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J is for jihad

July 5th, 2018 / / categories: 江苏夜网 /

IN MARCH this year, a group of Islamic radicals were scoping out new targets in Bali, hoping to enact their own murderous 10th anniversary of the 2002 attacks.
Nanjing Night Net

They had surveyed the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Kuta and the Australian-run La Vida Loca bar in Seminyak. They had chosen a suicide bomber and planned to fund the operation by robbing a money changer and a gold store.

What is not widely known is that three of the five plotters for ”Bali III” – including their leader Hilman, aka Surya – were low-level drug pushers who were radicalised in Kerobokan prison when they were locked up with the original Bali bombers in the early 2000s.

According to research by the International Crisis Group, Hilman, who was serving a seven-year sentence for marijuana possession, was the prisoners’ mosque functionary who came under the influence of Bali bomber Imam Samudra. On leaving prison he became a full-time jihadist. Another plotter shared a cell with another Bali bomber, Amrozi.

The radicalisation of their cellmates was the Bali bombers’ slow-burn revenge. If an attack had overshadowed this week’s 10th anniversary commemoration, they would have their last, posthumous, laugh over their jailers. (Samudra and Amrozi were executed in 2008.)

Indonesia’s prisons are a breeding ground for terrorists, and so are some of the Islamic boarding schools. But despite the ever-present threat of terrorism, the Indonesian state shows little interest in tackling this issue.

After the authoritarian and secular regime of Suharto fell in 1998, many groups that were previously repressed thrived under ”Reformasi” – Indonesia’s flowering of freedom. Among them were those groups with a radical religious agenda who wanted to replace the state of Indonesia entirely with an Islamic caliphate under Islamic law.

Until the Bali bombings, whose death toll of 202 woke it from its torpor, the newly democratic Indonesia knew little or nothing of the growing number of deadly men in its midst.

Ten years on, Indonesian law enforcement, spearheaded by Detachment 88, the anti-terror police, has had great success in cracking down on religiously inspired radicalism. On his recent visit to Indonesia, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith lavished praise, saying: ”There is no country in the world that is more successful in arresting and prosecuting terrorists.”

Since the first Bali attack, Indonesia has arrested 700 people for terrorism offences and prosecuted 500. For every 10 prosecuted, another one suspected terrorist – including some of Asia’s most dangerous men – has been killed by police on the streets.

That success story, though, contains the frightening truth that, in 10 years, Indonesia has produced 500 people with a proven link to terror, and many more who have gone unnoticed so far.

Every few months a new plot, with a new set of plotters, is uncovered. Some, such as a recent group calling itself ”al-Qaeda Indonesia”, have progressed far enough to start making bombs – albeit ones which blew up by accident in the kitchen.

Many now believe that law enforcement alone is not enough. They say the country’s jihad factories, which still pump out recruits, must be shut down and the radicals de-radicalised. The effort so far, though, has been piecemeal and anaemic, marred by poor funding and follow-through and an apparent lack of political will.

In Indonesian prisons, extremist preachers, terrorists and would-be jihadists are locked up with common criminals. Low-level terrorists – youngsters or those who have dabbled around the edges of a radical group – are housed with hardened jihadis, persuasive men with a seductive story to tell.

The most infamous of these men, Abu Bakar Bashir, is serving a 15-year sentence for helping set up a paramilitary training camp in Aceh in 2010. But inside he is still surrounded by acolytes and young prisoners, and boasts in a written interview with The Sunday Age that he is ”busy spreading the word of Allah to the people”.

His words remain unrepentantly full of violent jihad – ideas of noble martyrdom and the overthrow of the state of Indonesia so ”that people’s life may be managed by Allah’s law”. Bashir refers repeatedly to ”evil Indonesia” and offers up a contradictory mish-mash of arguments to explain and justify the Bali bombs.

First, he asserts that the massive bombs were set by three individuals, ”Mukhlas and his two friends”. He calls them ”mujahideen [holy warriors] who actively defended Islam” and were ”slaughtered by the Jews, the United States and their allies”.

In the very next paragraph he claims the bombs were part of a conspiracy, a ”micro-nuclear device” planted by the US to discredit Islam. ”So it was the US who essentially killed tens of Australians not the three mujahideens,” he writes. ”God willing, Islam will win due to Allah’s help of jihad,” he writes, before exhorting Australian journalists to ”convert to Islam so you will be saved”.

Ask most ordinary Indonesians about Bashir and his ilk and they shake their heads and pronounce him ”gila” – ”crazy”. But his carefully cultivated look of a gentle and wise old scholar has made his loony rhetoric surprisingly resilient, despite the patent failure of the populace of Indonesia to rise up in support of holy war after the Bali bombings.

Jemaah Islamiah, Bashir’s former terror vehicle, is now mistrusted in the radical community because a few of its high-profile members – notably Bali bomber Ali Imron, and former senior member Nasir Abbas – ”turned” and offered information to police. But a whole slew of new followers have emerged. Bashir’s new radical group, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, or JAT, has been involved in many of the latter-day plots that police have uncovered.

As disturbing is the fact that the Ngruki boarding school Bashir co-founded, and where his son (and leader of JAT) Abdul Rohim is a teacher, is still pumping out fresh-faced ”martyrs”. Bali bomber Idris, an old boy of Ngruki, said of his alma mater recently: ”That is where jihad was taught.” But suggest that the school in Ngruki, a suburb of Solo, might be closed down, and Indonesians simply laugh.

All schools look something alike, and, apart from the enormous mosque being built and the separate sections for boys and girls, the Al-Mukmin school in suburban Ngruki is no exception. The classrooms have whiteboards and teachers at the front, and rowdy students in rows. In science the boys are learning about microbes. Graffiti and motivational posters adorn the walls.

But in the girls’ section, along with exhortations to pious (veiled) womanhood, is a noticeboard. Pinned to it is a graphic photograph of a dead man, blood fanning out from the back of his head. The man is Farhan, a young jihadist shot dead by anti-terror police on a Solo street two weeks before our visit.

Farhan was an alumnus of the Ngruki school and the pictures and two separate stories describing his death were downloaded from radical Islamist websites, printed out and pinned up, presumably for their educational value. Depending on how it was spoken about, the story might have been placed there in mourning, or as an exhortation to righteous fury.

Asked about it, young English and Arabic teacher Abu Amar airily says the school teaches current events, just like any other. But this is not just any event. And there were no other posters on that board.

Abu Bakar Bashir’s son Aburahman Rohim is a senior teacher at the Ngruki school his father founded. He defends the teaching of jihad, saying: ”More than 60 verses of the teaching of jihad are in the Koran. Should we delete those verses?”

Not all the verses are about violence or war. Some are about the struggle to be a good Muslim; others about the desirability of an Islamic state. But alumni such as Idris recall a focus, particularly in extracurricular activities, on the warlike verses. Rohim bristles at any suggestion that this school is unusual, or its curriculum dangerous.

”Yes, some alumni of Ngruki are involved [in holy war], but you cannot put the blame on the school,” he says angrily. ”It’s so unfair. It’s so irresponsible. It’s a ridiculous way of thinking. For example, in your own country, if there’s a thief or a rapist, would you put the blame on their school?”

The fact is that not just one, but many terrorists have been to Ngruki, including some of the linchpins of the Bali bombings – Mukhlas, Idris, Mubarok. In a recent series of terror raids in Indonesia, a number of the jihadis arrested or killed were also Ngruki alumni. Rohim says when such cases come to light, the current students are taught that ”it’s such a wrong action”.

But his words are ambivalent at best. He refuses to call the Bali bombers terrorists, saying they were, at worst, misguided ”mujahid” (holy warriors). ”Mujahid can make mistakes. What they did will not reduce their status as mujahideen. They must be judged by what is their intention,” he says. ”I don’t want to even subtly claim that they were terrorists. It’s a word used by non-Muslims to corner Islam.”

Asked about the recent crop of alumni involved in terrorist activities, Rohim, like his father, claims a conspiracy. They were turned to terrorism by the police to discredit Islam, he says, even though a police officer was killed in one of their attacks. ”Well, it’s a conspiracy. Sometimes they are willing to sacrifice their own friends for the conspiracy … It’s a pretty normal thing for an intelligence officer to kill his own friends to cover up their own activities.”

Rohim boasts that the school has been continuously accredited by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education for more than a decade. He says demand for places grew fast in the wake of the Bali bombing, and the school is still expanding. Posters around the campus show plans for new dormitories in new locations.

Once radicals graduate from school or prison, the next stage is to be invited to join a training camp, or a plot. After the recent spate of arrests, there was a push for the government to establish a de-radicalisation program. Vice-President Boediono himself ordered an anti-terror plan to be in place by next year, and said that the fight against radical ideas had been too sporadic. ”This de-radicalisation blueprint will be comprehensive and will really serve the purpose,” Boediono said.

But Irfan Idris, the head of the de-radicalisation program at the National Agency for Counter-Terrorism, says the entire agency has a budget of only $9.5 million, of which only a part is set aside for the ”soft approach” of de-radicalisation (as distinct from hard law enforcement).

An existing program running in Indonesian prisons since 2010 applies three strategies, he says: culture (using traditional Wayang puppet shows); business (trying to establish an economic base for prisoners); and ideology (countering the radical brainwashing). But in the past two years, only 32 prisoners nationwide have completed the program and there has been no attempt to measure its success.

Professor Sarlito Wirawan, a psychologist working on this program and others, says it can take up to three years to convince someone not to act on their radical theology. At this rate it would take decades to even talk to one year’s supply of recruits from the radical boarding schools and the prisons. Asked about the radical boarding school in Ngruki, Irfan refers me to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which keeps accrediting the school.

There are also several private-sector de-radicalisation programs. Noor Ismail Huda, a journalist and former student at Ngruki, says Indonesian authorities ”have been doing extremely well after the milk has been spilled”.

He runs a program of ”disengagement”, which involves having former radicals run cafes. Here they are forced to serve customers of all cultures and religions, and they can also make money, making his program self-sustaining. ”We fight terrorism with doughnuts and coffee,” he says.

So far, though, he has only three cafes, and has helped perhaps a handful of radicals.

Another private program is the Afghan Alumni Forum, where former radicals, the hard core who trained in Afghanistan, try to use their kudos in the jihadi community to put people on the right path.

It is led by Abu Wildan, a former senior teacher at Ngruki who was asked to join the Bali plot but refused. Abdurahman Ayub, Jemaah Islamiah’s former deputy in Australia, is also a key member, as is one-time Bali plotter Maskur Abdul Kadir. It holds forums in suburban function rooms under a banner that reads: ”Indonesia, peace without violence, terrorism and radicalism in the name of religion”.

Psychologist Sarlito works with the forum and claims an 80 per cent success rate. He says attacking the ideology head-on simply did not work because the radical imams still hold such sway. ”I’m not replacing anything. I leave their beliefs, but I say don’t do this and this … don’t start hurting people,” he said.

”Then we bring in the wives, families, and say, ‘How about helping each other?’ … It’s step by step and it takes three years. It’s not an easy job.”

As these well-meaning efforts continue, though, schools and prisons keep churning out radicals. Australia has proscribed organisations and passed laws against hate speech. People have been jailed for preaching terror. Indonesia has nothing similar.

And, according to Nasir Abbas, the highest-profile reformed member of Jemaah Islamiah, it will not develop them. ”In Indonesia it’s different. They let you build whatever ideology you want, set up a school, as long as you don’t do the crime … this is what people here call Reformasi,” he says.

”We’ve got freedom of speech and expression. You can’t just shut down a school.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Islamist teaching … cleric Abdul Rahim, a son of Abdul Bashir, is a teacher at al-Mukmin school. Students laugh during a break in classes at al-Mukmin school.
Nanjing Night Net

Students in an English class at al-Mukmin school.

In March, a group of Islamist radicals were scoping out new targets in Bali, hoping to enact their own murderous 10th anniversary of the 2002 attacks.

They had surveyed the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Kuta and the Australian-run La Vida Loca bar in Seminyak. They had chosen a suicide bomber and planned to fund the operation by robbing a money changer and a gold store.

What is not widely known is that three of the five plotters for ”Bali III” – including their leader, Hilman, aka Surya – were low-level drug pushers who were radicalised in Kerobokan prison when they were locked up with the original Bali bombers in the early 2000s.

According to research by the International Crisis Group, Hilman – who was serving a seven-year sentence for marijuana possession – was the mosque functionary who came under the influence of the Bali bomber Imam Samudra. On leaving prison, he became a full-time jihadist. Another plotter shared a cell with Amrozi.

The radicalisation of their cellmates was the Bali bombers’ slow-burn revenge. If an attack had overshadowed this week’s 10th anniversary commemoration, they would have their last, posthumous, laugh over their jailers. (Samudra and Amrozi were executed in 2008.)

Indonesia’s prisons are a breeding ground for terrorists and so are some of the Islamic boarding schools. But, despite the ever-present threat of terrorism, the Indonesian state shows little interest in tackling the issue.

After the authoritarian and secular regime of Suharto fell in 1998, many groups that were previously repressed thrived under ”Reformasi”, Indonesia’s flowering of freedom. Among them were those groups with a radical religious agenda who wanted to replace the state of Indonesia with a caliphate under Islamist law.

Until the Bali bombing, whose death toll of 202 woke it from its torpor, the newly democratic Indonesia knew little or nothing of the growing number of deadly men in its midst.

Ten years on, Indonesian law enforcement, spearheaded by Detachment 88, the anti-terrorism police, has had great success cracking down on religiously inspired radicalism. On his recent visit to Indonesia, the Australian Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, lavished praise, saying: ”There is no country in the world that is more successful in arresting and prosecuting terrorists [than Indonesia is].”

Since the first Bali attack, Indonesia has arrested 700 people for terrorism offences and prosecuted 500.

For every 10 prosecuted, one suspected terrorist – including some of Asia’s most dangerous men – has been killed by police on the streets.

That success story, though, contains the frightening truth that, in 10 years, Indonesia has produced 500 people with a proven link to terrorism and many more who have so far gone unnoticed.

Every few months a new plot, with a new set of plotters, is uncovered. Some, such as a recent group calling itself ”al-Qaeda Indonesia”, have progressed far enough to start making bombs – albeit ones that blew up by accident in the kitchen. Many now believe that law enforcement alone is not enough. They say the country’s jihad factories, which still pump out recruits, must be shut down and the radicals de-radicalised.

The effort so far, though, has been piecemeal and anaemic, marred by poor funding, little follow-through and an apparent lack of political will.

In Indonesian prisons, extremist preachers, terrorists and would-be jihadists are locked up with common criminals. Low-level terrorists – youngsters or those who have dabbled around the edges of a radical group – are housed with hardened jihadis, persuasive men with a seductive story to tell.

The most infamous of these men, Abu Bakar Bashir, is serving a 15-year sentence for helping set up a paramilitary training camp in Aceh in 2010. But inside, he is still surrounded by acolytes and young prisoners, and boasts in a written interview with The Sun-Herald that he is ”busy spreading the word of Allah to the people”.

His words remain unrepentantly full of violent jihad – ideas of noble martyrdom and the overthrow of the state of Indonesia so ”that people’s life may be managed by Allah’s law”. Bashir refers repeatedly to ”evil Indonesia” and offers up a contradictory mish-mash of arguments to explain and justify the Bali bombs.

First, he asserts that the massive bombs were set by three individuals, ”Mukhlas and his two friends”. He calls them ”mujahideen [holy warriors] who actively defended Islam” and were ”slaughtered by the Jews, the US and their allies”.

In the very next paragraph, he claims the bombs were part of a conspiracy, a ”micro-nuclear device” planted by the US to discredit Islam. ”So it was the US who essentially killed tens of Australians, not the three mujahideen,” he writes.

”God willing, Islam will win due to Allah’s help of jihad,” he writes, before exhorting Australian journalists to ”convert to Islam so you will be saved”.

Ask most ordinary Indonesians about Bashir and his ilk and they shake their heads and pronounce him ”gila”(crazy). But his carefully cultivated look of a gentle old scholar has made his loony rhetoric surprisingly resilient, despite the patent failure of the populace of Indonesia to rise up in support of holy war after the Bali bombings.

Jemaah Islamiyah, Bashir’s former terrorism vehicle, is now mistrusted in the radical community because a few of its high-profile members – notably Bali bomber Ali Imron and former senior member Nasir Abbas – ”turned” and offered information to police. But a whole slew of new followers have since emerged. Bashir’s new radical group, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, or JAT, has been involved in many of the more recent plots which police have uncovered.

As disturbing is the fact that the boarding school Bashir co-founded, and where his son (and leader of JAT) Abdul Rahim is a teacher, is still pumping out fresh-faced ”martyrs”. Bali bomber Idris, an old boy of Ngruki, said of his alma mater recently: ”That is where jihad was taught.” But suggest that al-Mukmin school in Ngruki, a suburb of Solo, might be closed down and Indonesians simply laugh.

All schools look something alike, and, apart from the enormous mosque now under construction and the separate sections for boys and girls, al-Mukmin is no exception. The classrooms have whiteboards and teachers at the front, and rowdy students in rows. In science the boys are learning about ”mikroba” – microbes. Graffiti and motivational posters adorn the walls.

But in the girls’ section, along with exhortations to pious (veiled) womanhood, is a noticeboard. Pinned to it is a graphic photograph of a dead man, blood fanning out from the back of his head. The man is Farhan, a young jihadist shot dead by anti-terrorist police on a Solo street two weeks before our visit.

Farhan was an alumnus of the Ngruki school and the pictures and two separate stories describing his death were downloaded from radical Islamist websites, printed out and pinned up, presumably for their educational value. Depending on how it was spoken about, the story might have been placed there in mourning or as an exhortation to righteous fury.

Asked about it, a young English and Arabic teacher, Abu Amar, airily says that the school teaches current events, just like any other. But this is not just any event. And there were no other posters on that board.

Rohim is a senior teacher at the Ngruki school his father founded. He defends the teaching of jihad saying: ”More than 60 verses of the teaching of jihad are in the Koran. Should we delete those verses?”

Not all the verses are about violence or war. Some are about the struggle to be a good Muslim; others about the desirability of an Islamist state. But alumni such as Idris recall a focus, particularly in extracurricular activities, on the warlike verses. Rohim bristles at any suggestion that this school is unusual or that its curriculum is dangerous.

”Yes, some alumni of Ngruki are involved [in holy war], but you cannot put the blame on the school. It’s so unfair. It’s so irresponsible. It’s a ridiculous way of thinking,” Rohim says angrily. ”For example, in your own country, if there’s a thief or a rapist, would you put the blame on their school?”

However, not just one, but many terrorists have been to Ngruki, including some of the linchpins of the Bali bombings – Mukhlas, Idris, Mubarok. In a recent series of terrorism raids in Indonesia, a number of the jihadis arrested or killed were also Ngruki alumni. Rohim says when such cases come to light, the current students are taught that ”it’s such a wrong action”.

But his words are ambivalent at best. He refuses to call the Bali bombers terrorists, saying they were, at worst, misguided ”mujahid” (holy warriors). ”Mujahideen can make mistakes. What they did will not reduce their status as mujahideen. They must be judged by what is their intention,” he says. ”I don’t want to even subtly claim that they were terrorists. It’s a word used by non-Muslims to corner Islam.”

Asked about the recent crop of alumni involved in terrorist activities, Rohim, like his father, claims a conspiracy – they were turned to terrorism by the police to discredit Islam, he says, even though a police officer was killed in one of their attacks. ”Well, it’s a conspiracy. Sometimes they are willing to sacrifice their own friends for the conspiracy … It’s a pretty normal thing for an intelligence officer to kill his own friends to cover up their own activities.” Rohim boasts that the school has been continuously accredited, both by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education for more than a decade.

Depressingly, he says demand for places grew fast in the wake of the Bali bombing and the school is still expanding. Posters around the campus show plans for new dormitories in new locations.

Once radicals graduate from school or prison, the next stage is to be invited to join a training camp or a plot. After the recent spate of arrests, there was a push for the government to establish a deradicalisation program. The Vice President, Boediono, has ordered an anti-terrorist plan to be in place by next year, and says that the fight against radical ideas had been too sporadic. ”This de-radicalisation blueprint will be comprehensive and will really serve the purpose,” Boediono says.

However, the director of the de-radicalisation program at the National Agency for Counter Terrorism, Irfan Idris, says the entire agency only has a budget of $9.5 million, of which only a part is set aside for the ”soft approach” of deradicalisation (as distinct from hard law enforcement).

An existing program running in Indonesian prisons since 2010 applies three strategies, he says: culture (using traditional Wayang puppet shows); business (trying to establish an economic base for prisoners); and ideology (countering the radical brainwashing). But in the past two years, only 32 prisoners nationwide have completed the program and there has been no attempt to measure its success.

A psychologist working on this program and others, Professor Sarlito Wirawan, says it can take up to three years to convince someone not to act on their radical theology. At this rate, it would take decades to even talk to one year’s supply of recruits from the radical boarding schools and the prisons. Asked about the radical pesantren at Ngruki, and Irfan refers me to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which keeps accrediting the school.

There are also several private-sector deradicalisation programs. A journalist and former student at Ngruki, Noor Ismail Huda, says Indonesian authorities ”have been doing extremely well after the milk has been spilled”.

He runs a program of ”disengagement”, which involves having former radicals run cafes. Here they are forced to serve customers of all cultures and religions, and they can also make money, making his program self-sustaining. ”We fight terrorism with doughnuts and coffee,” he says.

So far, though, he has only three cafes and has helped perhaps a handful of radicals.

Another private program is the Afghan Alumni Forum, where former radicals, the hard-core who trained in Afghanistan, try to use their kudos in the jihadi community to put people on the right path.

It is led by Abu Wildan, a former senior teacher at Ngruki who was asked to join the Bali plot but refused. Abdul Rahman Ayub, Jemaah Islamiyah’s former deputy in Australia, is also a key member, as is one-time Bali plotter Maskur Abdul Kadir. It holds forums in suburban function rooms under a banner that reads: ”Indonesia, peace without violence, terrorism and radicalism in the name of religion”.

Psychologist Sarlito works with the forum and claims an 80 per cent success rate.

He says attacking the ideology head on simply did not work because the radical imams still hold such sway. ”I’m not replacing anything. I leave their beliefs, but I say don’t do this and this … don’t start hurting people,” he said. ”Then, we bring in the wives, families, and say, ‘How about helping each other?’ … It’s step by step and it takes three years. It’s not an easy job.”

As these well-meaning efforts continue, though, schools and prisons keep churning out radicals. Australia has proscribed organisations and passed laws against hate speech. People have been jailed for preaching terrorism. Indonesia has nothing similar.

And, according to Nasir Abbas, the highest-profile reformed member of Jemaah Islamiyah, it will not develop them. ”In Indonesia, it’s different. They let you build whatever ideology you want, set up a school, as long as you don’t do the crime … This is what people here call reformasi,” he says. ”We’ve got freedom of speech and expression. You can’t just shut down a school.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Closed

Running with scissors

July 5th, 2018 / / categories: 江苏夜网 /

Nicy try … Peter Morrissey, Megan Gale, Alex Perry and Claudia Navone.Looking back, model, actor, swimwear designer and host of Project Runway Australia, Megan Gale, has a clear memory about the moment when for her, clothes became ”fashion”.
Nanjing Night Net

Several waiters at the Southbank restaurant where we meet gaze at her from a discreet distance while an oblivious Gale stirs her coffee. ”It was the night of the school disco and mum wouldn’t let me go, but I just hassled her until she said, ‘All right, you can go, but you’ve got to go now.’ I was so happy I just went in the clothes I was in, which was a pair of jeans and tracksuit top.

”It was the ’80s so all my friends were wearing ra-ra skirts and their hair was crimped. That was the first time where I felt like I didn’t fit in because of what I was wearing.”

While you probably won’t see a ra-ra skirt on the fourth season of Project Runway Australia, Gale says some of its designers have produced remarkably original garments. ”Some of them interpret fashion in interesting ways,” she says. ”That’s what makes this show feel different each season. Everyone remembers Matcho from season three … he made you wonder where his head was creatively. This year we have Christina – she’s got this amazing vision and she really thinks outside the square. That’s exciting.”

Based on the long-running US version hosted by Heidi Klum, Project Runway Australia is a reality show about 12 fashion designers who must create a garment within the short time frame. Each week there’s an elimination – the last contestant standing wins.

The first challenge in episode one begins at midnight; pressure, exhaustion and creative temperaments are a compelling combination. Then there are the challenges. Gale says there are plenty of fresh tasks that force designers to use materials out of their comfort zones.

This year’s judges include Australian fashion designer Peter Morrissey and professional stylist and former fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Claudia Navone. ”Peter’s very playful,” Gale says. ”He takes it all seriously, but sometimes he’s like a six-year-old on red cordial. But I’m the wrangler when it comes to the judges, designers and guest judges [including Miranda Kerr and Dannii Minogue], so that’s a lot of fun, too.”

As a judge herself, Gale doesn’t hold back and has developed an uncanny knack when it comes to spotting the designers’ attempts to hide wayward pins. ”It’s true. I have an evil eye when it comes to pins but constructive criticism is important – but not all the designers like to hear it. Some of them stand there and just give you excuses and that just brings out my ‘mum’ tone.”

Designer Alex Perry (if he had a more substantial moustache, he’d twirl it) returns as mentor, dishing out his signature advice, which ranges from supportive and astute to delightfully acerbic. ”A lot of people may not believe this,” Gale says, ”but Alex has one of the biggest hearts. He has this persona that works on the show but he’s very down to earth. He rarely goes out to functions – he’d prefer to be at home, in his jammies, having a cup of tea with his wife and his dog.”

At the suggestion that maybe the decision-making process featured on the show is the result of scripting, Gale stresses that every result is hard-won.

”We all have a different perspective. We don’t always agree – Claudia might focus on how the garment photographs, Peter’s looking at how it’s crafted, and I’m thinking, ‘Would I wear that on the red carpet and do I want my underwear hanging out the back?’ We nut it out until we have a result.”

Gale is reluctant to reveal any specifics about the new season, but says there was one challenge that almost ended in disaster.

”All I’ll say is that the designers were asked to make an entire outfit and someone decided they’d knock out a pair of jeans, but they ended up looking like something circa 1980 and not in a good way.”

It could be said, though, that the mishaps – say, the model teetering down the catwalk praying her ill-fitting garment doesn’t cause a wardrobe malfunction – are a large part of the show’s appeal.

”Coming up with new challenges that are good for both the designers and viewers at home is a challenge in itself,” Gale says with a laugh, ”but this year we’ve definitely managed to come up with some great ones.”

Project Runway Australia premieres on Monday, October 8, at 8.30pm on Arena.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Defended her husband against claims of misogyny … Margie Abbott, right, pictured here with Tony Abbott and their daughters.THE climate of personal attack is set to intensify with the government unperturbed by Margie Abbott’s defence of her husband against claims of misogyny.
Nanjing Night Net

Equally, the opposition is trying to turn the tables on the government, accusing it of rank hypocrisy for supporting the ”vile misogynist” Peter Slipper.

With Parliament set to resume tomorrow, the federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, said yesterday the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, was ”fair game” and she repeated her claim he had ”an issue with capable women”.

On Friday, Mrs Abbott mounted a media blitz and gave a speech defending her husband against claims, pushed hard by Labor, that he had a problem with women.

Public and private polling shows Mr Abbott is more unpopular with women than men and Friday’s exercise underscored in the minds of many that the problem was worse than thought.

”It must be really bad,” said one shadow minister surprised at Friday’s appearances by Mrs Abbott.

Mr Abbott said yesterday he was the victim of a ”nasty, personal campaign” because Labor could not attack him on substance. Mr Abbott has long had a perceived problem with women. Labor, which also detects this in its internal polling, seeks to reinforce the negative perception at every opportunity.

It used the recent unearthing of allegations that Mr Abbott physically intimidated a female political rival at university 35 years ago to label him a misogynist bully.

Ms Roxon said Mrs Abbott obviously loved her husband but he was ”not running in some election to be husband of the year or father of the year”.

”He wants to be prime minister and what I think is fair game for me, or any other senior minister, to do is to hold him to account for his public behaviour and his public comments,” she said.

”I don’t think because I am a woman minister I should be prevented from being able to do that, which seems to be what the opposition are suggesting. There’s a bit of reverse sexism in this.”

The government may learn today whether the sexual harassment claims against the Speaker, Mr Slipper, will proceed to trial or be thrown out of court.

If it is the latter, then Mr Slipper must still await clearance from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions over allegations that he used CabCharges before he can return to the Speaker’s chair.

But the opposition is seizing on a fresh round of text messages between him and his accuser, James Ashby, to not only fight Mr Slipper’s return to the chair, but to blunt the attacks on Mr Abbott. A batch of private texts released last week included Mr Slipper using a vulgar euphemism for female genitalia.

The shadow attorney-general, George Brandis, said the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was to blame.

”Julia Gillard is the principal protector of Mr Peter Slipper, who has been revealed, in evidence read in the court last week, to be the most vile, misogynistic person it is possible to imagine,” he said. ”The fact that Julia Gillard, Nicola Roxon, and all the leading women in this government continue to protect his position now that he is exposed for what he is just goes to show how hypocritical their criticisms of Mr Abbott are.”

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JULIAN ASSANGE has hired lawyers to investigate suing the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, for defamation over a claim that WikiLeaks acted ”illegally” in leaking about 250,000 US diplomatic cables.
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In an interview from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Mr Assange said Ms Gillard’s comment, made in late 2010, was used by Mastercard Australia, which joined an online financial blockade of the organisation.

The White House and the Gillard government have condemned the release since November 2010 of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

”I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do, and an illegal thing to do,” Ms Gillard said several days after WikiLeaks began releasing the cables.

The Australian activist group GetUp! recently interviewed Mr Assange in his makeshift home inside the embassy, where he is staying as part of a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations.

He said he would be vulnerable to arrest in Sweden by the US Justice Department, which is examining the possibility of charging people associated with WikiLeaks with espionage.

Mr Assange said the group’s work was stymied by Ms Gillard’s comments.

”Mastercard Australia, in justifying why it has made a blockade preventing any Australian Mastercard holder from donating to Wikileaks, used that statement by Julia Gillard as justification,” Mr Assange said.

”So the effects of the statement are ongoing and they directly affect the financial viability of WikiLeaks,” Mr Assange said. ”We are considering suing for defamation. So I have hired lawyers in Sydney and they are investigating the different ways in which we can sue Gillard over that statement.”

Mr Assange said the comments were particularly damaging because they ”licensed” other forms of attack on him and Wikileaks.

During the interview, Mr Assange also revealed the effects of the past two years on his family, saying his young children have had to move homes and change their names.

GetUp!’s national director, Sam McLean, said the interview was the first step in a campaign calling on the Australian government to seek a commitment from the US that it will not try to extradite Mr Assange over his publishing work with WikiLeaks.

”For too long the Prime Minister and the foreign ministers have put the interests of the US government ahead of Australian citizens. That is not good enough,” Mr McLean said.

”Our government must demand a binding agreement from the US that they will not seek the extradition of this Australian citizen for his work as a journalist and publisher.”

”GetUp! members expect the government to stand up for all Australians, even when it is not politically convenient.”

Photo: REUTERS

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There is no need for Sydney FC fans to worry. Not yet, anyway. But the weekend’s trip to Wellington provided a taste of what’s to come. At home, and especially away, the Sky Blues will be marked men.
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The target on Sydney’s back has been there since season one but the red dot has swollen dramatically since the arrival of Alessandro Del Piero. To take them down with him in the ranks is a scalp the opposition crave.

That’s the inescapable reality of every Sydney match this season. Without fail, the opposition will emerge from the tunnel with a supreme motivation.

Some argue that professional footballers do not, or should not, require emotional urges, that they must perform to a high level regardless. That wrongly assumes players are robotic. Make no mistake: Sydney’s rivals will attack like hungry dogs.

The challenge for coach Ian Crook is not to gear his team to match the drive of the opposition but to give them a superior battle plan. They need a better strategy, one that overrides the red-blooded energy of the opposition.

Wellington had them covered for both strategy and desire on Saturday night. Ricki Herbert plays a simple game but it remains highly effective. Last season they finished fourth largely by retaining the best shape in the A-League.

Organisation was their forte then and on the evidence of this latest performance, little has changed. Throw in the yearning to humble Del Piero and company and the three points were hardly in doubt.

They got on top early, stripping Sydney not only of possession but belief. Doubt visibly crept in.

Then came the cold, the wet and, of course, the bone-chilling wind, conditions the Phoenix revel in, as do their fans. The Yellow Fever might be the only supporters anywhere who prefer rain to sunshine. Their loud, pointed jeering and mocking of every missed pass was unsettling. At full-time, Sydney couldn’t get off the field quick enough.

The Sky Blues’ sloppy passing will be most annoying for Crook. The cornerstone of his new philosophy is all about possession. Evidence of that was here but only in patches and attempts to play out from the back were rarely successful.

The transition through the midfield was, at times, woeful. What must have been going through Del Piero’s head when such simple passes couldn’t find their target? A few months back he was receiving balls from the great Andrea Pirlo.

But Sydney, even in the days of Dwight Yorke and Juninho, have never been an exceptional passing team. It’s going to take a cultural shift and it won’t be painless.

Crook has the right long-term approach for the club and that’s a positive. But for those expecting the addition of a new coach and a new marquee to equal an instant championship, think again.

It’s the rest of Sydney’s squad that will dictate their level of success. How quickly they can adapt will determine whether they are a contender this season. Adapting to Del Piero, too, is going to take some time. To the naked eye, he fulfils a similar position to Nicky Carle: behind the strikers or ”in the hole”. However, they are markedly different.

Carle was a runner, sometimes to his own detriment, especially in his first season, when his determination to be involved sometimes sucked him into central midfield. Del Piero is the opposite. He doesn’t run when he doesn’t need to. He walks, or has a light shuffle, when the ball isn’t close.

That’s not a criticism. At 37, he’s hardly going to be a sprinter. Instead of him collecting the ball, as Carle tried to do, his teammates will have to find him.

If they can, his true value will emerge. If opponents try to close him down, his canny feet and low centre of gravity will find a way past. Standing off him, however, is fraught with its own danger, for that gives him time to execute a defence-splitting pass.

Getting used to Crook’s plan and Del Piero’s poise will take time. As far as initiations go, this was a tough one.

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It all began 30 years ago. Australia v Scotland. Sydney Cricket Ground. After babbling my first Test match report for The Sun-Herald country edition to a similarly confused copytaker back in the old Fairfax office in Broadway, I headed to the Australian dressing rooms to get quotes for the then chief rugby writer Jim Webster.
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One of the first people I saw in the room was Mark Ella, who had been overlooked for the Test but had come to congratulate his teammates on a 24-point win. I introduced myself and said I was covering my first Wallabies Test. Ella replied: ”Stick around … something’s brewing.”

He saved me. I did stick around. It was the night when there was a mass walkout of players for the coming 1982 Wallabies tour of New Zealand. There was chaos in the room when the word got out that nine of the victorious Wallabies had made themselves unavailable. So uproar on day one of covering this team. A tough initiation.

What followed was three decades of ”something brewing”, which meant trying to keep afloat in the ever-swirling cesspool of Australian rugby politics. That often got you down. What didn’t was the vibrancy and excitement of being almost always on tour with the Wallabies, and being ringside for such special moments as the 1986 Bledisloe Cup triumph and the World Cup victories in 1991 and 1999.

The standouts from 20-odd Wallabies tours and hundreds of Test matches? Easy. Best player: John Eales. Best match: 1991 World Cup quarter-final against Ireland in Dublin. Best individual performance: Tim Horan 1999 World Cup semi-final against South Africa at Twickenham.

Great friendships have been made, and have endured the test of time. But, most importantly, being with the Wallabies gave me, an innocent bushie, the chance to see the world at someone else’s expense.

And what a perfect venue to finish off – Rosario in wild and crazy Argentina, where this week there have been constant reminders of the reasons so many people are enchanted with this game. This was not the usual SANZAR ”in and out and get this Test over and done with” truck stop. This Test had flavour, meaning, international camaraderie.

Those few Australians who travelled halfway around the world for Saturday’s international were embraced by the locals, who celebrated the fact that Wallabies followers had made the effort to get here. The Wallabies players were also made to feel welcome – a great relief after a week of solitary confinement in South Africa.

The media in Rosario could not have done more for the three Australian scribes at the Test. Match day began with the ”third half” – a sumptuous feast on the banks of the Rosario river, with every meat cut known to man sizzling away on a coal barbecue. There were endless photographs and speeches before the Australian media pack was handed its present – a five-kilogram meat hamper. That will take some explaining at Sydney customs.

Onto the game. More hugs and kisses from the locals. And more chaos. We had walked into an ”old school” ground. No clock. No electronic scoreboard. And gargantuan spiders had invaded the press box, with the match program’s best use being to squish anything that came near our laptops. Then we witnessed a gutsy, courageous Wallabies victory under the most trying of conditions.

To top it all off, hours after full-time, the members of the Australian media pack, knowing about six words of Spanish between them, flagged down a dilapidated bus that went past the ground, hoping it was heading to the centre of town, not Buenos Aires or the Amazon. To our shock, it dropped us off in front of our hotel. What a city. What a country. A memorable day and night. The ideal finale.

But is that the sun rising? The tango must eventually end. It’s time to turn the page. Chapter two beckons. Taxi.

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Step up … Jolie Bay.Glencadam Gold, Saturday’s dynamic winner of The Metropolitan at Randwick, has been easy to underestimate, beating second-raters at best. Even the merit in his latest triumph is suspect. ”Gai [Waterhouse] is outstanding but how rivals keep letting her horses dictate with soft early sectionals is beyond me,” aax emailed to Racenet, an excellent source of learned turf knowledge. ”Gai will keep winning while rival jockeys and trainers just hand it to her like that.” PJ wrote: ”He is a serious horse but I couldn’t help but get flashes of Herculian Prince [the Waterhouse winner two years ago]. He isn’t going to get a lead like that in either of the cups and that’s when we’ll see just how good he really is … pressure in running is a funny thing.” J.W. asked: ”How can they persist with that [The Metropolitan] as a group 1? The winner looks OK but the rest are just G3 at best.” Under normal circumstances, the Turnbull at Flemington, taken by Green Moon on Saturday, would be a better cups guide than the Randwick staying test but it, too, was run at a farcical tempo that enabled the winner to race wide throughout. Glencadam Gold keeps improving. He beat Kelinni, a Chris Waller stayer hardly proven against the elite but in great form and made to look ordinary by the winner. Husband Robbie said the key to success with Glencadam Gold was reducing the weight carried between his legs.
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Whipping fallout

”My bugger needs a good whack with the whip,” Gwenda Markwell said of the performance of Rolling Pin, the minor placegetter in Saturday’s Epsom at Randwick. ”He always finds when he gets that. Chad [Schofield] rode him perfectly but just lacked that strength at the end.” Schofield was a late replacement when Christian Reith was ”indisposed” – steward-speak for sapped from weight reduction. Schofield was fined $200 for using the whip in a forehand manner more than five times before the 100 metres. Schofield did better than another Markwell jockey. ”He came out yawning and rode like he was asleep,” she said. At Flemington, Ben Melham also struck whip trouble, slugged $1200 for four breaches.

Old adage proved

Those who waffle about the ”bank interest” benefits of taking short prices, particularly under even money, again had a setback at Randwick on Saturday. The Gai Waterhouse pair Sugar Rush ($1.55) and Proisir ($1.28) emphasised the folly of an anticipated gilt-edged result while Ichihara ($1.80) also went down. ”Odds-on, look on” is better advice.

Jolie Bay’s class act

Jolie Bay, in the Roman Consul at Randwick on Saturday highlighted the change in class racing. Jolie Bay is promising but came off a Hawkesbury maiden success to take the group 2 sprint. She follows Buffering and Foxwedge, while Exceed And Excel and Fastnet Rock, sire of Jolie Bay, also feature in the past decade’s Consul honour roll. Every race will have a substandard year but a provincial maiden winner?

Coming up roses

The scent of handout golden roses replaced the beautiful waft of dollar notes in Saturday’s Randwick members’ betting ring. It was alien territory, with hardcore racegoers like Jim Mason and Bill Henneberry replaced by a demographic from an upmarket Paddo pub. The secondary betting ring in the public sector obviously attracted most diehards. Sure, Royal Randwick was a construction site and, under the circumstances, the Australian Turf Club did well on a dirty day for the more than 10,000. The course proper, the most important factor for top-class racing, played well. But the experience was a savage difference from the Melbourne grand final (nearly 100,000) a week earlier at the MCG, one of the great sporting arenas, matched in racecourse facilities if not the course proper, by Flemington. Which makes it difficult to understand why naysayers wanted a patched up, antiquated headquarters when Sydney will have a world-class racecourse.

Horse to follow

Rockford, the Gai Waterhouse two-year-old, went down by a long head in Saturday’s Superracing Stakes at Flemington after being ”slow to begin” and subsequently hampered, according to Racing Victoria stewards.

Disappointing

Bel Sprinter, the $2.80, favourite, finished only fifth in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington on Saturday but trainer Jason Warren pointed out: ”I was concerned by gate one, which didn’t help his chances. Also he didn’t get any cover, which he needs when he races over 1200m. He’s better suited at Moonee Valley and Caulfield.”

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PREMIERSHIP coach Craig Bellamy will meet his manager, John Fordham, this week in the first step towards deciding whether his job at Melbourne is done.
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Bellamy is off contract at the Storm at the end of next year, but such is his lure, he has even been the subject of speculation he could move elsewhere next year.

That seemed to be only fuelled by the Storm’s premiership win against the Bulldogs, with some believing that, after 10 seasons as head coach of the club, he had nothing left to achieve.

Melbourne chief executive Ron Gauci was adamant that Bellamy would be coaching the Storm next season, appearing to end any prospect of the Warriors doing what the Bulldogs did last year with Des Hasler – enticing the premiership-winning coach away from his incumbent club.

Gauci’s belief will be backed up by the likelihood that the Warriors will appoint Bellamy’s assistant, David Kidwell, as the club’s replacement for Brian McClennan this week, with Matthew Elliott set to take on a role alongside him.

But Bellamy’s future after next year is still uncertain. It remains unclear whether the Warriors plan to offer Kidwell a one-year contract in order to make their pitch for Bellamy, or – like the Roosters did with Trent Robinson – appoint an untried coach longer term.

Bellamy will travel to Europe later this week with the Storm’s general manager of football operations, Frank Ponissi, on a fact-finding mission, visiting rugby union and football clubs in England, France and Belgium.

Before he does, he will sit down with Fordham to begin to map out his future.

”He had a pretty busy week last week,” Fordham said. ”Quite rightly, I left him to enjoy the victory, but we’re intending to catch up this week. First and foremost, I need to have a discussion with Craig, and we can take it from there. Melbourne are comfortable with the fact that we’ve had no formal discussions with them just yet. But Craig and I will certainly be making contact this week. That’ll be step one. I don’t know what steps two, three or four will be yet. But that’s a starting point.”

Even with Bellamy overseas for a fortnight, Gauci said he could still begin formal negotiations with Fordham. While he has not, and is unlikely to, put a deadline on a decision, he still hoped for a decision ”sooner rather than later”.

”The negotiations will be in the hands of myself and his manager,” Gauci said. ”When his manager wants to talk, we’ll be ready. There’s no real urgency on our part. One thing I can say is he’s not going anywhere for 2013.”

Wests Tigers have also clouded the coaching landscape, having sacked Tim Sheens.

Another Melbourne assistant, Kevin Walters, has been linked with that job, along with Nathan Brown, Matt Parish, Mick Potter and Steve Georgallis.

The Tigers still need to finalise whether Sheens, in Townsville with the Australian squad this week, will accept another position with the club, which could impact on their appointment. Yesterday, Brisbane confirmed former New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney, who was sacked by Parramatta this year, would join the Broncos as Anthony Griffin’s assistant.

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GAI WATERHOUSE celebrated a group 1 double as a farewell to Sydney for the spring at the weekend and believes she will repeat the dose with her stars Pierro and More Joyous at Caulfield on Saturday.
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Three-year-old Pierro is already in Melbourne and following his Bill Stutt Stakes romp is favourite for the Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate.

Waterhouse added to a treble at Randwick by winning the Gilgai Stakes with Hallowell Belle at Flemington on Saturday as the southern team fired. However, the cavalry arrived yesterday in the form of More Joyous and Kabayan.

More Joyous will be out for successive Toorak Handicaps on Saturday and Waterhouse is unconcerned about a possible top weight of 60 kilograms. ”She is the best horse in the field and will carry a good horse’s weight and win,” she said.

”She was on the float with Kabayan, who will run in the Norman Robinson in a couple of weeks. He can wait a week because I have the winner of the Guineas, Pierro. I only need the one.”

More Joyous will use the Toorak as a final tune-up for the Cox Plate showdown, which she is a $7.50 second elect in betting to her three-year-old stablemate at $2.70.

Proisir will take Waterhouse’s Cox Plate team to three despite being beaten in the Spring Champion Stakes by It’s A Dundeel on Saturday. ”I have no doubt at all he will run the 2040m and that’s the right race for him,” she said. ”He was completely and utterly disadvantaged by the way the race was run on Saturday and you will see a different horse in the Cox Plate.”

It was Tommy Berry and Waterhouse’s day at Randwick, where they combined for a treble including the Epsom and Metropolitan. Fat Al gave Waterhouse a seventh Epsom to match her father Tommy Smith’s record in the big mile and will head for the Emirates Stakes later in the carnival.

However, Metropolitan winner Glencadam Gold will be the centre of interest in the next couple of days as he is favourite for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups following his 3¾-length victory on Saturday.

He remains unbeaten in four starts since coming to Australia to join the Waterhouse team. Glencadam Gold was given a 1.5kg penalty to take his Caulfield Cup impost to 51.5kg after his victory in the Newcastle Cup. Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter, who is in France for the Arc de Triomphe meeting, will announce another penalty later in the week and it will have to be at least a kilogram to assure Glencadam Gold a start in the cup on October 20.

”I don’t think he is going to get Nash Rawiller’s [weight], Tommy is going to get his chance to ride him again,” Waterhouse said. ”He did a marvellous job [on Saturday].”

Craig Williams confirmed he would ride Pierro in the Cox Plate if the unbeaten star continues on that path as expected following the Guineas. It seemed a no-brainer for Williams to choose to ride Pierro, but the hoop has to part ways with Green Moon to do so. He rode the import to win the group 1 Turnbull Stakes on Saturday.

with Andrew Eddy

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Turf’s first lady flexes her muscles

June 29th, 2019 / / categories: 江苏夜网 /

Group 1 double, no trouble … Tom Berry and his boss, Gai Waterhouse.Gai Waterhouse left Randwick racecourse on Saturday publicly elated at her record-breaking day at the races and confident that she has an unprecedented grip on the Melbourne spring carnival.
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In fact, no trainer on the eve of Australia’s most celebrated five weeks of racing has shaped to have so much influence.

Australia’s most talked-about horse trainer has pre-post favourites in the Cox Plate and the Caulfield and Melbourne cups, and also prepares the shortest-priced favourite in Caulfield Guineas history in Pierro.

While the three-year-old is at $1.35 to give Waterhouse the classic, her other remarkable galloper, More Joyous, will also be favourite for the group 1 Toorak Handicap as she has her last run before being one of three the trainer intends to start in the Cox Plate.

While jockey managers across Australia have Waterhouse’s phone number prominently displayed, she yesterday spoke of her relationship with stable rider Nash Rawiller, who will shoulder the bulk of her hopes.

”I asked Robbie [Waterhouse’s husband] a few years ago to give me the name of the best heavyweight jockey and the best lightweight. He came back with Blake Shinn and Nash Rawiller. Shinn got straight on a plane to Sydney to speak to me, but Nash wanted time to discuss the proposition with his wife,” Waterhouse said.

While a relationship with Shinn never eventuated, Rawiller did take up the offer and today the former Bendigo boy and Waterhouse have a strong partnership. However, Sydney’s leading trainer said she had doubts even up until the end of the first 18 months.

”What most don’t understand is that I train differently to many other trainers. While they like to get them ready with a run or two, my horses are ready to go from the start.

”I like them to be dominant, I like them to be on the pace and some jockeys don’t get it. But after a time Nash and I worked out a good relationship with the team,” she said.

Waterhouse’s father, the late Tommy Smith, was arguably one of Australia’s finest trainers and enjoyed a strong relationship with jockey George Moore. Moore and Smith carved out hundreds of major race wins and numerous premierships.

”No, I didn’t follow on that style that dad did. Dad and Moore were pretty feisty customers. They had many arguments and I didn’t see the need for a trainer-jockey relationship to be as confrontationist as theirs was.

”I don’t like arguments and confrontations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ‘yes’ person, but confrontations can be negative and if I find a person like that in my system, I weed them out of the operation,” she said.

Rawiller, throughout his career in Victoria, was known to be a patient and old-style jockey who liked his horses to settle and come home late. However, Waterhouse says Rawiller has refined that and rides as she wants, but she takes his input on board.

”He’s a deep thinker and I’m also a thinker, and it’s a good way to be as we’re always working towards the best for the horses. I know some of my jockeys think ‘here she comes again with another idea’ but that’s the way it’s got to be looking ahead and getting the best out of horses.

”Again, I’m a bit different from dad, whose jockeys were worked hard as he believed they were extremely well paid, better than any horse trainer, so they had to do their share.

”I let Nash cut his cloth to suit himself. He probably rides three mornings a week and he’s a terrific worker, but I’ve always got to remember that a jockey’s lifestyle is not easy and they are wasting to get down in weight and it’s got to tell on them.”

Just two years ago Waterhouse saw the opportunity of a jockey whose talents she believed could be moulded into the upper echelon of Australian riding ranks.

At the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast, Waterhouse approached Sydney jockey Tommy Berry and offered him a position at Tulloch Lodge. On Saturday, that belief materialised into the 21-year-old Berry winning the Epsom Handicap and Metropolitan double.

”Tommy is another who has fitted in well. His instructions [on Saturday] were to be positive and what happens, he’s successful on both after he went whoosh at the top of the straight.”

In the next five weeks Waterhouse will have upwards of 15 horses leave Sydney for Melbourne for a spring carnival in which she could rewrite the Australian racing record books.

She said yesterday she wanted to let the dust settle before making plans for her horses, but it would seem certain that she will have a mixture from speedy two-year-olds to dour stayers for the Melbourne carnival. Waterhouse, a noted perfectionist, says her stable riders will fly in and out of Melbourne on the day. ”They’re only an hour away,” she said.

If, as it seems, according to one bookmaking firm (Centrebet), Waterhouse is a $61 chance to win the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup treble this spring, her efforts at grooming jockeys will well and truly be worth it.

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Punters once had to line along the mounting yard to vent their anger and get up close and personal with jockeys. The demonstration was a rite of passage and gave the track its colour.
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However, in the 21st century when punters are more likely to be in pubs or on their lounge rather than on course, they switch their attacks to Twitter. Social media makes everyone an expert and gives the man who had $50 on a beaten favourite an outlet for his frustration. It can be more personal because most top hoops have Twitter accounts.

They sometimes like to share their thoughts after a day at the track. Comments can get them in trouble as it did with the furore over Blake Shinn’s suspension at Hawkesbury a couple of weeks ago.

There was sniping and opinion from his fellow riders about Shinn that would have been kept to the jockeys’ room in the past.

Stewards had to step in and remind some of the jockeys that Twitter is a public forum. Ray Murrihy labelled the spat childish and not in the best interests of racing.

But what is?

This was real emotion and an issue that had been bubbling for months. It showed jockeys as real people and entertained their followers for an evening. Then, like most things on social media, it was quickly forgotten.

Stewards were right to step in and stop it becoming a free for all.

It was one of the growing pains of using social media. However, it is a new world racing needs to embrace because interaction between punters, jockeys and trainers will create more interest in the sport.

Race clubs, bookmakers and horse syndicators have Twitter feeds (and Facebook profiles) and possibly racing’s biggest name online is its greatest star, Black Caviar, which has more than 21,000 followers.

Her account provides the right mix of humour and interaction as well as the latest news relating to her unbeaten career.

Nathan Berry took to Twitter on Saturday to praise twin brother Tommy’s biggest day of his career. ”Congratulations today bro. G1 double what a great effort. Proud or (sic) you mate. The years of hard work is paying off #FLYING” his tweet read.

It is positive to have things like that out in public. As the traditional media gets smaller and racing finds it harder to be recognised, these Twitter interactions can give the sport a greater public face.

A quick poll of those jockeys with Twitter accounts in Sydney found, unsurprisingly, there is a fair bit of negativity directed at them. Most have experienced abuse but none want to talk openly about it.

”You know when you ride one bad,” a jockey said. ”You just have to move on and put it behind you. But on Twitter they will tell what you did wrong and how you should have ridden it. You cop it but that’s a part of it and I have to say it has got better since the Twitter troll campaigns.”

Even Gai Waterhouse has taken to Twitter. She took an image of her star Pierro after he won at Moonee Valley last week and shared it with her followers. Twitter has become the place to break news and discuss it. If there is an issue in racing, it is likely to be discussed and/or joked about on Twitter.

Black Caviar’s return to racing became public on Twitter and wags pointed out that books on her might have been premature.

It can only be good to spread word about racing but social media needs to be used with thought. There are endless supplies of tipsters who can send you broke or pay for dinner. There are also plenty of promotions from bookmakers, so in the end it is here to stay.

This carnival will probably define Twitter’s role in racing.

Most jockeys and trainers believe providing a little information and answering some questions helps.

It will be a case of getting the balance right.

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Rematch … Kerrin McEvoy brings Guineas Prelude winner Epaulette back to scale.MEMORIES of the Todman Stakes and Epaulette’s narrow defeat by Pierro are fuelling Kerrin McEvoy’s ambition of back-to-back Caulfield Guineas successes on Saturday.
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Epaulette, which is a Commands half-brother to Helmet, last year’s Guineas winner, headed Pierro in last year’s Todman before Gai Waterhouse’s still-unbeaten star fought back to win by a short half-head.

”I felt like I was home. We got there [to the front] and [he] had a look around,” McEvoy said after the Todman as Nash Rawiller claimed he had taught Pierro how to fight.

It was the closest any horse has got to Pierro and in two meetings since, Epaulette finished last in the Golden Slipper, which is best forgotten, and 2½-lengths third in the Run To The Rose dominated by Pierro.

”He [Pierro] is the benchmark for the three-year-olds there is no doubt about that,” McEvoy said. ”The Todman is a long time ago but it is the closest anything has got to him. My horse has definitely got better since but so has Pierro. He definitely has the runs on the board and is a lot stronger and has been very impressive in everything he has done.”

The $1 million Guineas over 1600 metres will be the first time Pierro steps up to group 1 level as a three-year-old but his record of eight wins without defeat, including the Golden Slipper, Sires’ Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes, entitled him to the short quote of $1.35 with bookmakers. His Bill Stutt Stakes romp over the mile at Moonee Valley 10 days ago helped to trim that quote further.

Epaulette is the only real threat and $7 is freely available about his chances, even after his Golden Rose victory and a workmanlike performance in the Guineas Prelude at Caulfield eight days ago.

”He has been good at his past two [runs] but this is the ultimate test,” McEvoy said. ”This is the race we have targeted with him and we are taking on a very, very good three-year-old in Pierro. All I can say is I’m very happy with my horse.”

It will be Epaulette’s first run at 1600m but he looks like he will be suited by the trip. McEvoy indicated the barrier draw could play a big role in how the Guineas is run, but expects Pierro will be in front of Epaulette during the race.

Epaulette relaxed at the tail in the Golden Rose and stormed home to win at Rosehill, but showed versatility to be much closer in the Prelude but lacked the killer instinct when it looked as if he was going to blow his rivals away.

”It would be as good to be as close as possible to Pierro but we won’t be making any decisions about that until after the barrier draw,” McEvoy said. ”He is going to have something to chase this time I’m sure of that.”

Pierro will be the only runner from the Waterhouse stable as Kabayan and Proisir will be saved for targets later in the spring.

McEvoy has picked up the ride on Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Shahwardi in Saturday’s Herbert Power Handicap, which offers direct entry into the Caulfield Cup.

The Melbourne Cup-winning jockey’s European experience helped in getting the ride on the French stayer, which has 51.5 kilograms in the the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, and ran a close-up third in the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville at his most recent outing on August 19. It is the race Americain and Dunaden came through on their way to Melbourne Cup victory in the past two years. Also, Shahwardi is a two-time winner over the Caulfield Cup distance of 2400 metres, albeit in 2009.

McEvoy will get acquainted with the seven-year-old when he works him at Werribee this morning in preparation for Saturday. ”I have never ridden for Alain before, so it was a honour when he rang to ride Shahwardi,” he said. ”He needs to win a race like Saturday’s if he is going to get into the cups and it will be interesting to see how he measures up.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.