Young girl fighting for life after suspected GHB overdose in Albury

A YOUNG girl is fighting for life after an apparent GHB overdose.
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Paramedics were called to a home in Schubach Street about 11.30pm on Friday.

The four-year-old girl was choking after reportedly drinking a small amount of the drug from a drink bottle.

She was transported to Albury hospital and was airlifted to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, where she remains in a critical condition.

A 30-year-old man was charged with drug possession and wasgranted bail to appear before Albury court on November 22.

A police spokeswoman confirmed officers had seized two plastic bottles containing GHB.

She said the Department of Family and Community Services had been notified.

“Emergency services were called to a home in Alburyon Friday night after the child fell ill after reportedly drinking a small amount of GHB,” the spokeswoman said.

“It’s believed the drug had been stored in a plastic waterbottle.

“The child was taken to hospital by NSW Ambulance paramedicsand remains critical.

“A30-year-old man was arrested by police and taken to Albury Police Station.

“He was chargedwith possessing a prohibited drug.”

According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, the drug has a high risk of overdose.

“The chemical composition of GHB is highly variable,” the foundation’s website states.

“It’s very easy to take too much GHB –the difference between the amount needed to get high and the amount that causes an overdose can be hard to judge.”

Overdoses can result in death, and the drug can also cause seizures, unconsciousness, blackouts, hallucinations and irregular breathing.

Albury womanCassandra Harper died three days after taking the drug at an Olive Street house party in

Investigations are continuing.

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JUNIORS: Milly Stevenson to represent NSW at School Sport Australia Athletics Championships

SUCCESS: Macquarie Hunter Athletics Club member Milly Stephenson claimed gold medals in both the 100 and 200 metres at the NSW All Schools Track and Field Championships held in Sydney recently. Picture: Josh Callinan.MILLYStephenson has some new shoes on and they’re already feeling fast.
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Imported direct from the US and arriving on Friday as a surprise from her father Chad, also a sprinter by trade who narrowly missed selection for the Olympics in 1992, the bright coloured spikes won’t be missed at next month’s School Sport Australia Athletics Championships in Canberra.

But while the Adamstown 12-year-oldhastaken a liking to replicas of Jamaican championShelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, her old pair had quite the run.

To qualify for the upcoming national competition, being held at the Australian Institute of Sport from December 1 to 4, Stephenson won the state sprint double at the NSW All Schools carnival in Homebush following the most recent holidays.

The year 7 student at Merewether High School recorded personal best times in claiming both the 13-year girls’ 100 and 200 metreevents.

She stopped the clock at 25.83 seconds to win the longer race before backing up two days later to complete her dual gold medal performance with 12.40s in the shorter final,shaving 0.2s off her finest career effort from the semi-final that morning.

SUCCESS: Adamstown 12-year-old Milly Stephenson claimed gold medals in both the 100 and 200 metres at the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships held in Sydney recently. Picture: Josh Callinan.

* HUNTER surf life saversBailey Proud (Redhead) and Jack Curran (Caves Beach) recentlyreturned home from the 2016 New Zealand Pool Championships with a combined sevenmedals.

Proud’s best showing was gold in the under-19 male 4×50 metre medley.

The pair then teamed up for silver in theunder-19 male 4x50m obstacle relay but individually Proud (second) finished one podium place ahead of Curran (third) in the under-19 male swim with obstacles.

In addition Curran clinched silver in the under-19 male NSW 50 line throw while Proud was awarded bronze after the open mixed mega relay.

* BASEBALLAustralia has announced the dates and venues for next year’s national Little League Championships. Lismore will host the carnival at Albert Park between June 7 and 12.

* EVER head of the National Danish Performance Team?

If you want to find out more about this non-Olympic but flexible, acrobatic,independent, non-for-profit, sport-for-all crew then Newcastle PCYC is the place to be.

After running workshops with beginners on Monday and seniors on Tuesday afternoon (3.45pm-5.15pm) they will themselves take to the stage at the Broadmeadow centre for a one-time-only show from 7pm.

Operation Silverstone: highway patrol cars new weapons in patrolling motorcyclist haunts such as Putty and Wollombi roads

Lives on the Line: Police aim to turn the corner on bike deaths Operation Silverstone press conference at Rutherford. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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Operation Silverstone press conference at Rutherford. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Operation Silverstone press conference at Rutherford. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Operation Silverstone press conference at Rutherford. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Operation Silverstone press conference at Rutherford. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Operation Silverstone press conference at Rutherford. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookTHEY are the remote, out-of-the-way roadsthat attract motorcyclists with an almost endless run ofsnake-like turns and tight corners.

But the same characteristics that suck in riders along the Hunter’s favourite thoroughfares are also killing them.

Police will announce on Tuesday a four-month operation across the Central Hunter, Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie commands targeting riderson their favourite haunts, including Putty and Wollombi roads.

Their weapons will include police helicopters and unmarked cars, allowing them to monitor riders along the remote and tight roads where accidents have occurred.

The Polair helicopters will be used to watch rider behaviour before passing on the information to ground crews in marked, unmarked, and “covert” highway patrol vehicles.

Operation Silverstone will begin on Tuesday and continue to March 1, taking in the summer months where large numbers of motorcyclists hit the roads.

There have already been nine motorcyclists die on Hunter roads this year, including six riders in the 11 weeks since August 12.

Two riders were killed in separate accidents on Putty Road in August last year, just weeks before senior highway patrol officers launched asafety campaign.

Regional highway patrol commander, Superintendent Bob Ryan, said Operation Silverstone was an initiative aimed at “keeping riders and drivers safe and alive on our roads during the peak motorcycle riding season”.

SAFETY: Putty Road (above) is among the most popular rides with motorcyclists and will be targeted in a new police campaign. Picture: Dean Osland.

“We are particularly concerned about the safety of motorcyclists in the Hunter and Lake Macquarie regions, who are over represented in crash statistics this time of year,’’ Superintendent Ryan said.

“All riders should ride to live.

“During the operation, highway patrol police will be patrolling and enforcing the law particularly on motorcycle routes, including the Putty Road and Wollombi Road, to promote the safety of motorcyclists and drivers.

“These officers will also be speaking to riders at popular rest areas and encouraging them to take responsibility and obey the rules in place for their protection.

“The unmarked and covert vehicles we are using will include a variety of vehicles, not normally associated with highway patrol.

“These unmarked and covert vehicles, as well as PolAir, will be used for traffic enforcement on most major roads, with the purpose of reminding motorists that any vehicle could be a police vehicle.

“This operation aims to ensure that motorcyclists ride to the conditions, anticipate the actions of others and obey the road rules.”

World first: Blackheath phases out plastic straws

Plastic straws suck: World first as Blackheath phases out plastic straws in favour of the old fashioned paper variety. Wattle Cafe’s Paul Beavis and Lis Bastian (front) with Victory Cafe’s Terry Tan and the Ivanhoe’s Kerrie Ray.Blackheath has become the world’s first town where all the shopfront businesses have agreed to phase out plastic straws.
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Blackheath magazine editor, Lis Bastian, co-ordinated the phase out over the last fewmonths liaisingwith some 30 businesses. The many cafe owners, the servo, grocers, pubs, takeaway shopand deli in thepopular tourist town are nowall on board.

“Globally billions of straws are thrown out each day and Blackheath alone has been throwing out 40,000 straws a month.It’s a big deal.”

Ms Bastianorganised acommunity paper straw bulk buy and sponsorship from American manufacturer Aardvark and Australian distributorGreen Pack. “Because it wasa whole town response, they gave us a whole town discount.”

When stocks of the cheaper plastic straws run out, businesses in this popular tourist town will only offer the high quality waxedpaper straws, while encouragingshoppers to forgo a straw completely if they don’t really need one.

“When I was a kid they were all paper [straws], in one generation plastic has taken over …plastic pollution is getting so dire.”

Ms Bastian, who is also a lecturer in environmental management,said a town in Canada had almost managed to ban the plastic straws –“but they didn’t quite get there”;another town in India was being forced to do it by government.

“Because plastic straws don’t biodegrade, they are amongthe top plastic pollutants harming our waterways. It’ssuch a small thing wecan do and I’m thrilled the businesses of Blackheath have worked collaboratively to achieve this milestone.”

She said it was also good for children today to see small changes can happen and matter.“We have to show them that things can be changed.”

Participants at Blackheath’s Youth Cafe had told her that “straws suck” and they would be happy to pay an extra 5c to cover the cost of a biodegradable alternative.

Victory Cafe owner Terry Tan, said he “hadn’t worked out the extra cost, but it doesn’t matter, it’s not a big deal”.

Blackheath Chamber of Commerce vice president and the owner of theWattle Cafe, Paul Beavis,said he would look at spreading the message with the other Mountains Chambers. “The chamber is right behind it.”

Ivanhoe co-owner Kerrie Ray has also got on board.“I just go along, it’s easier.”

Ms Bastian said at the moment they were getting a box of 600for the subsidised price of $10, but it was a lot cheaper to buy plastic at $15 for 5000 straws.

“It can’t be that business shoulders the whole cost.The idea is over time we will discourage people from using straws.”

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Royal commission hears The King’s School threatened to send a debt collector to family

The King’s School in North Parramatta. King’s headmaster Tim Hawkes outside the Royal Commission in 2015. Photo: Daniel Munoz
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The King’s School threatened to send a debt collector to the family of a student who was allegedly indecently assaulted on a camp because it had fallen behind in his fees, a royal commission has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told that the family owed $25,000 in tuition for their son.

The teenage student, given the pseudonym CLC, was allegedly indecently assaulted by a fellow student while on a cadet camp with the school in April 2013, the inquiry heard.

When The King’s School’s bursar raised the unpaid fees with headmaster Tim Hawkes in September 2013, the commission heard CLC’s father was described as a “bad debtor”.

The inquiry was told Dr Hawkes wrote to the bursar advising: “Failure to pay his debts should result in the usual sanctions including the boy being sent home and him being put in the hands of a collection agent.”

Dr Hawkes told the commission he had a meeting with CLC’s parents in October 2013 which was secretly recorded by CLC’s father, given the pseudonym EAE.

In handwritten notes made before the meeting and tendered the commission, Dr Hawkes writes that CLC should have followed the school’s anti-bullying policy and disclosed the alleged assault and subsequent bullying earlier.

“It was this failure to make an immediate disclosure that contributed to CLC’s alleged harassment,” he wrote.

Dr Hawkes told the commission he did not blame CLC for the alleged bullying he endured.

The inquiry heard the school’s anti-bullying policies failed in relation to CLC, who left the school in October 2013.

CLC’s father compared his son’s experience to a “single chicken being pecked to death” in his evidence to the commission.

Evidence before the inquiry into child-to-child sexual abuse in both public and private schools is that The King’s School has dealt with a number of such allegations.

The North Parramatta school has dealt with four historical allegations of child-to-child sexual abuse and some contemporary claims during Dr Hawkes’ 19 years as headmaster, he wrote in his statement to the commission.

The inquiry continues before Justice Peter McClellan​.

Lifeline 13 11 14 Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 Survivors & Mates Support Network 1800 472 676

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Melbourne Cup Day 2016: Hunter connections enjoy ride on Supreme Effort

Supreme Effort, in the orange and blue hoops, gets up to win on the outside at Randwick in February. Picture: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛
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Newcastle rugby league identities Frank Lawler, Steve Storrie and Brendan Dooley will chase their own slice of Melbourne Cup day glory at Flemington with Supreme Effort.

Lawler bred and part-owns the Kim Waugh-trained gelding, which will compete in the listed $150,000 1200-metre race. He also owns the six-year-old’s dam, Sounds Supreme, andwas in Melbourne on Monday to see his charge arrive. The Maitland rugby league club presidentsaid it was exciting just to have a runner on theday.

“I’ve heard of a lot of people who spend lots and lots of money on horses and are lucky to get them to the track at all, let alone one that’s good enough to take to Flemington on Cup day,” Lawler said.“It’s a major buzz for not just me, but forall the owners.It’s our first runner at the carnival so it’s pretty exciting for all the boys.

“We just hopehe runs well for us. It’s a jump up in grade but he’s probably earned his shot at something like this.”

Former star Newcastle Rugby League players Storrie and Dooley, as well as prominent Hunter businessman Paul Broad, are also among the Supreme Effortowners.

A winner seven times from 21 starts and $281,835 in stakes, Supreme Effort earned a shot at the race with a 2.5-length win at Port Macquarie in October 7.

“We looked at it about a month ago and Kim said he would have to win really well at Port Macquarie to warrant bringing him down here, and he bolted in,” Lawler said.“His start before, he ran a track record at Newcastle, so he’s been going well enough.Third start up, he should be cherry ripe, so we thought, let’s give it a go.”

“He haswon four of his last five and hisonly bad one probably was in the Provincial Championships final at Randwick, and that was a heavy track, which he doesn’t handle.

“He beat His Majesty andMeursault at his two starts before that, and his last two have been at Newcastle and Port Macquarie in open grade and he’s won those pretty easy.

“Kim couldn’t be happier with him. He arrived in Melbourne this morning and we went out and had a look at him. He looks bright, he looks great.”

Sunrise and Today hog spotlight, ABC News Breakfast offers something fresh

ABC News Breakfast hosts Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland. Photo: Supplied A Nine publicity crew hands out merchandise outside the Federal Court in Queen’s Square. Photo: Michaela Whitbourn
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Breakfast battle: Sunrise’s David Koch and Samantha Armytage, and Today’s Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson. Photo: Composite image

Virginia Trioli interviews Cyndi Lauper, centre, and Harvey Fierstein. Photo: Screenshot

Normally, a winner is declared after a fight. But the rules are different in commercial TV. Somehow, two networks can both declare victory. Then they’ll take it outside to the carpark and keep brawling.

We saw this last week, when Channel Nine claimed Today had overtaken Seven’s Sunrise to become the top-rating breakfast show. What followed, essentially, was this:

“We’re No. 1!” “No, we’re No. 1” “Well, you’re Donald Trump!” “No, you’re Donald Trump!”

I’m paraphrasing – but only slightly.

On Friday, this spectacle reached its unedifying climax. Moments before the networks were due to face off in the Federal Court, Seven settled its case against Nine.

Fiat justitia ruat caelum.

In Latin, this means, “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.” Stirring words. No doubt their author hoped that, centuries later, Sunrise’s Cash Cow would use this principle to maximise his earning potential.

Because Sunrise has more viewers across Australia, including regional audiences, it will exclusively call itself “Australia’s No. 1”. But Today retains certain bragging rights, having won the most official metropolitan ratings weeks this year. A Nine spokesman says its ads will become “market-specific”, suggesting Today will promote itself as No. 1 in certain cities.

It’s no accident this spat has hogged the headlines. The two rivals all but guaranteed it would. (Nine even handed out Today merchandise outside the Federal Court on Friday.)

Few programs can match commercial breakfast TV’s ability to draw attention to itself. Indeed, Today and Sunrise have got it down to a fine art. Confrontational political interviews. Cash give-aways. On-air gaffes. Tours of Australia. International celebrities. Lots of laughs. A strong social media presence. Anchors doing lavish spreads in the Women’s Weekly and Sunday supplements.

All this reflects a big budget – and a bigger network spin machine. Which makes Virginia Trioli’s and Michael Rowland’s achievements even more impressive.

Every week, more than 1.5 million Australians, including regional viewers, catch some of their ABC News Breakfast show. This year – again – their ratings have increased.

In breakfast TV, averages look startlingly small, because no one watches from start to finish. (They’re also misleading, because networks split their shows into “early” and “late” segments.)

So far in 2016, Sunrise is averaging around 540,000 viewers nationally, Today has 475,000 and ABC News Breakfast has 239,000. This adds up to several million people watching five minutes here, half an hour there.

And a growing number are choosing Trioli and Rowland.

It’s not hard to see why.

Now in their seventh year on air together, they’ve perfected the hardest part of breakfast TV: light and shade.

For some on-air duos, the banter flows easily – but the switch to hard news feels awkward. Or it’s the other way around: the hosts are seasoned journalists, and resent having to chortle at another YouTube clip about a singing cat. (And there’s nothing more excruciating than forced laughter.)

Compared to its commercial rivals, ABC News Breakfast is heavier on politics, world news and current events – and lighter on celebrity news. With no advertisements, its segments run for longer.

Previously, its guests were overwhelmingly politicians, business people or expert commentators. Over the past few years, actors and musicians have appeared: Quentin Tarantino, Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein to name a few.

But instead of silly stunts, they get decent questions.

And Trioli and Rowland give more of themselves now. But not too much.

To be a viable breakfast/morning/panel show host in 2016, one must also be a “personality”. Unfortunately, some have inferred that more personality equals more success. This is a) wrong; and b) the reason we have too many people tearfully divulging their problems over branded mugs of coffee.

Fortunately, we’re yet to see this on ABC News Breakfast. Or, mercifully, the “he says, she says” dynamic that one long-gone executive producer tried to enforce on a commercial program.

While Seven and Nine keep bickering, the national broadcaster puts out an alternative. And a growing number of Australians seem to prefer it.

Twitter: @Michael_Lallo

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Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull clash over refugee ban

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Photo: Jason SouthOpposition Leader Bill Shorten has left the door open to Labor supporting a permanent entry ban on asylum seekers and refugees who arrived by boat, despite calling the proposal “ridiculous”.
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Mr Shorten accused Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of placating extremists including Pauline Hanson with the move, which would stop such refugees from even visiting Australia.

Mr Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton unveiled the extraordinary lifetime ban at the weekend and have begun wooing crossbench senators in case Labor tries to block the policy.

The proposal has started a war of words amid claims it is excessive, and that it breaches Australia’s international treaty obligations.

Mr Shorten – whom Mr Turnbull phoned on Sunday to brief on the plan – said Labor wanted to see the details, but suggested it made no apparent sense to stop people entering forever, especially as tourists or for legitimate business purposes.

“It seems ridiculous to me that a genuine refugee who settles in the US or Canada and becomes a US or Canadian citizen is banned from visiting Australia as a tourist, businessman or businesswoman 40 years down the track,” Mr Shorten said.

He pointed to past refugees such as Frank Lowy, Gustav Nossal and Hieu Van Le, saying they had “made a huge contribution to Australia”.

“As an Australian, that’s something I’m very proud of.”

Other problems could arise because the ban would mean Manus Island or Nauru refugees resettled in third countries could be subject to future discrimination if denied the freedom-of-movement rights of other citizens.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, whose country has been mentioned as a likely new home for the refugees, said he would not agree to treat refugees as second-class citizens in future.

Mr Key said his government would not support a stipulation to “create different classes of New Zealand citizens” by barring refugees accepted by it from entering Australia.

“We’d have to see what they ultimately pass and what they try to impose, but fundamentally there’s a free movement of people from one country to the other … we’ve got no intention of having separate classes of New Zealand citizens,” he said.

With the politics of this issue perilous for Labor – one senior figure branded it “abhorrent” – Mr Shorten is being careful not to give the government any scope to portray him as soft on boats.

Fairfax Media understands the political edge is only part of the motive for the Coalition’s move. The government is increasingly frustrated that refugee activists have been “irresponsibly” encouraging detainees to hold out for a policy softening from Canberra, and so Mr Turnbull has decided to send the opposite signal.

The announcement has reignited an incendiary partisan debate over asylum seekers, with Mr Dutton branding Mr Shorten weak, and the Labor leader depicting Mr Turnbull as a captive of Pauline Hanson and of Liberal Party reactionaries.

“Two weeks ago, Mr Turnbull was happy to trade a vote in the Senate for weaker gun laws, last week his government lied about dodgy data to smear single mums, and now he’s shown he’s happy to suck up to chase the votes of One Nation senators to fight off Tony Abbott and keep his job,” he said.

“He’s earning the praise of Pauline Hanson – I hope he’s proud of that.

“The old Malcolm Turnbull would never have proposed this to keep the extremists in his party happy.

“We’ll look closely at the legislation when the government can be bothered releasing it.”

Speculation is rife that Canberra may be close to finding a final destination country for some of the hundreds of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island, after secret talks with one or more foreign governments.

Both Mr Turnbull and Mr Dutton quelled such talk but they refuse to be drawn on a suggestion that New Zealand may be on the table.

Mr Key was even less sanguine about a future trans-Tasman breakthrough.

“That offer [of resettlement] hasn’t really moved – it sits there,” he said.

“There’s no obvious appetite from Australia to take up the offer [and] I think it’s increasingly unlikely that they will.”

He said Australia appeared determined to use “every sort of fibre that they’ve got” to stop refugees brought by people smugglers from settling there.

The government says the ban has been designed to send the strongest possible message to “criminal people smuggling” operations that trade on vulnerable asylum seekers.

A source close to Mr Shorten said: “Bill’s instinct is this is all just cynical politics. They try this trick every few months and it never works. He’s deeply sceptical of Turnbull’s motivations.

“It’s clear as day [Turnbull is] so petrified of opinion polls he’s clutching at anything.”

With Sam Sachdeva and Michael Koziol

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Lloyd Williams believes Almandin has beaten the Melbourne Cup handicapper

Melbourne Cup 2016: Downloadable sweepWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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The man who is synonymous with the Melbourne Cup, Victorian businessman and owner Lloyd Williams, believes one of his quartet of candidates has beaten the handicapper and got into the great race with a lower weight than he should have.

The horse in question is Almandin, who will carry the No.17 saddlecloth and jump from gate 17 with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle.

Williams has four runners in the race that he targets like no other every year. All of them seem likely to get the distance and look like a winning chance at some point in the contest.

But it is the formerly German-trained Almandin that the four-time winning Cup owner believes has sneaked in with a racing weight (52 kilograms) that is less than he probably deserves.

“I think Almandin … in an old-fashioned sense he’s probably beaten the handicapper. I would probably give him 54.5 or 55 kilograms if you were handicapping him today,” said Williams, who, in his younger days, was known as a fearless punter.

The Mount Macedon-based horseman said he had worked Almandin at Bendigo racecourse – a track that he likes because of its spacious lay out and similarities to Flemington – and revealed that it would be hard to see a horse working much better.

Almandin has been a work in progress for Team Williams as he had a long lay off after coming to Australia. In his last run in Europe, in June of 2014, he beat subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist.

He then missed two years before resuming through the winter and gaining fitness and race smarts before hitting his straps six weeks ago, winning the Harry White Handicap at Caulfield over 2400 metres and then the Bart Cummings at Flemington over 2500 metres, on both occasions ridden by Damien Oliver who was never a chance to make the horse’s handicap weight here.

The last win gave him a ballot-free progress to the Cup, so Team Williams has been able to keep him ticking over at Macedon and he will arrive at Flemington fresh having not run for a month since the Bart Cummings on October 2.

Williams will also saddle up Gallante, a winner of the Sydney Cup this year. He disappointed in the Moonee Valley Cup but got no peace in front and could well show that form to be all wrong on Tuesday.

His other candidates are the Aidan O’Brien-trained Bondi Beach and the former O’Brien inmate Assign, now stabled at Macedon.

Bondi Beach ran down the field in last year’s Cup but Williams admitted on RSN show Jury Duty on Monday morning that it might have been a mistake to set him for the great race last year as he was only a northern hemisphere three-year-old.

Williams believes the younger horses do get a big weight advantage if they are robust enough to handle the challenge, but Bondi Beach comes back this year stronger and a more experienced galloper than the one who ran unplaced last season.

His last runner is Assign, who will be partnered by Katelyn Mallyon, who is hoping to follow in the groundbreaking footsteps of Michelle Payne last year and become only the second woman to win a Melbourne Cup.

Assign is a former Coolmore galloper trained in Ireland by O’Brien, and like Almandin is hitting form at the right time, having won the Herbert Power Stakes, a traditional Cup lead-up, at Caulfield last start under Mallyon, who gave him a well-judged front-running ride. The ultimate racing form guide with free tips, live odds and alerts for all racing.

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Melbourne Cup 2016: How to always look your best, even when the going gets wet

Melbourne Cup weather can be notoriously fickle, so consider changing your shoes and packing some wet weather gear. Photo: Jason South Oaks Day 2006 was one of the windiest race days on record, as depicted in this Walkley Award-winning photograph. Photo: Angela Wylie
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In the climate-controlled surrounds of the Birdcage marquees, celebrities such as Jennifer Hawkins needn’t worry too much about inclement weather. Photo: Ryan Pierse

An umbrella may be an essential accessory if the weather forecast for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup is accurate. Photo: Quinn Rooney

 There’s an adage that, on race days, as on wedding days, women cannot feel the cold.

But Melbourne is a fickle filly at this time of year and the weather can do bizarre things. Anyone remember Oaks day 2006?

After a baby bear’s porridge of a Derby day – not too hot, not too cold – Cup Day is set to be grey and drizzly. But that doesn’t mean abandoning your plans to lead the style stakes, if you take a few small steps to weather-proof your look.

Marina Didovich, who’s responsible for styling Myer ambassadors Jennifer Hawkins and Jodi Gordon for this year’s carnival, said the most she can think about when planning is the season.

“There’s just so much room for error if you start to think about rain or sun. This time of year [the weather is] so on and off,” she said.

While the celebrities and VIPs are largely protected from the elements inside the Birdcage – unless a marquee springs an unfortunate and unlikely leak – Didovich had some expert advice for regular racegoers.

“Choose weather-appropriate shoes – not strappy, maybe instead a chic pump. And if it’s raining you want to avoid suede or fabrics,” she said.

Bad weather – hot or cold – can also make uncomfortable shoes feel even worse, so her advice is to “avoid them like the plague” if they aren’t even comfortable in the store.

A blazer worn over the shoulders, sleeves hanging, is a chic way to cover up without concealing too much, she said.

“Hopefully you have something amazing that complements your outfit.”

But she advises to leave the cardigans and heavy coats at home.

“You can tell when an outfit has been compromised,” she said.

Stylist Lana Wilkinson has also “pulled” nearly 40 looks for a range of celebrities including Megan Gale and Bec Judd this carnival.

She said there are often critical business arrangements linked to who wears what, and the weather is an uninvited guest in that equation.

“Because [my clients] know they will be photographed they want to look a million bucks,” she said.

“These people aren’t going to throw on a plastic raincoat.”

But the Victoria Racing Club is encouraging general racegoers to do exactly that, or more specifically one of the $20 plastic raincoats on sale at the track.

In pink and green sheer plastic, they are designed to last the day and accommodate any sized hat, thanks to the oversized hood.

Wilkinson said racegoers might instead consider a light trench and switching to a closed-toe shoe, so long as it still matches the outfit.

“Don’t try and grin and bear it. If you are going to be on grass, choose a block heel over a stiletto, or a wedge. Bring a little make-up kit and upscale the size of your bag to accommodate the extra items you will need.”

The forecast for Tuesday is 18 and showers, while the weather is expected to improve for Oaks Day, with a forecast of 22.

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