Melbourne Cup: Almandin wins

Photo: Eddie JimAnd the Melbourne Cup has been won by Almandin.
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In second place isHeartbreak City, withHartnell coming in third.

And for those in office sweepsRose of Virginiafinished last.

To read more about how the race went and to hear from the winners click here.


It’s almost race time.

If you haven’t had a moment to see who’s racing this yearthe final 24-horse field is here.

Got all dressed up and snapped a photo on Instagram?Then see if your photo is in our gallery here.

Across the country people are headed to race tracks and pubs to watch the race that stops the nation.

Even those headed to work are dressing-up a bit more than normal.

But what is it about this race that makes it so popular?

Have a look at the history and more here.

Speaking of history,Hunter Valley-owned 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist has been retired to stud. Click here to read more.

Want to re-live last year’s Cup? We’ve got the highlights here.

And whilethe Melbourne Cup may be the race that stops the nation, the Agriculture Issues of Prominence Cup surely gives it a run for its money? Check it out in this video:

Melbourne Cup: Almandin wins wins the Melbourne Cup.2016-11-01T12:45:00+11:00 2016 Agriculture Issues of Prominence Cup – Form PreviewHow the odds are shapingupAnd if you are not sure who you should place your hard-earned cash on –we’ve got you covered with these tips.

Or if you prefer to really chance your luck this could help:

And then there is always the tried and true‘let the pets decide’method:

Melbourne Cup: Almandin wins wins the Melbourne Cup.2016-11-01T12:45:00+11:00 beware,historically odds are against the favourite. Read more here

And if you are thinking of taking a punt, perhaps have a look at this piece which looks at betting on the Melbourne Cup versus investing in shares.

Fashions on the fieldTake a walk down memory lane with this galleryshowingsome wonderful examples of how to standout at the cup.

Not sure what to wear to that Cup function you’ve got on Tuesday? Well ladies, we can tell you stilettosare out. Read more here.

Perhaps you forgot Cup day today? It’s ok –there is still time tomake a fascinator out of newspaper. Like this:

Melbourne Cup: Almandin wins wins the Melbourne Cup.2016-11-01T12:45:00+11:00 you want ensure you stay classy and don’t stand out for the wrong reasons? Well then, this should help:

Where are all the celebrities at Melbourne Cup Carnival 2016?Gigi Hadid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Upton, Snoop Dogg, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Enrique Iglesias, Geri Halliwell, Mischa Barton, Solange Knowles, Eva Longoriahave all made celebrity appearances at the Melbourne Cup Carnival down through the years.But it seems organisers are happy to stick with local talent for 2016.

That is apart from nine-time Olympic gold medallistUsain Bolt, who is on theCrown Melbourne marquee guest list for Oaks Day. Read more here.

Newcastle punk lads Trophy Eyes crack the ARIA top 10

ON THE CHART: Newcastle punk band Trophy Eyes, comprising John Floreani, Jeremy Winchester, Kevin Cross and Callum Cramp, have released their second album Chemical Miracle straight into the ARIA top 10. Picture: Supplied.PUNK rock outfitTrophy Eyeshas donewhat no Newcastle band since Silverchairor the Screaming Jets before themhave –recorda top 10 album.
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The five piece band, including Clarence Town boys Jeremy Winchester and Callum Cramp, had their second recordChemical Miracledebut at number eight on the ARIA album charts last week.

“We were driving back to our accommodation after a pretty successful show in LA, so we were already on a bit of a high,”Cramp (drums) said.

“Then our manager filled us in with the news that we got number eight. We were allprettyecstatic.”

The bandhadfelt a weight of artistic and popularexpectation onthe album, Cramp said, and can’t quite believe how it has been received.

“We didn’t go in to this album thinking‘let’s crack the charts’,but someone told mewe’rethe third band from Newcastle to ever get in the top 10 and that’s a pretty great feeling.”

The appeal of Trophy Eyes’2014debutMend, Move Oncatapulted themfrom playingNewcastle all-age shows atThe Loft to a place on theWarped Tour–analternative rock touringjuggernaut in the US–as well as performing at London’s Electric Ballroom.

Their sophomore album,with its lyrics of paranoia, loss and near death-experience,cements them as one of the most successful current actsfrom the Hunter.

Chlorine, the lead single fromChemical Miracle,has had more than half a million plays on the music streaming service Spotify.

“A bunch of bands from Newcastle that we looked up to when we first started learning to play our instruments helped shape our sound a little,” Cramp said.

“I think the biggest part that shines through is the mindset that such a blue collar town instilled on us.

“We all work or have worked trade jobs and I think that gave us all a pretty good work ethic.

“We were never afraid of the hard work that being a band requires.”

Next year looms as“the big one”, saysCramp, andthe band will tourfrenetically with the wind of the album’s popularityin its sails.

They will start2017at the UNIFY Festival in Victoriaandplay a run of shows to support Chemical Miracle, starting with a hometown gig at the Cambridge Hotel.


Greta’s Don Cruickshanks enters 14 national tree champions on National Register of Big Treesphotos

Whatever Don Cruickshanks does, he does it well.
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The Greta retiree has grown national champion orchids, and is known as a bit of a celebrity in the orchid world.

He was a successful cow cockyfor many years.

Towards the end of his career, Mr Cruickshanksstarted work as a cattle manager at Rosemount Vineyard and ended up growing grapes.

“I believe whatever youdo, youput everything into it,” Mr Cruickshanks said.

But it’s his latest venture that is perhapsmost impressive.

Mr Cruickshanks has entered 14 national champion trees on the National Big Tree register.

Trees have always been a joy for Mr Cruickshanks from his work on the land.

After he retired he started taking day trips with his wife where they would explore bush areas and enjoy the trees.

Mr Cruickshanks’s sister saw a story about theregister and told him about it.

So he started entering a few of his finds…and boy were they winners.

“When I found a big tree, it just turned out that these trees were bigger than any anyone else had found,” he said.

Don’s tree passion | PHOTOS Moreton Bay fig trees, Maitland Road, Islington Park.

Rare historic Aboriginal scar tree.

Greta’s Don Cruickshanks with the big tree he spotted at Moonan Brook during a recent trip to the Upper Hunter.

The wedding tree in Raymond Terrace.

The wedding tree in Raymond Terrace.

The wedding tree in Raymond Terrace.

The wedding tree in Raymond Terrace.

Moreton Bay fig trees, Maitland Road, Islington Park.

Don Cruickshanks, of Greta, with the forest red gum in Fosterton Road listed on the Australian National Register of Big Trees.

Raymond Terrace’s Norfolk Island Pine tree is one of the biggest Christmas trees in the southern hemisphere. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Tree of Knowledge on Hannell St, Wickham.

Tree of Knowledge on Hannell St, Wickham.

Fig trees on Council Street, Cooks Hill.

Union Street, Tighes Hill.

A lone pine in Mayfield West.

Norfolk Pines at King Edward Park, Newcastle.

Norfolk Pines at King Edward Park, Newcastle.

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Qantas buffeted by competition headwind as oil prices stay low

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. The airline has disclosed softer trading conditions for the December half. Photo: Cole Bennets Passenger numbers rose 2.5 per cent, but that didn’t stop revenue from falling. Photo: Glenn Hunt
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Despite Qantas warning Monday of soft trading conditions as it battles the headwind of rising competition from rival airlines, analysts were upbeat, telling clients things could have been worse.

The December half underlying profit before tax will run at $800-$850 million, down from $921 million earned a year ago, the airline said on Monday even as it benefits from a further decline in oil prices.

In the September quarter alone, domestic revenue slipped 3 per cent to $3.98 billion due to rising competition on international routes with domestic demand also subdued. Even so, it said the December quarter will see an improvement.

“We are seeing international airfares below where they were 12 months ago, but the impact of that is tempered by the competitive advantages … including our strong domestic position and diversified Loyalty business,” the group’s chief executive, Alan Joyce said.

“Qantas Domestic, Jetstar Domestic and Qantas Loyalty all continue to perform well with high operating margins in a stable market.”

In the December half, the group’s fuel bill is expected to fall to $1.5 billion from $1.7 billion, although for the full year it is expected to be little changed at $3.1 billion compared with $3.2 billion in the previous financial year, it said. Overall, passenger numbers rose 2.5 per cent.

Capacity on international routes rose 5.8 per cent as the group shifted aircraft from domestic services to lift capacity mostly in Asia “in response to growing inbound demand from the region”, it said. Domestic revenue slipped 2.9 per cent, as international revenue fell 6.9 per cent.

In the December half capacity growth has been cut from the earlier forecast 2.5-3 per cent to a more modest 1.5-2 per cent. The decision to shift capacity from domestic to international services will see international capacity rise 3.5 per cent with a 1 per cent decline in domestic capacity, Qantas said.

“We believe investors should breathe a sigh of relief,”J.P. Morgan told clients, with the decline in revenue per seat “a cyclical rather than a structural issue”.

“The stock looks inexpensive, relative to global peers and the ASX industrials market, more broadly”.

Macquarie Equities said the quarterly data was worse than expected, although capacity reductions will help to protect revenues.

“Qantas remains fundamentally undervalued and despite a lack of earnings momentum a return to dividends is evidence of management’s confidence in the sustainability of earnings,” it told clients.

Qantas shares were up 8c at $3.02 in closing trading.

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Senators Derryn Hinch and David Leyonhjelm in Twitter slanging match

Senator Derryn Hinch accused David Leyonhjelm of being a “white-anting vandal”.A Twitter war of words has broken out between Senate crossbenchers, with combative Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm labelling Derryn Hinch “a dumb heap of parrot droppings”.
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The pair have clashed since it was revealed that Senator Leyonhjelm told a rally at Queensland Parliament in 2013 that he would be happy to let police “lie on the side of the road and bleed to death”.

Complaining about new laws designed to deny affiliates of outlaw motorcycle gangs access to gun licences, the NSW senator said police and the public were on a collision course.

“For myself, I am never going to help someone who thinks it’s OK to pull me up, search me and threaten me with jail if I don’t answer their questions, merely because I ride my motorcycle in company with a couple of other people,” he said at the protest.

“If that’s what they think, they can lie on the side of the road and bleed to death.”

After writing a blog post explaining his views and criticising Australians for being too quick to “excel at outrage”, Senator Leyonhjelm turned his attention to Senator Hinch, who is a pro-police advocate.

“You need to read this and apologise to me, you dumb heap of parrot droppings,” he tweeted, linking to the blog post and saying it was acceptable for Australians to criticise police. @HumanHeadline You need to read this and apologise to me, you dumb heap of parrot droppings.— David Leyonhjelm (@DavidLeyonhjelm) October 30, 2016

Senator Hinch didn’t pull any punches in his response, accusing his colleague of being a “a white-anting vandal”. @DavidLeyonhjelm I will never apologise for defending our police against white-anting vandals – even a fellow Senator.— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) October 30, 2016This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.