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Tiger’s wife hires Kidman’s divorce lawyer: report

Elin Nordegren … divorce would be “lawyers’ dream”.Elin Nordegren is bringing in the big guns, reportedly hiring Nicole Kidman’s divorce lawyer to preside over the disintegration of her marriage to Tiger Woods.
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The 29-year-old mother of two has enlisted veteran legal eagle Sorrell Trope, 82, London’s The Times reports.

Los Angeles-based Trope is experienced with high-profile cases. He’s represented Nicole Kidman, Britney Spears and Cary Grant.

He also has Frank McCourt, the owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team, on his books, charging $239,000 for a month’s work in November, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But Ms Nordegren’s rumoured desire to file for divorce in California – where property laws could gift her a better settlement than in their home state of Florida – may not materialise, according to The Times.

Californian law requires her or Woods to have lived in the state for six months before any petition is filed.

“Particularly with children involved, who I believe have lived in Florida, you can’t get around that easily,” Orlando-based divorce lawyer, John Wallace, told the paper.

“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to have done a good job drawing up a prenup.

“That’s where she’s going to have difficulty. You can’t deal with children’s issues in a prenup….This is the kind of divorce that’s a lawyer’s dream.

“You could have lawyers fighting over several different issues in different states.”

Meantime, bookmakers continue to have a field day with the scandal.

British bookmaker William Hill is taking bets on just how much Ms Nordegren will get if she decides to divorce the world’s No. 1 golfer, who is taking an indefinite break from the sport after admitting to infidelities.

As the scandal widens, gamblers can get 25-1 odds Ms Nordegren will receive more than half a billion dollars in a divorce settlement. The odds drop to 6-4 for a settlement under $100 million. William Hill is offering only 1-2 odds that she would get between $100 million and $500 million.

At odds of 25-1, people who bet $1 and win will get $25 plus the $1 stake back. At 6-4 odds, a $4 bet will get $10 in return.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said the company had been taking bets on whether or not the couple would get divorced at all, but took the market down because it was too one-sided with people betting on divorce. William Hill also had bets on how many women would come forward as alleged mistresses, but Mr Adams said that was too difficult to verify.

None of the bets, though, have been for much money.

“People are putting on small bets, probably so they can have a giggle in the pub and show their mate a betting slip,” Mr Adams said.

“It’s not vast sums of money.”

Two other British bookmakers, Ladbrokes and Coral, are only taking bets on Woods as a golfer, saying they wanted to stay away from his personal problems.

“We did think about it, but we tend not to go down there,” Coral spokesman Gary Burton said.

Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg said his company is more concerned about Woods’ sporting achievements.

“We usually stay away from the less tasteful elements, so we’ve given that one a miss,” Mr Weinberg said.

Ladbrokes is only taking bets on whether or not Woods, with 14 major titles, will break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 — and the odds on that are getting longer.

“He’s 2-5 to break the record, 23-1 not to,” Mr Weinberg said.

“We were as short as 1-20.”

Coral is taking bets on whether Woods will play at the Masters, the first major of the year, in April.

Two weeks ago, they were giving 9-2 odds that he would miss the tournament at Augusta. That’s been cut to 11-10 because of the mounting scandal.

Woods is also 4-6 to play at the Masters, and 2-9 to break Nicklaus’ major record.

As for Woods ever playing golf again, Coral has cut the odds from 33-1 to 16-1.

William Hill is offering the most bets, going even further than next season by giving 6-1 odds that Woods will win the Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

He is also 4-6 to play at this year’s Masters and 11-8 to win a major in 2010.

“In terms of golf, we think that it won’t affect him massively,” Mr Adams said.

“He’s such a focused bloke, I think he can separate the two.

“If anything, he might come back more focused.”

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Court overturns father’s triple-murder conviction

Died in the dam…Jai, Bailey and Tyler Farquharson, who drowned on Father’s Day, in 2005, near Winchelsea, Victoria.A FATHER jailed for life with no minimum term for the alleged murders of his three sons has been granted a retrial, with Victoria’s highest court finding that a miscarriage of justice had occurred.
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Robert Donald William Farquharson, 40, will face a new trial next year after the Court of Appeal ruled that a Supreme Court judge, Philip Cummins, and the prosecution made serious mistakes about the evidence and reputation of a star witness.

But the judges said ”it was open to a jury acting reasonably to be satisfied of guilt” beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Farquharson was convicted of murdering his sons Jai, 10, Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 2, by driving them into a Winchelsea dam on Father’s Day in 2005.

The prosecution alleged that the boys’ deaths were a deliberate act of revenge by Mr Farquharson against his former wife, Cindy Gambino, over the break-up of their marriage.

Mr Farquharson denied killing his sons. He said he had suffered a coughing fit and blacked out, resulting in his car veering off the road and into the dam.

In a case that Victoria’s Chief Justice, Marilyn Warren, described as containing issues that were ”complex, emotive and readily capable of being misunderstood”, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.

The case was largely circumstantial and key evidence came from a friend of the accused, Greg King, about threats Mr Farquharson had allegedly made at a Winchelsea fish and chip shop before his children died.

Mr King changed his story several times – each time changing the level of threats his friend had allegedly made – but eventually told police that Mr Farquharson had told him that he was ”going to pay her [Cindy] back big time” and kill his children.

”Accident involving a dam where I survive and the kids don’t,” Mr Farquharson is alleged to have said. ”Something like Father’s Day so everybody would remember.”

Police later got Mr King to wear a wire. The prosecution alleged that during these secretly taped conversations Mr Farquharson engaged in ”sustained manipulation”, trying to prevent Mr King from telling the police about his alleged threats. The jury was told it was evidence pointing to Mr Farquharson’s guilty conscience.

Chief Justice Warren, Justices Geoffrey Nettle and Robert Redlich said it was essential for Justice Cummins to direct the jury that they had to be satisfied of the terms of the fish and chip shop conversation before they could infer Mr Farquharson was conscious of his alleged guilt.

The appeal judges found the prosecution had wrongfully failed to disclose that Mr King had been charged with recklessly causing injury and that police planned to provide a statement in his favour during his case.

Asked outside court if he had expected the dramatic result, Mr Farquharson’s lawyer, Peter Morrissey, SC, smiled and said ”no”.

Cindy Gambino’s parents said they were not surprised. ”It is just out of our hands, it is the judges’ decision,” Bob Gambino said.

The success of the appeal means Mr Farquharson will not have to pay $225,000 awarded in May to Mrs Gambino for pain and suffering.

with Kate Hagan

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Hayne sticks with NRL but warns of player drain

JARRYD HAYNE finally re-signed with Parramatta yesterday, injecting some good news into a week that has been otherwise full of bad headlines for rugby league.However, his signature came with a warning for those running the game: Do something to bring more money into it or the exit of star players to other codes is just going to continue – and might even include him in the future.There is no chance of that day coming before the end of the 2013 season, since that is how long Hayne has recommitted himself to the Eels on a deal worth $500,000 annually, but after that, who knows? The Eels superstar will still only be 25 then and he might have already achieved enough in rugby league to seriously think about what it would be like to play something else – particularly if star players keep leaving the game.”I’m too young [now], but when it comes up next time it’s definitely going to be an option,” Hayne said. “It would be sad to go, but it seems like the NRL’s just letting them go. It would be good to see the NRL step in, but the way they see it, one player doesn’t hold a competition together. But when you’re losing such quality players in consecutive years, the question’s got to be asked: How many are we going to let go?”Hayne and his manager, Wayne Beavis, met with NRL chief executive David Gallop last week. Beavis said Hayne had wanted to find out first-hand what the league planned to do about about stopping the flow of players such as Mark Gasnier, Sonny Bill Williams and Craig Gower to rugby union, and Karmichael Hunt to AFL. There had recently been speculation that the new Greater Western Sydney AFL franchise would offer Hayne a fortune to try to snare him.”Jarryd made his feelings quite clear,” Beavis said yesterday. “Not just on his own behalf, but for players generally, that the league needed to be more proactive and get more money into the game because the outside temptations grow and these are all marquee players that are highly sought after by after codes. You have to be careful we don’t keep losing marquee players to other codes.”Hayne said it was important for him, as a challenge, that he keep matching himself against the best possible players in league. He said he was concerned the game might next lose Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston, who has talked about possibly going to union when his contract with North Queensland runs out at the end of next season.”It would be very sad to see him leave the game because players like me, you want to play against the best,” Hayne said. “You don’t want to see them go to other codes – you know, Sonny Bill, Mark Gasnier and Craig Gower and that. It’s a bit disappointing, them going and the NRL not doing anything about it.”You’d hate to see it in another four years, other quality players have left the game and then it hits them [the NRL] in the head [and they say] ‘oh, hang on a minute, let’s do something now’, instead of jumping on it straight away and knocking it on the head. When you look at it, I know ‘Greggie’ [Melbourne star Greg Inglis] re-signed last year, but when he comes up for contract there’s going to be massive questions about him and a lot of other players.”Asked for his reaction to Hayne’s words, Gallop said last night: “I explained to Jarryd we would love for players to be earning higher salaries, but the pie is only so big and there are a lot of mouths to feed, including clubs, players and junior-development programs. I stressed [to Hayne] that we were not in a position to change the salary-cap rules for any player and I think he appreciated that.”Eels chief executive Paul Osborne reacted to Hayne’s re-signing by saying it would have been “diabolical” for the game had it lost him.Hayne’s re-signing was announced on-stage at Rouse Hill Town Centre shops, in Sydney’s north-west, as the Eels continued their club-membership drive by producing not only Hayne but a host of other stars – including Nathan Hindmarsh and Daniel Mortimer – to meet the fans.Hayne said he wanted to realise his two biggest goals – winning a State of Origin series with NSW and a grand final with Parramatta.
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Hewitt and Stosur can serve up a home-cooked victory at Hopman Cup

WIZARD OF ODDSThe powerful Australian combination of Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur have been made favourites with TAB Sportsbet to win the upcoming Hopman Cup in Perth.TAB Sportsbet’s Matt Jenkins said the Australian pair are $2.75 elects, with Great Britain -boosted by the inclusion of Andy Murray – at $5. ”Australia shouldn’t have any problems making the final, given they are grouped with Spain, Romania and the USA,” said Jenkins.In the Brisbane International, which starts in early January, Justine Henin has been well backed as a $5 chance to win the women’s tournament, which includes Kim Clijsters. The Belgian pair have both recently made comebacks after having retired, with Clijsters having won the US Open this year. ”Henin was world No.1 when she retired, so you may never see $5 in a tournament like this again,” Jenkins said of the Brisbane event.Meanwhile, the Medibank International in Sydney next month has Hewitt as a $4.50 equal favourite for the title with Gael Monfils. TAB Sportsbet has Hewitt at $101 to win the Australian Open while, in the women’s draw, Serena Williams is a $3.50 favourite.ILL WINDIESThe West Indies had some fans with TAB Sportsbet in the opening two Test matches against Australia, but they were out of favour before the start of the third and final Test in Perth. ”The only big bets were on the Aussies, with the biggest wager $45,000 at $1.38,” said Jenkins.Betfair’s Matt Thompson said the Windies started the Test as $8.60 chances with the exchange but, by the start of day two, they had blown out to a mammoth $38. Thompson added that Michael Hussey had been confidently backed at $7.80 to be the leading runscorer for Australia in the first innings, before he fell 17 runs short of Simon Katich’s 99 having added just one run to his overnight score of 81.NET GAINSOne TAB Sportsbet punter made an easy $5100 on Wednesday but, had to risk a mammoth $167,000 to win it. Jenkins said the punter backed Cleveland at $1.03 to beat New Jersey Nets in the NBA. Cleveland led from start to finish and with Le Bron James scoring a game-high 23 points, Cleveland won by 10 points. ”The huge bet was no real surprise – the Nets made history this year losing 18 straight games,” said Jenkins.IT’S A STEELThe Pittsburgh Steelers are tipped to find their way out of an NFL form slump this weekend when they take on Green Bay.Pittsburgh suffered their fifth straight loss when going down 13-6 to Cleveland last week, while Green Bay scored handsomely over Baltimore.A lone punter has invested $18,000 on Pittsburgh (-1.5) at $2, but Jenkins was happy to let them on. ”Pittsburgh have the home ground advantage, but that won’t be enough to stop Green Bay,” he said.Other bets of note on the NFL this week include: $30,000 on Indianapolis (-2.5) at $1.80 against Jacksonville; $30,000 on Baltimore (-9.5) at $1.85 against Chicago; $17,000 on Cincinnati (+7.5) at $1.90 against San Diego; $16,000 on Denver (-11.5) at $1.90 against Oakland; and $15,000 on Washington at $2.35 against New York Giants.PUNTERS GO WILDSportingbet Australia punters are backing Wild Oats XI to win a fifth straight Sydney to Hobart with the super maxi attracting over 80 per cent of the money in the line honours market.Wild Oats XI is a raging $1.80 favourite for line honours and Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan said she was the only one punters were interested in at this stage, with the race starting on Boxing Day.”Wild Oats has dominated for the past four years and punters can’t see anything changing in this race, despite some greater competition than previous years,” Sullivan said.”While yachting isn’t traditionally a huge betting event, there has been plenty of support for Wild Oats XI this year – including bets of $4000 and $2000.”SYDNEY SLIDETop spot is up for grabs in the A-League when Melbourne and Sydney FC face off on Saturday night.”Victory has been backed in from $2.15 to $2.10 with punters suggesting they’ll be heading into the break with a significant lead on their competition,” said Sullivan.”Sydney FC are $3.40 outsiders and will need to be right at the top of their game.”THE BEST BETSydney FC to win against Melbourne at $3.40 with Sportingbet Australia.
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Too great a cost: Israel divided over deal to free soldier

JERUSALEM: The only thing certain about the wellbeing of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, is that he is alive.But beyond the future welfare of the 23-year-old staff sergeant, much is riding on the possibility of his release.Many hope that a deal between Hamas and Israel to free Shalit in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners could be a catalyst to move the Israeli-Palestinian peace process beyond its impasse.Among the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip, there is hope that Shalit’s freedom could prompt Israel to lift the three-year economic blockade of Gaza.Conversely, there are reports that Shalit’s release could engender exactly the opposite.The sight of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners coming home would provide a huge political boost to Hamas, the militant Islamic movement that plotted Shalit’s capture, and would further weaken the rival Fatah party of the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas.Where Shalit is being held, or when and if Israel and Hamas can ever agree on an exchange deal, remains as much a guessing game today as anything else.After a burst of speculation late last month that anticipated Shalit’s imminent release, the story has gone quiet.Egyptian and German mediators work around the clock, shuttling between the two camps with offer and counter-offer.But as the Israeli Minister for Intelligence, Dan Meridor, said, those people genuinely in the know are not talking.Throughout the 1273 days of Shalit’s detention, his parents, Noam and Aviva, have brought to bear a level of dignity that has won them the admiration of people and governments around the world.”All we can do is wait,” Noam Shalit told the Herald.”We don’t allow ourselves to feel excited or unhappy, we just keep trying to talk to people in the Government and hoping they can stay focused on working through the issues that will finally see him released.”Over the past four weeks, the Shalits have met government figures including the Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, the national security adviser Uzi Arad, and the vice prime ministers Silvan Shalom and Moshe Yaalon.”We just try to encourage people to keep moving forward, to keep thinking positively about securing Gilad’s freedom, and we keep thinking to ourselves to keep up our hopes.”Despite the enormous sympathy for the Shalit family across the country, there remain sharp divisions about the merits of releasing men convicted of the most serious terrorism attacks against Israel in exchange for one Israeli soldier.People such as Yossi Mendelwitz, who lost his son Yuval in a suicide bombing in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa 6½ years ago, have been actively campaigning against any such prisoner swap deal.”We are constantly working for, and also earning, public support, which perhaps is not reflected in the media, but which is steadily growing, and on the day a decision must be made, everyone will be seen and heard,” Mr Mendelwitz said this week. ”Ratification of the deal in its present form spells disaster for Israel.”With the number of prisoners Hamas wants freed said to number around 1000, it is those at the top of the list that are attracting the most attention.Chief among those is Marwan Barghouti, the 50 year-old Fatah leader who many Palestinians believe could succeed Abbas as the next president of the Palestinian Authority, but who is currently serving five life sentences for murder.Next on the list is Ibrahim Hammed, who was the Hamas military leader in the West Bank from 2001 to 2005 and led attacks that killed 76 Israelis.Another prisoner that Hamas wants released is Abdullah Barghouti, a distant relative of Marwan, who manufactured most of the bombs that were used in terrorist attacks on Jerusalem between 2001 and 2003, including the suicide bomb attacks on the Sbarro pizza restaurant on Jaffa Road in August 2001, in which the 15-year-old Australian girl Malki Roth was killed with 14 others.Fourth on the list is Abbas Sayed, who plotted the 2002 suicide bomb attack in Netanya, a northern Israeli coastal city, that killed 30 people.The fifth prisoner is Ahmad Saadat, who was convicted of organising the 2001 assassination of the Israeli tourism minister, Rehavam Ze’evi.With the fragile right-wing coalition of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, under pressure from the settler movement, which is unhappy about the imposition of a construction freeze in the West Bank, Shalit’s supporters are concerned that momentum for the deal that could secure his release is fading.”This is not an easy thing to think about for a political leader,” said Shimshon Liebman, who is the director the Gilad Shalit Task Force.”It will take courage to do this, and political will. But we believe that the Prime Minister, Mr Netanyahu, wants to do this, and we hope, God willing, that it will happen soon.”
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Ramped up circuit

Mitch Mackay flying high in the Lites class at Morris Park. Photo: JAMIE MACKAYDubbo riders will be in for a treat this Sunday at the revamped Morris Park motocross circuit.
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Despite being considered one of the premier circuits in the central west, Dubbo Dirt Bike Club members have pulled out all stops to build a national-level track in the city.

The track has been ripped, ploughed, scraped and widened with more than 500 tonnes of sand and bark chip mixed into the rich clay soil creating a perfect blend of racing loam.

The berms and starting area have also been extensively reshaped with the aim to create more racing lines and improve the action for the spectators on the hill.

Racers from around the region are expected to converge on the track to pit their skills against the local talent.

In the juniors Connor Albert and Lachlan Colbran have been showing impressive form at regional meetings and will be looking forward to stamping their authority over the track.

Trent Wheatley and Luke Holcombe narrowly missed the podium last weekend at Mudgee and will be looking to go one better this weekend at Dubbo.

There are expected to be some fresh starters in the senior classes with several veterans of the sport making a return to competitive riding.

Matt Cook will be keen for a good ride in the opens while Nigel Campbell is hoping to dominate the over 30s.

Local KTM mechanic Sam Williams will be a favourite to take out the Lites class.

Gates open at 7am on the day to check things out and sign on.

Riders briefing is at 8.45am, practice starts at 9am and racing starts at 9.30am.

The club extends a massive thank you to the following businesses who have made all the action at Morris Park possible: Hall’s Transport Repairs, EDH Hydraulic Repairs, LA Tractor Parts, Dubbo Sands, Coates Hire, Nicolson Projects and Chris Whitney MX Track Constructions.

For more information head to www.dubbodirtbikeclub南京夜网.au

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British police crack down on fake web bargains

LONDON: BRITISH police this week shut down more than 1200 scam websites that claimed to be selling designer clothes and jewellery, in what is thought to be the biggest single swoop of its kind in the world.The 1219 websites purported to sell items ranging from Ugg boots and Tiffany & Co jewellery to GHD hair straighteners. Police said the fact the sites had ”.co.uk” web addresses meant British shoppers were duped into making what seemed to be bargain purchases, but they received either counterfeit products or nothing at all.The websites are thought to have generated millions of pounds for organised criminal gangs, Scotland Yard’s Central e-crime unit said.Victims also ran the risk of the criminals stealing their identities and credit card and banking details for misuse elsewhere.The clampdown, dubbed Operation Papworth, was instigated by the unit to target the ”criminal misuse” of UK domain names with the aim of preventing harm to British consumers and making it safer to trade online. A spokesman said that, as a result, ”Christmas shoppers stand a better chance of avoiding online fraud this festive season”.The vast bulk of the sites were registered in China and other countries in Asia, mostly using false or misleading details. That meant it was almost impossible for victims to complain about poor quality counterfeit items or goods never arriving. It also made it difficult for trading standards and other law enforcement agencies to take action.One online security source said the operation was ground-breaking in its scale and in the way it attempted to protect the British system.The source said this was thought to be the biggest mass ”deregistration” of scam counterfeit goods websites anywhere in the world.It is believed that other brands targeted by the criminals include the jewellery firm Links of London and the clothing labels Vivienne Westwood and Ed Hardy.In the past 12 months, complaints about fake Ugg boots have tripled and customs officers have seized more than 20,000 pairs, the BBC reported.More than 400 of the removed sites were thought to be advertising the boots, the BBC said.The Financial Times has put the value of global internet fraud at more than $US50 billion ($54 billion) a year.Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie, the head of the unit, said: ”Fraudsters target the victim’s desire to buy designer goods at reduced prices, particularly at this time of year. The risk begins when your desire to purchase blinds your judgment or leads you to illegal websites. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”The unit worked in partnership with Nominet, the body responsible for UK domain name registrations. As a result, all the sites have been taken down at the registry level to prevent re-registration.The chief executive of Nominet, Lesley Cowley, said: ”We received clear instructions from the [police] to take down the .co.uk domain names which have been under investigation for criminal activity. We worked closely with the police and our registrars to quickly carry out the instruction to shut down access.”Guardian News & Media
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Roberts keeping close eye on Star’s potential

Charmaine Roberts gives Star Keeping a well-earnt drink after winning the Coolabah Goat Company Maiden Stake over 400 metres yesterday at Dawson Park. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEWhen Dubbo greyhound identities Charmaine Roberts and Shayne Stiff sent their bitch Only Keeping to former champion race dog Pure Octane, they were a little down about only getting three pups.
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But the mood picked up yesterday when two of those three, Hypa Keeping and Star Keeping, saluted at Dawson Park.

The other out of the litter, Pure Keeping, was scratched from Star Keeping’s event.

Roberts has 11 dogs in racing work at the moment and was delighted with the performance of Star Keeping, which survived a heavy mid-race cheque to win the Coolabah Goat Company Maiden (400m).

After jumping fairly from box two Star Keeping ($1.90 fav), which was having just its second race start, was able to muster speed to sit near the front of the field.

Just as the black bitch was about to run away from her rivals, American Storm cramped the leader and almost dragged her down.

But Star Keeping was able to regain her composure and speed and hold of Violet Kimpton in the run to the line.

At the post Star Keeping had a three-quarters-of-a-length margin over Violet Kimpton ($5.20) with Myalla Miss ($20.30) a further two-and-a-quarter lengths away in third.

The time for the 400m trip was 23.55s however given the interference it’s fair to assume the bitch can go quicker.

After the race Roberts said she was extremely happy with the bitch’s constitution, saying she was entitled to give up when she was checked.

“A lot of dogs would have turned it up but I was really happy with her for fighting on and fighting on to win,” she said.

“We only got three out of the litter which was a bit disappointing but they are all bitches so we can have some fun with them along the way.

“We’ll look for another race here at Dubbo and take her through her grades but she gives me the impression she has some ability.

“At the moment she doesn’t look like she will get much further than 450m but today was only her second start so who knows where she will end up.”

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Man of the people Putin woos millions in TV marathon

MOSCOW: Vladimir Putin attacked the tasteless extravagance of Russia’s ”nouveaux riches” in a marathon question and answer session on state television designed to bolster his already strong popularity ratings.Casting himself as a modest man of the people who had singlehandedly saved the country from financial meltdown in the past year, the Russian Prime Minister said that the gap between the haves and have-nots was too wide and criticised greedy businessmen.”Some businessmen have no sense of social responsibility and just want to squeeze as much money out of people as they can,” he said.Mr Putin’s performance in the live four-hour program on Thursday gave viewers the impression that he and not the President, Dmitry Medvedev, ran the country, reinforcing Mr Putin’s status as the front-runner in a presidential race still three years away.The Prime Minister said he would think about standing for the presidency in 2012 depending on the state of the nation nearer the time.”I will think about it. There is plenty of time,” he said.Mr Medvedev has said he would not rule himself out. Both have made it clear that only one of them will stand, but analysts say Mr Medvedev is struggling to step out of Mr Putin’s shadow.Sat before a hand-picked audience fielding carefully screened questions, Mr Putin said it was too early to think of electioneering.Yet his performance was a populist one aimed at wooing millions who have lost their jobs or seen their incomes plunge over the past year.Mr Putin therefore reserved his harshest criticism for a social group many Russians love to hate: the rich. He suggested that Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed oligarch who used to be Russia’s richest man, had ordered contract killings to eliminate people who got in his way.Mr Khodorkovsky has denied any involvement in the murders.Mr Putin also fumed about a recent scandal in Switzerland in which a group of Russians including the two sons of the billionaire oligarch Telman Ismailov were accused of organising a road race in sports cars that ended in a crash.”The nouveaux riches got rich very quickly but cannot manage their wealth without showing it off all the time. This is our misfortune,” Mr Putin lamented.”In Soviet times some of our rich showed off their wealth by having gold teeth put in, preferably at the front.”Lamborghinis and other pricey trinkets – they are simply today’s gold teeth to be shown off to everybody.”Allegations have been made that Mr Putin himself is fabulously wealthy, but he has denied it.Telegraph, London
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GOING ONE BETTER: Colts chasing seventh consecutive title

Wes Giddings and the RSL-Colts will be chasing their seventh consecutive title this weekend when they take on Souths in the Whitney Cup grand final. Photo: CHERYL BURKEStar Colts cricketer Wes Giddings is staring down the barrel of a seventh consecutive Whitney Cup win, but in all these years, his famous sense of humility hasn’t changed.
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“I still get nervous and never write it off as a sure thing,” he said, when asked about the prospect of another victory.

“Just because you’ve won six in a row doesn’t mean you’ll win seven.”

He said with every championship the team develops more confidence, but the formula for success is still hard to pinpoint.

“I guess it’s the belief in yourself and your abilities that gets you across the line.

“Our team has become a little bit stronger every year and we’ve learnt to do the simple things right and not take anything for granted.”

Giddings shares his “slice of history” with just three other players – Chris Morton, Aaron Morris and Brad Cox. Together, they recorded their first cup win in 2005.

Between 2002 and 2004, the team had made it to the final stage, only to lose three times in a row.

But post-2005, the RSL-Colts have been unstoppable, knocking the Colts’ previous record – of four consecutive premierships in the 1950’s – out of the park.

“It’s now become something really special,” Giddings said.

“We’d love to take that chapter one step further.”

After this year’s cup, Giddings couldn’t say how long he’d continue playing for, but said he can see his retirement date on the horizon.

“I’m starting to feel a lot older after a day’s play,” the cricketer, who will turn 34 next week, said.

“When we won our first, our average age was 22 or 21, now we’re pretty much all in the 30’s.”

The veteran player said the Colts’ first grade team has almost stayed the same for the last six years – with only 24 players over that period.

“It’s been pretty stable the whole way through, so it would be nice to step aside and a few more juniors step up.”

And for younger cricketers who want to make the first grade, Giddings’ had two pieces of advice – respect your opponent and never become lackadaisical.

“The thrill of a big win is something you can’t really compare to anything else,” he said.

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