Winx facing a challenge in Warwick Stakes, but she’s not racing Bernborough

One of the best: The mighty Bernborough narrowly won the Chipping Norton Stakes in 1946. Champions, an exclusive club in which the outstanding Winx is seeking entry, can be gained more by worthy defeat than success over Bum of the Month opposition.

The view arises with what trainer Chris Waller considers additional pressure – keeping her unbeaten and adding to her nine-race winning streak in Saturday’s Warwick Stakes at Randwick.

By no means are Lucia Valentina and Regal Dane a soft touch for Winx, particularly with concern regarding her bone chip operation and lack-lustre recent barrier trial.

But champions can be downed and even gain status, a point stressed by Peter Fenton in Australia’s Forgotten Heroes (Brolga Publishing) centred on the all-time great mare, Flight, and Vic Patrick, one of our most awkward and best boxers.

A Warwick Stakes winner over Katanga in 1944, Flight won 24 out of 65 attempts and was placed 28 times. Experts at the time couldn’t figure whether Katanga, a stallion, had lust or just downright loathing for Flight but when he attempted to savage her it didn’t resemble a love bite.

Anyway, Flight wouldn’t lie down under any circumstances, emphasised by her epic clash with Bernborough, regarded by some as superior to Phar Lap, in the 1946 Chipping Norton at Randwick, a scene set by Fenton.

Racegoers surged up Doncaster Avenue en route to the course. By the first race the attendance was estimated at 40,000 and it grew to 60,000 at clash time with 200 bookmakers catering for them. Bernborough was 7/2 on, Winx odds on Saturday.

“The crowd started to roar as they reached the turn,” Fenton described. “Flight led by two lengths with Bernborough less than three lengths behind …

“Suddenly [jockey Jack] O’Sullivan kicked Flight away and [jockey Athol] Mulley was forced to go for the whip. His mount responded and got within a half-length of the mare but tended to lay in. Flight was relishing the challenge. Mulley was forced to straighten Bernborough and go for the whip again. Throats were burnt hoarse with cheering …

“Lunging on the line, Bernborough won by a long head.”

Patrick, too, was the front runner when he clashed with the American Fred Dawson, a world-class lightweight. None better ever came here. He was gelignite that inflicted destruction with amazing speed from both hands, plus reflexes that enabled him to poke his chin and mouth guard out, drop his hands, and taunt opponents. Wise guys figured it was a mug lair act.

A southpaw, Patrick had little to recommend him, apart from toughness and a mule kick left hand that stopped bigger rivals.

“Many noticed how physically drawn Patrick looked [at the time],” Fenton recalled. “His spindly arms looked leaner than ever. In his summary Bill Corbett (The Sun) suggested ‘his seconds could have entertained themselves knocking off a few xylophone tunes on his ribs’. For some reason he was finding it difficult to keep weight on.

“In round nine and 10 Dawson fought on the back move, his reflexes as fast as round one. In the 11th round Dawson stuck his chin out again and Patrick planted a left on the American’s jaw. Dawson went backwards and stumbled over the bottom rope and out onto the apron of the ring. And the roof of The Tin Shed lifted.

“Dawson got up, clinched and held on to the end of the round.”

What followed was a demolition job, the like of which had never been seen at the Sydney Stadium before or subsequently. “[Trainer] Ernie McQuillan and two ambulance men jumped into the ring to assist the Aussie,” Fenton said. “Now there was silence, hardly anyone attempted to move for three minutes as Patrick remained motionless. Eventually Patrick was helped onto Dawson’s stool. The crowd cheered.”

Referee Joe Wallis later declared he had Patrick in front. Had he survived our Vic would have got the decision.

On Saturday Winx is not up against a Bernborough or Dawson. Still, Lucia Valentina is a group 1 winning mare, and Regal Dane, a worthy sparring partner. The bone chip operation months ago should not be a problem. Inspired had one during his 1984 Golden Slipper campaign and didn’t even leave the stable. And the slack Randwick barrier trial recently was due to Hugh Bowman cuddling her because of a bad surface.

For a good gamble around Winx try a first four: Winx 1, Regal Dane 2, Lucia Valentina 3, Vanbrugh 4.

Play The Randwick Exotics

Parlay: Race 2 – (2) Lie Direct, Race 4 – (4) Derryn, Race 5 – (5) Omei Sword, Race 8 – (6) Dixie Blossoms.

Quadrella: Race 6 – (5) Le Romain, (6) Boss Lane, Race 7 – (6) Winx, Race 8 – (5) Pioneering, (6) Dixie Blossoms, Race 9 – (2) Southern Legend, (3) Haptic.

Early quadrella: Race 2 – (2) Lie Direct, (3) Richard Of Yorke, Race 3 – (8) Grand Rouge, (11) Destined To Win, (13) Akiko Gold, Race 4 – (2) Thonium, (4) Derryn, Race 5 – (1) Calliope, (6) Omei Sword, (7) Quick Feet.

Best box trifecta: Race 3 – (6) Grand Rouge, (11) Destined To Win, (13) Akiko Gold.

Best quinella: Race 6 – (5) Le Romain, (6) Boss Lane.

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Menangle training centre to expand after reaching capacity

Old foes, new block: Our Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me at Menangle Park Paceway in February. Photo: Christopher PearceHarness Racing NSW will commence construction on another stable block at Menangle next month after the house full went up on the training centre.

“It has proven very successful and we need to put more stables in there,” HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny said. “We have a number of trainers that are keen to come to Menangle and be based there and ths was always in the plans.

“This block will be 20 but there are plans for a couple of stable blocks as well.”

The training centre is part of a plan to takes harness racing in to the future. Work is continuing on regional centres of excellence with work to start on a new track at Wagga next month, while development application will be lodged for the Tamworth track soon.

“We needed to get the right structure in place to sustained the sport,” Dumesny said. “The sport has changed, so much and these 1000m are important to keep up with the quality of the horse.

“We are making plans for the training centres at Bathurst and Wagga to compliment the tracks. We have a number of trainers based at the showgrounds in Bathurst and we hope to have the stables at the new track built next year.

“It is a case of getting the track up and running and then making sure that we place the stables in the best area, so that there is the ability to expand if necessary.”

Meanwhile, Blake Fitzpatrick chalked 100 winners for the season when he scored on Dieu De Lamour at Menangle on Tuesday. It is the eighth Fitzpatrick has had a ton of winners in a season.

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Divine Prophet and Omei Sword storm into Golden Rose contention

Easing home: Tommy Berry rides Divine Prophet to win the Up And Coming Stakes. Photo: Bradleyphotos苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 Streets ahead: Brenton Avdulla rides Omei Sword to win the Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick. Photo: Bradleyphotos苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛

After producing brilliant finishes at Randwick on Saturday, Divine Prophet and Omei Sword were lifted to the top of Golden Rose betting but neither are assured of starting in next month’s group 1.

Divine Prophet came from last to run down Derryn in the Up And Coming Stakes before Omei Sword made a one-act affair of the Silver Shadow Stakes.

Both appear to be heading towards a mile and beyond, so the Golden Rose makes sense but is not necessarily the preferred option. Divine Prophet was made the $6 Golden Rose favourite after his devastating win, while Omei Sword slipped on the second line of betting at $8 with San Domenico winner Star Turn.

“I don’t want to go to 1200m again, because she needs to step up, so the Golden Rose is an option but the Tea Rose Stakes in four weeks is probably our first choice at the moment,” Waller said of Omei Sword.

“We will see how she comes through it and make a decision because that was impressive.”

Omei Sword won by 3-1/2 lengths from Bacarella with a very confident Brenton Avdulla swinging on her to the line.

“I helped her up the rise and then let her go and she did the rest,” Avdulla said. “She is going to get better over more ground and there is still a bit of improvement there.”

It was dominant win but when matched against the Divine Prophet was probably left in the shadows. For the second time in two weeks, Team Hawkes produced a colt that had taken significant improvement into his three-year-old season.

Star Turn was powerful in the San Domenico, while Divine Prophet was simply sizzling late.

He was still last at the 200m but launched down the centre and it had Tommy Berry comparing him to the TJ Smith from the autumn.

“I know it sounds silly but it kind of reminded me of Chautauqua in the TJ. I was still last at the 200m and as soon as I pulled the stick through the my right hand and gave him a little tickle with that he was right,” Berry said.

“He is a miler as well so he is going to get over further and might even stretch out the 2000m.”

Divine Prophet is a brother to Proisir, which was runner-up to It’s A Dundeel in the Spring Champion Stakes and Randwick Guineas and also ran eighth in the Cox Plate.

Trainer John Hawkes has a couple of bullets to fire in the Golden Rose and knows it is a long spring.  “He showed a little bit of promise as a young horse and he has gone the right way and trained on and it was a good strong win,” Hawkes said.

“I think he will improve a bit, it’s only his first run back and he has a long way to go through the spring but we will just take it one step at a time.”

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Briohny Doyle’s The Island Will Sink is disaster flick made real

Author Briohny Doyle is influenced by ”the guilty pleasure” of disaster films. Photo: Paul JeffersThere are more spectacular scenes of destruction to be found in other epics but Briohny Doyle’s favourite disaster flick is The Towering Inferno.

The 1974 pioneering film features strong, stoic male leads in Paul Newman and Steve McQueen and was made long before directors “realised you only needed one or two survivors and a crazed mass to hang the scenes of destruction around”.

“Despite the age of the film, many of the action sequences are chilling – characters run out into the fire, and fall down 100-floor elevator shafts,” says Doyle. “The crowd staring up at the burning high rise reminds the viewer of those famous pictures of the audience at Nevada nuclear tests.”Narrative representations of apocalyptic disaster were the subject of Doyle’s PhD at Murdoch University and made their way into her debut novel, The Island Will Sink, set in a future world of environmental catastrophe.

The novel follows Max Galleon, the “godfather of immersive cinema”, who is planning his next epic as fears grow for the stability of a sinking Pitcairn Island and the risk of an end-times tsunami.

The Island Will Sink is a deep and demanding read. Doyle postulates a world in which climate change has hastened social change and political control and exacerbated the gap between the haves and have-nots, but one in which society has ultimately adapted to climatic deprivations.

Environmental behaviour is policed by a corporate motivational mascot and the urban city sits beneath an eco-dome.

Galleon is a wealthy man who doubts his memories and begins to write his own life into his films. “There was a long period of time when I hadn’t read the book between edits and coming back to him I was like, ‘he’s not a nice guy that I’ve invented’. But at other times I felt quite sympathetic. He does come to see the connection between himself and others.”

The current wave of climate-change literature is an attempt by writers to grapple with the speed of change, Doyle says. “We can all see the dystopian scenarios and it’s quite an appealing thing to get into and pull apart, and see how it would work; it’s a fun thing for writers to do – and painful.”

Doyle has learned from reading disaster narratives down the ages that the “end times” always feel imminent to those experiencing dramatic and unknowable change.

“What’s different though about our particular moment is how much we are consuming these images and video clips of crisis,” she says.

“Crisis is being beamed to us in real time on a 24-hour news cycle, and that is a big thread in my book. How much more engaged could you get? So engaged to the point where in my book you can get a haptic, immersive, virtual reality crisis as it is happening?”

Doyle wrote the first draft in 2007 and ’08, pursued university study, and came back to the manuscript at various points, introducing a few plot changes but retaining the essential filmic structure.

“I did get advice from an early potential editor who read an early draft, who said you should rewrite it as a verse novella. “I said, ‘I can’t do that, it’s too big in my mind’.”

The Island Will Sink is the first book to be published by the literary magazine The Lifted Brow, part of a project to unearth exciting provocative and experimental writing which otherwise might not find a trade publisher.

“I envisaged that our first book, and that our list in the short to medium term, would be largely non-fiction,” says publisher Sam Cooney. “As this is where we saw, and still see, a big gap in the Australian market: for works of lyrical and narrative non-fiction that are experimental in approach or form. Think of recent works like Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick, Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, and look at many other works from publishers like Graywolf, Verso, Semiotexte, and even McSweeney’s.

“But the very fact that Briohny’s novel is so exceptional, and that it’s been 10 years in the making and had a couple of large stumbling blocks during which Briohny almost abandoned it, and also that it is by a longtime contributor to our magazine, means that it’s ultimately a perfect fit for us.”

Doyle, 33, teaches literature at Deakin University. Growing up she wanted to be an actress, then a filmmaker, and at age 17, at Newtown Performing Arts High School she discovered the pleasures of writing around big ideas.

“You do it on your own and all you need is a pencil,” says Doyle. “You don’t need any money.”

The aesthetics of the auteur David Lynch and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner are as influential to the ambitions of The Island Will Sink as the works of Kurt Vonnegut and Michel Houellebecq.

Not to mention the guilty pleasure of all those disaster films with their thin plots and underdeveloped characters. As bad as they are, they make compulsive viewing, says Doyle.

The Island Will Sink, Briohny Doyle, The Lifted Brow, $29.99

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Candice Fox to talk in Canberra at Muse

Candice Fox admits she was reading James Patterson’s books at an inappropriately young age so when she had the chance to meet the bestselling author at a cocktail party she jumped at the chance.

“I thought what have I got to lose,” says Fox. “He was being introduced to all the important people and I just thought I’m going over there.

“I pushed my way in and went excuse me and started chatting to him.

“I got locked in this celebrity moment, had the perfect three or four minutes with him and then I ran away before I could say anything stupid.”

Far from it; the initial conversation sparked a collaboration, calls were made by publishers, Patterson read Fox’s books on the plane on the way home, and now the pair are about to publish their second book, Never Never.

The author of a handful of award-winning crime novels, both Hades (2014) and Eden (2015) won Ned Kelly Awards, Fox didn’t think she had any chance of being picked up to work with Patterson.

“I knew he was in Australia to promote his crime collaboration with Kathryn Fox and his young adult series with Ed Chatterton but I was a newbie on the scene, I thought it would never happen,” she says.

But once their publishers got talking the whole process fell into place. They swapped emails, developing ideas back and forth, and Never Never was completed in just a few months.

“We started with a very basic premise,” says Fox. “James wanted a strong female protagonist, not necessarily a Sydney or a city setting.”

One of Fox’s best characters is Eden Archer, who appears in Eden and Fall. A policewoman who moonlights as a serial killer, there’s a touch of the Dexter about her. In Black & Blue, her first collaboration with Patterson, as part of the BookShots series, little pocket-size thrillers which were less than 150 pages, they introduced Harriet Blue.

In Never Never Harriet’s on the job in the West Australian outback, tracking down three missing people while working out who she can trust.

“I used to be very intimidated by writing female characters,” says Fox, “In my early books, I had four manuscripts before Hades which were all rejected by everyone, the female characters were either sex kittens or total bimbos or very masculine.”

Candice Fox will be in conversation with local librarian and crime writer L.J.M. Owen at Muse on Sunday, August 21, from 3-4pm. $10 includes a glass of wine/soft drink. musecanberra苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛

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