, having to get up early the next morning to go and get your car. These are all the reasons I knew it would work.

When did you launch and how is the start-up travelling?

I have had a soft opening the about two months ago with friends and family, then I opened it to my network about two weeks ago, next week my FEIKE APP will be ready so the full scale launch will be happening in two weeks.

So far business has been great;a lot of families have been using the service as both mum and dad want to drink at barbecues and still be able to take the kids home in their car seats.

I have covered a lot of distance through Newcastle as well, which is why I am looking for more FEKIE riders so I can meet the demand.

What have been the hardest lessons so far?

Business is a whole new ball game to what I have been used to in the past.

How much have you tweaked your business model?

If you believe me, I literally started with a four-line business plan! I thought yep, I’m good to go. How wrong I was.

The business plan is now over 20 pages long and involves scaling the company globally.

Daniel Spiteri

Why should people use FEIKE over UBER or a cab?

Both companies can’t get your car home. Plus I have been very competitive with my pricing with no surcharge or hidden fees.

Once you fill your details out on the App you get a quote, and that is it, very transparent and clear.

The client’s car needs to be empty so you can put your bike in it. Have you had any hitches if a boot is full?

Yes, personal trainers car boot full of training gear was a little bit tricky, but we managed.

How far will you ride to get a car – you must be pretty fit?

The service area is 6km from Nobby’s Beach as the crow flies, but I have been regularly going out to Dudley, Redhead, and the outskirts of New Lambton. My fitness is improving to next level.

What’s the best thing about working at FEIKE?

Lifestyle (working hours), paid to exercise and customer interaction – everybody is always so pumped to see you.

And the worst?

Riding up Fernleigh Track at 12.30amis quite scary. Peaceful but scary.

Funniest client award goes to….

Some interesting conversations surrounding topics that can’t be published, If there was not privacy acts surrounding what I am allowed to publish, “FEKIE customerconversations” would be a TV show!

Do you hope to make it your full-time job?

It is my full time job, there is a lot of planning and organising that I am involved in behind the scenes, also with the ambition to scale FEIKE, processes and systems need to be refined.

17 young women are taking over Parliament today – here’s why

A squad of 18 young women from around set to ‘take over” parliament house tomorrow, when they step into the seat of an MP for the day, carrying out one concrete decision, presenting a report on gender equality in politics and potentially speaking to parliament. They are also looking to pass a motion to recreate the position of Minister for Youth. (left) Ashleigh Streeter and Caitlin Figueiredo. Photo by Karleen Minney.Caitlin??? Figueiredo??? still remembers the first time she told her class she wanted to be Prime Minister of . Her teacher told her to sit down; she was a girl and girls needed “more realistic” dreams.
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Now 22, the Canberra law student runs her own social enterprise, helps oversee n projects for the UN and sits on various boards and charities. Last year, she was named a Global Changemaker by Michelle Obama at the White House.

On Wednesday, Ms Figueiredo joined forces with 16 other local girls who share her ambitions for high office in a “takeover” of Parliament House.

“We’re here to send a message, we are powerful,” Ms Figueiredo said, as the team gathered on the lawns of the House Wednesday morning.

The young women, aged between 17 and 30, each hijacked the seat of a federal MP, as part of a global “takeover” in parliaments and boardrooms across the world to celebrate International Day of the Girl.

In , women hold less than a third of all seats in parliament, and fewer than a quarter of ministerial portfolios.

New research from Plan International, which organised the takeover, shows half of young n women see their gender as their biggest barrier to becoming leaders.

The charity surveyed more than 1700 girls aged 10-17 and 530 men and women between 18 and 25 years of age about their views on gender equality and politics as well as their aspirations.

While two thirds of 15-17 year old girls aspired to be leaders, by the age of 22-25, less than half of women shared those goals compared to 60 per cent of men the same age.

Ms Figueiredo spearheaded Wednesday’s action, along with Ashleigh Streeter, 23, to close the “dream gap” for n girls and demand a gender balance in parliament. The pair said it was more than a token photo opportunity, and each woman carried out at least one concrete decision by the day’s end on behalf of their MP, as well as helping to write speeches, draft motions and raise questions in Question Time. After stopping by the party rooms of Labor and the Greens, the team presented Plan International’s newly released ‘She Can Lead’ reportto the Prime Minister and sat down with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

So where would they start if they were in the top job?

“I’d ban sexist advertising and commentary in the media,” said 18-year-old Asha Clementi, who stepped into the shoes of Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie for the day.

According to Plan’s report, most young women agree, with fewer than one in four women believing men and women were treated equally by the media and 82 per cent saying more attention was placed on their looks than men’s. #girlstakeoverpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/rZPIHRAVeR??? Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) October 18, 2017Spoke today about gender pay gap, #GirlsTakeOver Parliament & women in leadership. Which leading n women do you most admire? pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/8OhlWIPWyR??? Andrew Leigh (@ALeighMP) October 18, 2017A report by @Plan showed a gap b/w what girls aspire to + the opportunities available to them. Let’s change that. #GirlsTakeoverpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/6eoiw2nQ67??? Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) October 17, 2017

Newcastle startup Herb Urban takes the guess work out of gardening for those who want to grow their own

TINKER TAILOR: Jared Lawlor, founder of Herb Urban, with an example of one of his smart garden systems. JARED Lawlor has a green thumb but when he moved into a Tighes Hill house a few years back he grew it –and a business – to next level proportions.
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Mr Lawlor andpartner Heidi took the sun for granted until they settled in thesouth-facing home, which enjoyed little drenching natural light beyond a small patch at the front fence.

“Being so used to growing herbs and veges we didn’t know what to do so I put my skills to the test,” says the electrical engineer.

He ran PVC pipes along a wall and developed a complex watering and plant nutrient system which quickly drew comments.

“Friendswere like ‘wow, that is a great idea’ and I soon realised it was and started to look at ways to simplify the system so the end user who didn’t have time or the inclination to do the tech stuff but wanted a garden could just set it and forget it,” he says.

Today Mr Lawlor’s startup Herb Urban is thriving, with plans to retail its smart gardening systems nationally and globally. It offers automatedgardening systems including vertical farms, urban farms and automated green wall systems, all of which turn on a controller with sensorsthat ensure plants receive the right amount of water and nutrients.

Greening spaces: A Herb Urban installation in Newcastle.

“It is a zero waste system – there is nothing out there on the market like it and I’ve designed this from scratch in Newcastle,”says Mr Lawlorof the product that he makes in the Islington co-workspace of carpenter Stu Pinkerton.

Watch my garden grow: The controller of the Herb Urban system is in the large box, which controls the water and nutrients given to the garden.

“The plants only get given what they will use and nothing more or less so they are living in a perfect state.”

Herb Urban will soon release its first commercial product, a DYI “plug and play” product allowing customers to buy and setup the system at home.

Out of the box: Herb Urban garden systems are horizontal and vertical and made to measure for urban spaces.

“The first units will be delivered around Newcastle but the product will be refined so we can go interstate and globally,” says Mr Lawlor.

He and his partner have long grown their own produce, keen to cutwaste associated withsupermarkets.

Mr Lawlor says Herb Urban grew from a pure desire to give people the ability to grow their own food without having to think about it.

“People who can gardentake it for granted, the knowledge base you have to build up over a long time; ifyou are gardening conventionally you have to cultivate soil and put time and sweat into it,” he says. “We wanted to take the guess work out of it.”

Mr Lawlor, a participant in The Business Centre’s Start House 100 innovation course, says many clients live in central Newcastle andwant to grow their own produce for sustainability and health reasons.With manyhavingan oversupply of produce, heplans to create a community of sharing via a local farmers markets stall or an online forum.

Penrith great Mark Geyer has endorsed Garth Brennan for the head-coaching vacancy at the Gold Coast.

IN THE HOT SEAT: Garth Brennan is tipped to be announced as Gold Coast coach on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollPenrith great Mark Geyer has endorsed Garth Brennan for the head-coaching vacancyat the Gold Coast, amid speculation the Titans will confirm his appointment on Thursday.
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Brennan is believed to have emerged atop a list of coaching candidates including sacked South Sydney coach Michael Maguire, Brisbane assistant Jason Demetriou and Ipswich’s coaching brothers Shane and Ben Walker.

Brennan’s credentials include winning the NSW Cup with Penrith in 2014 and the NSW Cup-NRL State Championship double this year after cutting his teeth as the club’s under-20s coach in 2012-13.

The former Newcastle Wests and Waratah-Mayfield fullback, who still lives at Stockton, also coached the Knights into the National Youth Competition finals in 2011.

“If it is true, geez, that’s a great result for the Titans because not only have they got a great coach, but they’ve got a great bloke,” Geyer said on Triple M Sydney on Wednesday.

“He’s got good intestinal fortitude. He’s all about making the player better. He’s not into politics. He doesn’t like the shit in the game. He just gets straight into what’s important and that’s the players and their performances on the footy field.

“They need a bloke to go in and be a great mentor and also going to be firm, but fair.”

Another premiership-winning ex-Panther, Martin Lang, wished Brennan luck and added that he is “going to need it”.

Lang said Brennan’s greatest challenge would be in managing enigmatic superstar Jarryd Hayne.

Hayne fell out with former Titans coach Neil Henry, who was subsequently sacked with a year to run on his contract.

“Everything I hear about him is very good,” Lang said of Brennan. “He’s got a great knowledge, good relationship with the players.

“But at the end of the day it will come down to how he handles Jarryd Hayne.

“I know these NRL jobs are few and far between but that’s a tough job to go into.”

Lang reckoned there were worse ideas than for the Titans and Panthers to trade Hayne and Matt Moylan if Brennan got the green light.

Moylan reportedly fell out with recently re-signed Penrith coach Anthony Griffin, missing the NRL finals campaign this year.

“Maybe he should swap him for Moylan at Penrith so Hayne can go to Sydney where he is happy, I don’t know,” Lang said. “But as a first-time coach Garth will know everybody needs to be treated differently.

“In many ways you have to treat someone like Hayne like a thoroughbred racehorse.

“But you have to set standards and if they are broken you have to pull everyone in line whether they are paid $1.2 million a year or $80,000.”

Lang said Hayne was just one dilemmaBrennan would faceat the Gold Coast.

A call on which consortium will buy the Titans off the NRL is not expected until November.

It is unclear whether Brennanwould relinquish his roleas New Zealandassistant coach at the World Cupjob if he securesthe Titans job.

Halfback Ash Taylor has also delayed contract extension talks until the Titans’ future is clearer but he becomes a free agent on November 1.

Other Titans can’t wait – prized utility Tyrone Roberts announced a surprise move to English Super League club Warrington from next season.

“There’s the club ownership, player retention, re-signing Ash Taylor, Roberts has gone to England – it’s a big call taking on the Titans job,” Lang said.

Dissecting the Amerika dream

Making independent films anywhere is never easy, but it’s that much harder in a country embroiled in a debt crisis.
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All really good Greek actors are working at two theatres simultaneously and making films on the side just to make ends meet, says Yannis Sakaridis, who nevertheless managed to round up a formidable cast in his film Amerika Square. The good thing, from a film-maker’s point of view, is that all the privation makes you nimble.

“You get really good practice when you work on a Greek film. We did this film in four weeks. A lot of people do it in less time. There is a lot of talent at the moment in shooting and acting, really good crews and I guess the weather always helps.”

Sakaridis lived in London for 18 years, so he has a point of comparison with an arts environment that is relatively flush. “And I realise that Athens is really a very modern place for art, with amazing theatre, music and novels being written. People matured very quickly after the crisis, I think. You miss something but you get something. I mean, there is obviously not enough money. But there is a lot going on.”

Amerika Square is an adaptation of a novel by Yannis Tsirbas that deals with another of Greece’s immediate issues: the fact that this cash-strapped country is the first staging post for refugees from Syria trying to get to Europe. The eponymous square is an unofficial meeting point for those new arrivals, those hoping to leave and the so-called “travel agents” who will supposedly smuggle them across borders.

“In the ’60s it used to be a place where all the artists used to be, but then it moved on,” says Sakaridis. “In the last few years it’s been like Casablanca.”

In the original novel, Victoria Doesn’t Exist, the story was told from the point of view of Nakos (Makis Papadimitriou), a fellow-traveller with fascist party Golden Dawn, whose personal sense of grievance is grounded in the fact that even in his late 30s, he still lives with his parents and can’t hold or generally get a job. His friendship with Billy (Yannis Stankoglou) goes back to their shared inner-city childhood, but Billy is almost the opposite: cool, liberal, curious, possibly harbouring a secret wish to do something heroic in his life.

In the film version, Billy becomes the central character, watching aghast as Nakos becomes increasingly fanatical. He can’t let him know about Tarek (Vassilis Koukalani) – the third major character – a Syrian doctor he is hiding in the basement of the cafe he runs. “We wanted to have three stories because we wanted to see the three representative ideologies and ways of dealing in that area,” Sakaridis says.

The average Greek is sympathetic to the refugees, who have had significant support from the current Greek government, Sakaridis says.

“Because we are a refugee nation. Thousands of Greeks came from the east, or their grandparents or great-grandparents like mine. My grandparents came from Istanbul in 1922 so I’ve got in my DNA a sort of refugee mentality.”

What is most remarkable is that Greece has produced a film like Amerika Square – now its national Oscar entry – which has been lauded by the international film press as “one of the best European films to date on the subject of immigration in all its painful implications”. That’s pretty good going on no money.

Max Lees Classic for two-year-olds announced as new race on Newcastle calendar

The Newcastle Jockey Club hopes to grow the Max Lees Classic into an established race for two-year-olds after confirming the event will be held for the first time on Sunday, December 3.
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HOME COLOURS: The Kris Lees-trained Admiral Jello, second from right, running third in the Newcastle Cup last month. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The NJC has been working with Racing NSW about forming an annualrace to honour the late Broadmeadow trainer, who had 20 group 1 wins and wasmost famous for his work with 1977 two-year-old triple crownchampion Luskin Star.

NJCchief executive Matt Benson said the Max Lees Classic for two-year-olds would be held over 900 metres and carry prizemoney of $50,000. The Robert Thompson Cup will also be part of the December 3 meeting.

“I think the aim is to develop it into a bigger race in the future,” Benson said of the Max Lees Classic.

“The timing is perfect at the beginning of December.It rolls into the Inglis race in Sydney and it’s before the Magic Millions at Wyong, so those horses are hunting for prizemoney at that time of the year [to qualify].

“It’s a perfect opportunity, over a wonderful start for two-year-olds at 900 metres, with a lovely camber and 430-metre run home.

“You couldn’t hope for a better firstor second-up run for a two-year-old, so hopefully trainers will factor that into their plans.”

As for the Newcastle course proper, Benson hoped to have racing back with the rail in the true position for the November 4 meeting.

On October 7, racing was held on the course proper for the first time since the successful September 15-16 spring carnival meetings,however the rail was out six metres to protect the dethatched and recovering inside section.

The rail will be out to nine metres for this Saturday’s eight-race meeting.

“The track has obviously come back from the grooming that we gave it in the winter, and that’s been a good thing,” Benson said.

“We’re still wanting to get the track management right but I think we’re on the right path, and you never stop learning.

“We are aiming to be on the true for November 4, VRC Derby Day, to maximise field sizes and betting confidence on that day.

“We’ve got some requests into Racing NSW about various programming issues so hopefully we’ll find out about those soon.”

On Wednesday, the Kris Lees-trained Admiral Jello was $2.90 second favourite for the six-horse listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday with TAB Fixed Odds.Glyn Schofield has been allowed to ride Admiral Jello at 54kg, 0.5kg over the declared weight.

The Lees-trained Zestful was $19 for the group 3 Nivison (1200m) at Randwick and Danish Twist was the $4.20 favourite for the group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Newcastle trainer Paul Perry’s Conchita opened at $10 for the listed Alinghi Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

Meanwhile, the Newcastle racing fraternity was in mourning on Wednesday after news ofthe passing of popular identityFay Wallace, the wife of late Broadmeadow trainer Ray Wallace.

AAP reports:Chris Waller’s decision to open a Queensland satellite stable has returned a reverse benefit for the champion trainer.

Waller sent Unforgotten to his Gold Coast base in July for some remedial work with stable manager Paul Shailer and theassistance was evident at Canterbury on Wednesday when she won her maiden at the third attempt.

“It’s been a good team effort. She’s shown us promise and just showed she was a bit immature so we sent up to spell in Queensland,” Waller said.”She’s done all her work with Paul Shailer at the Gold Coast and they didn’t want to let her go.

“Fortunately we got her down here, she’s a very talented horse.”

Unforgotten, which was second to subsequent group 1winner Ace High at her previous start at Kembla Grange, swooped down the outside to win the Schweppes Handicap (1250m).

Unforgotten was the first leg of a Waller treble including I Am Serious and Best Guess.

Waller said his only regret with Unforgotten was she had missed suitable black-type races over spring.

“She probably could have been up and going a little earlier but maybe she gets to Melbourne for Cup week,” he said.

** David Hayes says the cheapest investment in racing is to engage an in-form jockey.

Lindsay Park’s senior trainer followed his own advice at Caulfield on Wednesday, combining with Kerrin McEvoy for a double, including the day’s feature, the group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes with Formality.

McEvoy touched out the Lindsay Park-trained Vega Magic on Redzel in The Everest last Saturday and Hayes said when the jockey leads from the front he’s hard to get past.

Formality and stablemates Tulip and Catchy were three of Melbourne’s best-performed fillies as two-year-olds and Hayes said they had all trained on six months later.

Originally the three were on a path towards Guineas races, the Caulfield and Thousand versions run last Saturday, but only Catchy made it to the males race when finishing third to Mighty Boss and Kementari.

After running a fading 11th in the Golden Rose at Rosehill last month, Hayes decided to freshen her up the Melbourne carnival.

“She drew wide and we elected to go forward and unfortunately so did the rest of the field in Sydney,” Hayes said.

“To bounce back off that hard run is superb.

“Full testament to Lindsay Park. She’s been able to go out into the paddock, go on the water walker and has freshened up beautifully.”

Hayes said he was disappointed with his riding instructions to McEvoy in the Golden Rose and didn’t tie him down with too many on Formality.

“Today I told Kerrin to let her go under her own steam,” Hayes said.

“If they want to go hard follow them, if they won’t to go slow, lead.

“He’s a very hard man to get past as we found out on Saturday.”

Formality will now head to the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on November 4 where she will be joined by Tulip and Catchy.

Sent off a $5 chance, Formality dug deep to score by a long neck from Jukebox ($4.20) with Lone Eagle ($31) 1-1/4 lengths away third.

Craig Williams, rider of the runner-up, said Jukebox ruined his chances by over-racing early in the race.

“She (Formality) was a lot smoother and relaxed through the race whereas mine really wanted to get on with the race and that could quite easily have been the margin he was beaten,” Williams said.

What’s selling: Hot auctions, a new suburb record and quick sales

Hot auctions, new records and fast sales SOUGHT AFTER: This classic circa 1912 residence, “Felixstowe”, was one of the original residences of Cameron’s Hill where Hamilton began and sold for $1.66 million after its first open house.
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PLENTY OF INTEREST: The Billy Tea shop at 26 Murnin Street, Wallsend was sold at auction for $635,000 after an opening bid of $500,000.

BIG RETURN: This Broadmeadow residence sold for a suburb record of $1.25 million on Tuesday, four days into a marketing campaign.

TweetFacebook What’s selling around town?A snapshot of hot auctions, new records and fast sales.Buyers looking for a seachange secured Hamilton’s historic Felixstowefor $1.66 million on October 13, one week into an auction campaign.

The price guide for the classic four-bedroom residence on 770 square metres at201 Denison Street was set at $1.3 million to $1.43 million but First National’s George Rafty said there was “some 60 people through” the first open house.

The sale price is the second highest on record, according to PriceFinder data,for a residential sale in Hamilton. Another home in Denison Street sold for $1.79 millionlast year.

The auction of the well-known Billy Tea Shop in Wallsend “drew a good crowd” on October 14, according to Elders Real Estate’s Sue Odgers. The historic site at 24 Murnin street sold for $635,000 to local buyers after an opening bid of$500,000.

A renovated federation residence at 153 Everton Street, Broadmeadowhas set a suburb record, according to PriceFinder data,selling for $1.25 million through private treaty four days into its marketing campaign.

Selling agent Sam Tsiaousis, of PRDnationwide Newcastle Lake Macquarie, said he had nearly 40 groups through the first open home and six keen to purchase before a local buyer secured the property on October 17.

“That Hamilton end of Broadmeadow isstarting to see similar prices to Hamilton, especially the federation homes,” he said.

“They’re selling quick and are achieving similar prices.

“If you’ve got something special to sell, like this one, I don’t think the market has dropped in that way.”

The sale of a four-bedroom home on 658sqm at 7 Moase Street in Wallsendby Street Property Group’s Damon Sellis, has registered a new street record of $552,500.

A three-bedroom home on 407sqm at 180 Bridges Road,New Lambton was sold by McGrath Estate Agents’ Todd Mason for $510,000 to a Sydney investor in its first week on the market.

Noel McFarlane Real Estate sold a five-bedroom home on a 662sqm block at 23 Lyons Close, Edgeworth on October 16 for $512,000.

Thornton Realty sold a three-bedroom cottage at 49 Devonshire Street, Maitlandfor $246,000 on October 13.