Newcastle City Council garbage collectors close to striking

NEWCASTLE garbage collectors almost went on strike this week after council pays were a day late for the third time in recent months, their union has confirmed.
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The United Services Union confirmed the pay unrest after a NSW Industrial Relations Commission report-back on Friday.

Union industrial officer Noel Martin said Newcastle City Council’s pay-day had changed in a new system of fortnightly, rather than weekly, pay.

Mr Martin said some employees had been hit with penalties by their banks when there were insufficient funds in their accounts for automatic deductions on mortgage repayments and the like.

The council confirmed the delays but said that ‘‘in every case the issues have been resolved within 24hours’’.

Mr Martin said the pay delays added to already substantial morale problems and he could not rule out immediate industrial action should another delay occur.

Mr Martin said the dispute in the industrial commission began when the council refused to allow a union delegate to be present during a staff disciplinary matter.

Mr Martin said the union was still waiting for an assurance that such a thing would not happen again.

The council’s human resources manger, Graeme Holland, said the union had not responded to his correspondence on the matter.

Mr Martin said the council talked about ‘‘wanting a relationship’’ with the union but had twice ignored the industrial commission’s recommendations – the only times he could recall any council doing so in 18years representing the union.

Summing up, Deputy President Rod Harrison said that rather than ‘‘bickering over who should be at a meeting’’, it would be better if the council and the union addressed ‘‘the real issues of productivity, efficiency and job security’’.

The parties are set to meet on Thursday with a return to the commision on Monday, February 16.

The council told the Newcastle Herald it gave ‘‘due consideration to all’’ the commission’s recommendations.

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Rhys Smith rises to the occasion for Merewether at Surfest

STRONG PERFORMER: James McMorland competes in the Surfest Tag Team Challenge at Stockton beach for Frenchmans. Picture: Ryan OslandTHE steadying influence of Rhys Smith helped Merewether stay in the mix for a quarter-final berth after day one of the Surfest Tag Team Challenge at Stockton beach.
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Smith stepped into the breach after a string of withdrawals and was among Merewether’s best on Friday as they finished second in rounds one and two.

Jesse and Marc Adam as well as youngsters Morgan Cibilic and Zephyr Le Rougetel make up the Merewether side, which is missing stars Ryan Callinan, Craig Anderson and Jake Sylvester. Young guns Jackson Baker and Luke Hamilton are competing at the Australian Open of Surfing pro junior at Manly this weekend.

The two second placings left Merewether in sixth place overall with two more rounds remaining on Saturday. The top eight then progress to the the finals on Sunday.

North Avalon defeated Merewether in round one 57.63 to 36.71 and North Shelly prevailed over the local powerhouse 45.3 to 36.51 in the second.

North Shelly, North Avalon and North Narrabeen Black won both of their four-team rounds to be 20 points and lead the 16-team field after the opening day.

North Narrabeen White and Norah Head were on 16 points after a win and a second.

North Narrabeen Black were the standout team on Friday, racking up 123.04 in wave scores across the two rounds.

Chris Enever was a leading light for North Narrabeen Black, which included Kai Warner, former world tour surfer Brett Warner’s son.

James McMorland was a strong performer for Frenchmans, who are seemingly out of contention for a quarter-finals berth after securing 7.5 points from a second and fourth on Friday. McMorland clinched back-to-back Surfest wildcard trials victories last Sunday at Birubi Beach to book his place in the six-star Mark Richards Pro on February 16 at Merewether.

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Uni opt to ground Aaron Bird for T20 final

FULL STRIDE: Aaron Bird in action for NSW in 2006. Picture: Getty ImagesUNIVERSITY have resisted the temptation to parachute former NSW fast bowler Aaron Bird into their side for the Newcastle district cricket Twenty20 final on Sunday at No.1 Sportsground against Merewether.
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Bird has not played a game for Uni but was on their team sheet for their washed out T20 game on January 18 against Toronto Workers.

Newcastle District Cricket Association’s grade administrator, Alan Nichols, confirmed Bird was eligible to play. However, Uni skipper and Bird’s younger brother, Luke Bird, said the club had decided against playing the 31-year-old.

‘‘There were talks and we were thinking about it, but he hasn’t played a game for us and we have blokes who have played and trained week in week out, and I think it would have been a little unfair to sit them out for the final,’’ Luke Bird said.

Uni will field a formidable bowling line-up, even without the six-game Sheffield Shield veteran.

New Newcastle representative bowler Tim Prescott (38 wickets at 9.55) and Grant Stewart (26 at 14.69) are among the in-form seamers of the competition and Luke Bird has recaptured his top pace.

‘‘He’s deserved it. He’s been one of the form bowlers of the whole comp, the stats tell you that,’’ Bird said of Prescott.

‘‘With the new ball he can move it both ways, so he’s pretty lethal.’’

In last year’s T20 final Hamish Bartlett made 61 not out to carry Merewether to victory over Uni with three balls to go.

It was a match many believed Uni should have won, if not for some wayward bowling from the 15th to 17th overs that leaked 46 runs.

‘‘We’ve taken a lot out of that game last year and if you look at our team this year, compared to last year, we’ve improved with the addition of some new players,’’ Bird said.

‘‘I think we can take a lot of confidence out of that knowing we got so close last year.

‘‘We’re much more balanced and I think we can go that step further and win it.’’

Merewether will be without their own first-class fast bowler, Mark Cameron, but University of NSW left-arm quick Dan Morton will be available.

Left-arm orthodox spinner Tim O’Neill is in doubt due to a back injury.

Merewether have won the past three T20 finals and will again start firm favourites.

A victory would secure their second trophy of the summer, after they defeated Hamilton-Wickham in the SCG Country Cup final three weeks ago.

‘‘As the boys have always said, we play to win and you always play to win trophies,’’ Merewether vice-captain Troy Goodwin said. ‘‘For the second time this year we get another crack at it, we’ll be going hard at it, that’s for sure.’’

Meanwhile, the NSW government’s Home Ground Tour rolls into Newcastle this weekend to continue the build-up to the start of the World Cup next Saturday.

Smith Park at Hamilton North will host the tour on Saturday.

The tour includes cricket clinics, World Cup memorabilia from the Bradman Museum and other activities.

The tour moves to Foreshore Park on Sunday where former Australian bowler Nathan Bracken will attend.

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Aaron Townsend won’t play safe

FULL TILT: Aaron Townsend.CHARLESTOWN’S Aaron Townsend has vowed to maintain an aggressive approach at the Victorian Open after he rocketed into fourth position with an eight-under 64 at Barwon Heads on Friday.
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Townsend’s putting radar was switched on as he drained nine birdies in ideal scoring conditions to move to nine under.

The only time his putter failed him, on the 13th, it resulted in his sole bogey.

Amateur Andrew Schonewille leads at 11 under.

Townsend’s 64 in the morning equalled the course record, which was then bettered by Mitchell Brown’s 10-under 63.

‘‘It was good to take advantage of the conditions as the course was a little softer and the greens were most receptive,’’ Townsend said.

‘‘I drove the ball nicely and didn’t hit it overly close, but I found a lot of greens and made some nice putts.’’

The high scoring is expected to continue over the weekend and Townsend has no plans to play it safe.

‘‘Tomorrow is supposed to be hot with a northerly so the course will dry out and become fast,’’ he said.

‘‘It will all be about course management.

‘‘You won’t be able to be complacent, you have to keep making birdies.

‘‘Everyone knows that, so you’ve got to be aggressive, but conservative.’’

Toronto’s Callan O’Reilly could also challenge over the weekend after carding a flawless 66 to move to sixth place at 136, eight under par.

The second-year professional only booked his spot on Monday when he finished runner-up in the qualifier at Kooringal.

After a disappointing end to his rookie season as a professional, O’Reilly said he spent the Christmas break working hard on his mental approach.

‘‘It wasn’t the best end to the season last year and I’m just been trying to wrap my head around it all,’’ O’Reilly said.

‘‘It feels like it’s working, it’s just a better mental attitude at the moment.

‘‘It’s easier to be good mentally when you’re playing well.’’

Charlestown’s Jamie Hook (69-70) in 23rd at five under and the Vintage’s Edward Stedman (74-69) scraped inside the cut at one under.

The Hunter’s big guns Kurt Barnes (75-69) and Nathan Green (73-73) missed the cut.

Meanwhile, Charlestown’s Jake Higginbottom and Waratah’s Andrew Dodt are three shots off the pace at the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

England’s Lee Westwood and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell led after the first round.

The two Novocastrians carded three-under 69s.

Higginbottom was on fire early with birdies at the second, fifth, ninth and 12th before making bogey on 16.

Dodt shot a bogey-free round, making birdies at four, 11 and 17.

But it was the European big guns who lit up the course.

Westwood and McDowell both shot six-under 66.

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Fee Madigan finds restorative power of art

FLAME OF CREATIVITY: Fee Madigan busy working at her Art Mania Studio in Wallsend. Picture: Brock PerksFEELING burnt out after a demanding career in drug, alcohol and mental health rehabilitation, Fee Madigan turned to her lifelong love: art.
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“I had always been involved in art but had never made it full-time as my career before,” she said.

“For me, it was a saviour and helped me to get back to wellness.

“Without it, I don’t think I would have coped very well.”

Ms Madigan relocated to Newcastle from Alice Springs – where she participated in shaping the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act – in 2008 and soon established Art Mania Studio in Wallsend, which offers hands-on educational artistic programs for anyone aged five years old and upwards.

“Art allowed me to reflect and look at things in a different way and express how I felt,” she said.

“Getting back into it gave me a sense of purpose – and it can also help people facing anxiety or mild depression.

“We call it art as therapy, but not in a clinical sense, where people want to learn stuff but also want a safe environment to just sit and be part of a group and not really participate outwardly if they are struggling with a life situation.”

From her studio, Ms Madigan has expanded her repertoire beyond painting to also include leadlighting, mosaics, hebel carving, freeform knitting and crochet, and shares her skills in these areas through WEA Hunter.

She will focus on glass fusing in her first half-day workshop for the year on Saturday, showing participants how to select, cut and layer coloured glass before it is fired in a kiln to create items including bowls and jewellery.

“Its easy, accessible and once you get the knowledge it’s a learned technique,” she said.

“People say ‘I haven’t got a creative bone in my body’, but I ask them how they are able to drive and they say ‘I learned’.

Ms Madigan’s fused and kiln-fired glassworks are on show to February 8 in her exhibition, Glass Awakenings, at Art Systems Wickham, alongside works by Roger McFarlane, Don Stewart and Luka Basorios.

It is open Friday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm.

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Native bees make good pets

Dr Tim Heard with a native stingless bee hive. BEES make good pets.

So says insect scientist Tim Heard, who has a bee in his bonnet over the little creatures.

‘‘It sounds a bit funny, but they do make fantastic pets,’’ Dr Heard said, of native stingless bees.

A native stingless bee hive.

Dr Heard will hold free workshops on the bees in Lake Macquarie this weekend.

To the ordinary punter, bees that don’t sting sound like an oddity.

‘‘They’re the pacifists of the bee world,’’ Dr Heard said.

‘‘They don’t look like your typical image of a bee – they’re small and black.’’

The former CSIRO entomologist said the bees were ‘‘unthinking little automotons [machines] with no consciousness or intelligence’’.

Nevertheless, they were driven to do their jobs and capable of working together to create complex nest structures.

Colonies consist of one queen, sterile female workers and male drones that ‘‘don’t do any work’’.

The drones simply ‘‘attempt to mate with the queen on the few occasions when she needs to mate’’.

‘‘They have a similar complex society to European honey bees.’’

Kids love them, Dr Heard said.

‘‘In some ways, it’s the kids who don’t do so well in the formal education system who are most interested in these bees,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a way of drawing kids, who may not otherwise be so conscientious in the classroom, into educational experiences.’’

Lake Macquarie City Council, which is hosting the workshops, said attendees could learn about what’s involved in ‘‘keeping these perfect pollinators in your own backyard’’.

Participants could observe the ‘‘internal structure of hives and sample some incredible native bee honey’’.

Dr Heard said the bees were ‘‘great for conservation and permaculture’’.

They collect pollen and nectar for their own needs and ‘‘in the process they pollinate the plants, which results in higher yields’’.

The bees pollinate crops such as macadamias, avocado, citrus, lychees, blueberries and strawberries.

They produce only small amounts of honey.

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Samantha Clenton hits the road to pay for new wheels


ON THE GO: Newcastle apprentice Samantha Clenton has ridden 58 winners this season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

HIGH-FLYING Newcastle apprentice Samantha Clenton is aiming for a rare treble on Saturday when she rides at both the Rosehill and Broadmeadow race meetings.

Jockeys in the past have ridden at two venues on the one day, but it is a rarity these days.

Clenton was involved in a minor car accident while driving to the Wyong meeting on Thursday. However, the accident did not dent her confidence as she produced a daring front-running ride to win on the Hunter Valley-trained Loyalist a few hours later.

Clenton will be aboard her boss Kris Lees’ smart filly Marple Miss in the opening event at Rosehill at 1.05pm.

All going well, she will have plenty of time to drive back up the M1 to pilot Rustic Melody for Lees in race seven at Broadmeadow at 5.10pm.

Clenton rounds off the day on Merry Christmas in the final event at Broadmeadow.

The state’s leading apprentice this season said she was looking forward to the ordeal.

‘‘It is no big deal riding at both tracks the way the races are spaced,’’ the 22-year-old said. ‘‘Marple Miss ($2.80 fav) is a very good ride as she is in terrific form with easy wins at her last two starts at Randwick and Wyong.

‘‘I didn’t ride Marple Miss at Randwick but I rode her two starts back when she won by 5 lengths at Wyong. She is a very nice filly and with 55.5 kilos on her back tomorrow she is very well placed.

‘‘Rustic Melody is first-up, but she goes good and I am expecting her to test these. I have ridden Merry Christmas a couple of times and he is an honest trier who likes the Broadmeadow track.

‘‘I am aiming for a treble so we will see how we go. I want to buy a new car so I have to keep riding winners.’’

Clenton has ridden 58 winners this season and sits fifth behind Blake Shinn, James McDonald, Robert Thompson and Hugh Bowman in the NSW premiership.

It is another busy day for the Lees stable on Saturday with runners at Rosehill (Marple Miss, Oriental Lady and Hera), Sandown (Moment of Music), Doomben (Artibai) and Broadmeadow (Knit ‘n’ Purl, Land Grant, Beyond, Danish Twist, Who’s Next and Rustic Melody). Land Grant and Who’s Next both have bright prospects at Broadmeadow.

Former Perth jockey Paul ‘‘The Duck’’ King has a full book of eight rides and he told the Herald on Friday that Themis (race one) and Don Pellegrino (race eight) were his best.

‘‘Themis is trained by Gai [Waterhouse] and she pulled up lame when down the track in the Gimcrack at her only start,’’ he said. ‘‘She raced on the speed that day and she went well in a recent trial.

‘‘Don Pellegrino is a progressive horse of Paul Perry’s which ran on strong late to finish third first-up at Scone recently. I have ridden this horse in four of his five starts and he won second-up in his only preparation. He is up in class but is on the limit weight.’’

Australian Test cricket captain Steve Smith will have an eye on Broadmeadow on Saturday when Sashay, which he part-owns, runs in an 1850m maiden.

Trained by Chris Waller, Sashay is a former New Zealand mare which has had two starts in this country, both at Broadmeadow. She goes to a more suitable trip on Saturday and she should have a cosy run back on the rail from her favourable draw.

Meanwhile, Newcastle Jockey Club directors, members and staff are in mourning following the death of past chairman and life member Ross Magin.

Magin was chairman from 1989 to 1992 and he held several other positions during his time on the NJC board.

‘‘Ross will be sadly missed by all,’’ NJC chairman Geoff Barnett said.

‘‘Ross was a major contributor to the operations of the club and years after he resigned from the board he continued to attend race meetings at Broadmeadow.

‘‘I sat with Ross at the Boxing Day meeting and he commented on how great it was to see a crowd of young racegoers in attendance.’’

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Cooks Hill Surf Club members to paddle at Gallipoli: photos

Cooks Hill Surf Club members to paddle at Gallipoli: photos Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. From left, Phillip Garroway, Allan McKeown, Mick Eager, Ian Buster Byrnes, Gavin Leigh. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. From left, Ian Buster Byrnes, Gavin Leigh, Phillip Garroway, Allan McKeown, Michael Eagar.Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. From left, Michael Eager, Gavin Leigh, Phillip Garroway, Allan McKeown, Ian Buster Byrnes. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. From left, Michael Eager, Gavin Leigh, Phillip Garroway, Allan McKeown, Ian Buster Byrnes. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Cooks Hill Surf Club are sending a surf boat crew to Gallipoli to compete in the 100 year anniversary race. From left, Michael Eager, Gavin Leigh, Phillip Garroway, Allan McKeown, Ian Buster Byrnes. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookIT has been nearly 100 years since Australian soldiers arrived at Anzac Cove as part of World War I. To mark the centenary of that famous landing, five members of the Cooks Hill Surf Club will paddle around the same legendary peninsula on April 22 and 23.

Many of the club’s members have relatives who were Diggers while others are current members of the Australian Defence Force, making the paddle an especially emotional experience.

The club, established in 1911, even had two members who fought in – and survived – the Gallipoli campaign.

‘‘To experience the conditions that the Anzacs Experienced a century ago is an absolute privilege’’, crew member Allan McKeown said.

The Gallipoli 100 Surf Boat Race promises harsh and unpredictable conditions for the crew, who will carry the names of all Gallipoli Diggers from the Hunter with them.

The team is still seeking financial support and is urging the Hunter community to help them out.

Visit the Cooks Hill Surf Club Facebook page here.

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TOPICS: Batman chases demons out of resident’s vents

SCREECH: Microbat. Picture: Justin McManusWHEN an elderly lady in Stroud kept waking up to demons in the night – at least they seemed like demons, flying and screeching and the like – Geoff Delooze got a call.

Geoff’s an animal catcher. You might remember him from last year, when media outlets went crazy about the giant red belly black snake he caught in Cameron Park. The story went viral. But back to the bat lady. She wasn’t mad, Geoff assured her. There was something in her vents.

‘‘With all the lights coming on to attract insects and the vents, it was like a little cave for them,’’ he says.

They were a colony of bent-wing microbats. Geoff and his colleague Bernie Marmulla deal with the tiny insect-eating species about once a year. For animal catchers, being called out to a microbat job is much cooler than a fruitbat job, and a nice change from snakes.

‘‘They’ve got a massive range,’’ says Geoff of the bats.

‘‘These ones are a good chance of flying back to where they came from.’’

Even if that happens, though, the lady’s vents are now sealed off. Geoff and Bernie were last night releasing the bats over Glenrock State Conservation Area, where it’s hoped they’ll find a new home.

Please enable Javascript to watch this video NICKLE’S WORTH: Nickelback will return to Newcastle in May.

THOSE who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, which could explain how Nickelback are playing in Newcastle again.

The band’s No Fixed Address tour in May won’t be the first time the sound of hell opening up has filled Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

Nor will it be our second visit from the band whose music evokes a furniture ad. Who inspired a campaign called ‘‘Dontletnickelback’’. Who lost an online popularity contest to a pickle. It will actually be our third.

‘‘The band’s worldwide album sales exceed 50million, solidifying their status as the second best-selling foreign act of the 21st century in the US behind only the Beatles,’’ warns the press kit, like an intelligence briefing.

To steel us for Nickelback’s third coming, we’ll give you a taste of their lyrics each week. Call it Nickelback Saturday. Ready?

‘‘And we’ll hide out in the private rooms/With the latest dictionary and today’s who’s who/

They’ll get you anything with that evil smile/Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial.’’

Now you know what you’re dealing with, May might be a good month to get out of town.

WORD of the week: ‘‘Disgruntled’’, from Bob Ingle of Karuah.

‘‘I am disgruntled at the performance of the Liberal government and Tony Abbott in particular and am not happy with the federal ALP either,’’ says Bob.

‘‘I would like to be gruntled again.’’

Promotion of the week: Sanbah Surf Shop, ‘‘Sharksale’’.

Tweet of the week: ‘‘Nothing to see here, folks’’ tweet of the week, during yesterday’s leadership spill announcement: Liberal MP Bob Baldwin posts a photo of himself presenting Marine Rescue Lemon Tree Passage’s Greg Stuchley with a medal for 15 years’ service.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Bob Baldwin presents Greg Stuchley with a well deserved award.

Headline of the week: From the Air Force Association Advocate: ‘‘Former RAAF nursing officer speaks about missionary position in PNG’’.

​Email Tim [email protected]杭州龙凤 or tweet @TimConnell or phone 4979 5944

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Tritton seeks state double

PREPARATION: Trainer Shane Tritton and Easy On The Eye working out. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

NSW premiership leader Shane Tritton is quietly confident of pushing for group success across two states on Saturday night as he focuses on a dual shot at group1 glory in Victoria.

The Keinbah trainer and NSW premiership-leading driver Lauren Panella will be at Melton on Saturday night as Easy On The Eye and Artistic Flite chase wins in the group1 Hunter Cup (3280 metres) and Victorian Derby (2240m) respectively.

Tritton and Panella will also challenge for the group3 Four-Year-Old Bonanza with Yayas Hot Spot, which finished third in the Victorian Derby for the Hunter combination last year.

Artistic Flite, an $18 chance with TAB Sportsbet on Friday, came through a tough run in the Derby heats to finish fourth but has drawn well in gate four for the finals.

Tritton said the group1 Gold Crown winner was underdone for the heats because of a lack of available racing and recent wet weather but showed his ability last week and loomed as a greater threat than Yayas Hot Spot was in 2014.

‘‘They are different types of horses but I think this horse has got a bit more depth to him and hopefully that tells in the end,’’ Tritton said. ‘‘Last year they turned the derby into a sprint home, but I think this year it will be more of a staying test and I think that suits this horse a lot better.

‘‘He’s a really nice horse and is the only one who sat in the chair in the heats and got through. It’s hard to do that on a cold and windy night, so we’re pretty confident of him being right in the mix.

‘‘He’s worked on really well this week and feels super, and having a frontline draw helps as well. He’ll be more than competitive.’’

Easy On The Eye, a $41 hope on Friday, has drawn the inside of the second line for the standing start Hunter Cup and Tritton was hopeful of him gaining a forward spot on the rails.

‘‘It’s a two-mile race and you want to get as many shortcuts as you can for as long as you can,’’ he said.

‘‘He’s going to get a nice run, he steps away very good and he’s had a lot of standing starts.

‘‘They are good horses in front of us, so hopefully they can bring us right into it and we are ready to go when we get our chance.’’

Yayas Hot Spot was at $14 in the market after drawing the outside of the front line.

‘‘It’s a pity we didn’t draw better, but he has raced against and beaten a lot of the horses in the race, so we’re quietly confident he’s right up to them,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s the most even race of the night, though, and he’s going to need luck at the start to get into position.’’

Tritton will be also watching Menangle on the same night with interest as exciting two-year-old Salty Robyn contests the group3 NSW Sapling Stakes.

He will also have Saucy Legend, one of six Interdominion nominations from the stable, racing in the group3 Tony Turnbull Cup.

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