Schmetzer’s Cunning victory

CUNNING AS has silenced his critics after a recent form slump by taking out first place in the last race of the day at Tumut on Boxing Day.The four-year-old gelding was able to come from behind late in the race to win the Elliott’s Landscaping Benchmark 45 Handicap (1600m) by half-a-length in what turned out to be a stunning finish.The experience of jockey Bryan Murphy and the youth of trainer Mark Schmetzer combined well to bring home the bacon for the winning connections.The pair also claimed a win earlier in the day with Awesome Feeling taking out the Shell Bros. & Sound of the Mountains FM 96.3 Maiden Plate (1000m).Schmetzer says they were confident leading into the race despite some recent bad luck.”He blundered his last start and couldn’t get back up,” said Schmetzer.”He ran well today though and put up a good finish.”Schmetzer said although this was the first time he had trained a horse to run at Tumut, the track was one of his favourites to ride on when he was a jockey and it is usually a good track for the horses.Cunning As finished just ahead of race favourite Copy City despite sitting last for the majority of the race.”He always sits last and makes his move late, that’s just his running style,” said Schmetzer.Schmetzer believes the gelding did not run to his full potential and says they will keep pushing him to do his best.As for what’s next on the cards for the horse Schmetzer says he is still looking around at races and is not yet sure when Cunning As will race again.
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Warbucks’ love affair with Tumut continues

TUMUT has once again proved to be L’il Miss Warbucks’ favourite track as the five-year-old stormed home for a win at the weekend.The horse silenced her critics and made it three out of four at Tumut when she managed to win by a length over race favourite Go Gemmie in the McDougall & Cruise Benchmark 45 Handicap (1000m).A last-minute change of jockey interrupted L’il Miss Warbucks’ preparation for the race, however, the mare surged to the front early in the nome straight and held off her rivals.Apprentice Natasha Winton was chosen to take the reins after the mare’s regular jockey Rodney Sue-San decided to ride at Queanbeyan, but owner Graham Byatt said they were happy with how Winton raced.”I thought she raced really well,” said Byatt.”She (Winton) held her third the whole race then hit the lead on the home stretch.”The late change of jockeys put us and the horse off a little bit but it worked out well.”Byatt says they were able to get the horse peaking for the race and she was running at her full potential.He said L’il Miss Warbucks performed well at Wagga last week but was underdone and unsuited by longer distance and was unable to hold a place.Despite coming in second favourite in the bookies’ ring due to some last-minute punting action, the horse was carrying one of the lightest handicaps in the field, which Byatt said helped them in the long-run.Owner-trainer Bob Burgun was delighted the mare was able to claim another victory for him and Byatt, and says she still has plenty of running left in her.”She loves Tumut, this is her third win in four starts,” said Burgun.”(Natasha) rode it home well and we will back here again in a fortnight for a 1200-metre race.”Burgun and Byatt will be testing their luck to make it four out of five when the Tumut Turf club holds its Tumut Cup meeting in two weeks.Burgun is confident the horse will hold out for the extra 200 metres and says L’il Miss Warbucks should run well.
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Interstate raider is sweet for final

MIA BREEDERS PLATEBy Matt MaloneVICTORIAN invader Did It Alone will start a short-priced favourite in Friday night’s $30,000 MIA Breeders Plate final after a commanding heat victory at Leeton on Saturday night.Did It Alone ($2.50 favourite) overcame a bad draw and did all the work in the opening heat to score by the barest possible margin over local hope Navarda Ace ($13).One of Australia’s top drivers, Greg Sugars, turned down a full book of drives at both Newcastle and Ballarat to make his first trip to Leeton and the decision paid dividends.Did It Alone served up sectionals of 30.5 and 30.7 during the middle of the last mile to simply outstay his rivals for a brilliant victory.Sugars said the victory was worth the trip to Leeton for.”He went good and he did it pretty tough,” Sugars said.”He probably lacks that high speed but he just keeps on coming.”I was a little bit concerned with the second row draw but the plan was to get up there on the pace and get them running.”Sugars certainly lived up to his tactics and recorded an impressive winning mile rate of 2:01.2.Leeton trainer-driver Wayne Sullivan enjoyed a charmed run in the one out, one back position and went within a whisker of knocking off the favourite.Wagga’s sole representative Lettucerocku ($2.60) showed explosive speed to lead and battled on gallantly to finish third.Young pacer Nevada Sunrise was well-backed in the betting ring and qualified for the final in fourth position.Queenslander Bullion Hall also did enough to make the final after finishing fifth.Sugars said it was all systems go now for Friday night’s $30,000 final.”He actually felt a little bit flat down the back straight but he kept on finding,” Sugars said.”That run will do him good and he should run a good race in the final.”The opening Breeders Plate heat was delayed by 25 minutes after one of the light towers blacked out.
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Shoppers flock to stores

CASH and gift cards were flying through the cash registers yesterday as residents headed to retail stores to spend their Christmas money. With most stores closed on Christmas and unable to trade on Boxing Day, yesterday was the first day since Christmas Eve shoppers could visit the malls and retail stores to take advantage of the annual sales.Both the Marketplace and Sturt Mall had hundreds of customers browsing and buying all day.Kmart was busy as soon as it opened its doors, and shoppers weren’t shy to make the most of the Kmart monster stocktake sale.Most of Kmart’s departments were involved in the sale, including manchester and sound vision but the most popular products selling quickly yesterday were the Playstation and Wii games.”We have had a very busy morning, there are a lot of people here,” store manager, Anne Campbell said. “The Rock Band game and pretty much any of the computer games are just flying out the door.”Kmart also has a summer apparel sale in their clothes department which was proving to be an early success.Mrs Campbell said store gift cards are very popular and are used almost immediately after Christmas by people who are eager for sales.”You always see that there are a lot of gift vouchers going through the cash registers,” she said. Jacqui Tosh from Wagga was shopping but wasn’t searching for sales like almost everybody else � she thought it was an opportunity to to get out of the house. “I’m just getting out of the house because I have been shut up inside for two days,” she said. Mrs Tosh said she had seen a lot of shoppers but that it was mainly the children doing the shopping. “I think there is a lot of people spending Christmas money today,” she said. “But there seems to be a lot of children with the cash in their hands.”
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Respected businessman loses cancer battle

RESPECTED Wagga businessman Gordon Braid has passed away.Mr Braid lost his long battle with cancer on Boxing Day surrounded by his family. The well-known Wagga man was a familiar face to Riverina residents. Mr Braid had been involved in the running of the family business since 1960. Mr Braid suffered from cancer for 20 months and was determined to make it through one last Christmas with his family – which he managed to do before passing away at his home on Saturday, aged 67. Wagga Motors has been controlled by the Braid family since 1950 and now third generation family members, Mr Braid’s son, Richard, and nephew, Scott, manage the family company. The dealer principal of Mark Hillis Group, Mark Hillis, said Mr Braid touched thousands of people in and out of the motoring industry. “A lot of people out there have benefited greatly from being educated by Gordon,” he said. “Gordon was a very good man and representative of the motoring industry.”Mr Hillis said Mr Braid was a “funny bloke” and he was a great character to be around even though he was an opposition car dealer. “One word to sum up Gordon is integrity, a lot of people looked up to him,” he said. “He was a great mentor for everybody, even the opposition motoring groups.“He loved a good-spirited battle and had a great sense of humour.”Mr Braid also held several senior positions with the Motor Traders’ Association.Mr Braid was a charter member and past president of the Wollundry Rotary Club and is recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow, one of the highest honours a Rotary member can receive. Member and past president of the Wollundry Rotary Club Doug Sutton said the death of Mr Braid will affect many people and he would be sadly missed. “Gordon held a very important position in Rotary and was held in the highest regard,” Mr Sutton said. “He was a very active member and we will all miss him very much.”Two months ago the Wollundry Rotary Club contributed $33,000 to set up the Gordon Braid Melanoma PhD Research Scholarship which funds a PhD scholar at an Australian university to carry out melanoma research over three years. “We offer our sympathy to his wife and family,” Mr Sutton said. “It is a very big loss.”Mr Braid is survived by his wife Sue, three children, and eight grandchildren. Funeral details are expected to be released later this week.
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Rain does little to help an embattled Lake Cargelligo

FLOODING rains in the state’s central west will not save a “condemned” Lake Cargelligo, despite the Lachlan River flourishing under the heavy downfall.Lake Cargelligo residents yesterday declared “a death sentence” had been placed on the once-idyllic tourist attraction, with beneficial rains caught in the river and weirs unlikely to be released into the reservoir. Flows from the Lachlan River were halted at Condobolin last month by the State Government, leaving residents hoping for a substantial Christmas downfall.Ironically, the downfall they wished for came, drenching most corners of the state, but the water drastically needed at Lake Cargelligo will not be on the way. Late yesterday, it was reported Condobolin had received as much as 70 millimetres of rain, but the much-needed water will not be able to flow down to Lake Cargelligo.Lake Cargelligo resident Greg McInnes yesterday said the rain that fell on the town would make little impact on the future of the dry lake.”The lake will not fill naturally anymore,” he said.”Traditionally, when big rain fell it was cause for celebration; the lake was the safety valve for when drought came.”But the little bit of rain that fell locally can’t inflow into the lake and there is no inflow from the Lachlan River anymore because State Water has cut it off.”Mr McInnes said the State Government’s decision to cut Lake Cargelligo off from receiving water releases from Wyanga Dam and the Lachlan River had caused the once-thriving waterhole to rapidly dry up.Lake Cargelligo resident Peter Fell said the community was still relieved to see the rain, despite acknowledging it would do nothing to restore the ailing reservoir. “The block gates mean that none of the big rain near Forbes and Dubbo will get pumped into Lake Cargelligo,” he said.”The little bit of rain we got will not help, and unless we get really lucky and they release some water, the lake will dry up � it is very close to dry.”We got a bit of rain into our rainwater tanks.”Mr Fell said his mother Dot, who has lived in Lake Cargelligo for 88 years, said this was worst state she has seen the former popular drawcard.
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Woman in critical condition after crash

AN AUSTRALIAN Capital Territory woman was left in a critical condition after a serious single-vehicle accident near Boorowa on Thursday.The 26-year-old woman sustained serious head injuries when the Ford Festiva she was travelling in left Lachlan Valley Way, 15km south of Boorowa, about 5.30pm and rolled twice.Four passing motorists came to the woman’s aid and assisted at the scene until NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived and transported her to Yass hospital.Due to the severity of her injuries, the woman was later transported to Canberra Hospital to undergo emergency surgery.Investigations by officers from Cootamundra Local Commandare continuing into the cause of the crash.Meanwhle, a 30-year-old Holbrook man allegedly committed five aggravated burnouts on Friday.About 1.45am the man allegedly committed the first burnout on the Hume Highway at Holbrook, adjacent to the Holbrook police station.Police patrolling for the offending vehicle than observed it commit another burnout on Jingellic Road, before the driver returned to the original location and performed the third.The man proceeded to drive into the driveway of a private residence and commit another burnout before heading into the rear yard and repeating his actions.Police stopped directly behind the driver and arrested him, but he failed to commit to a roadside breath test.After being taken to Holbrook police station he allegedly resisted arrest and assaulted police, and was taken to Albury police station where he was charged with dangerous driving, assaulting police, resisting arrest and failing to submit a breath analysis.Tumut police are continuing inquires into the cause of an incident that saw a pedestrian injured in Tumut on Saturday evening.The man was conveyed to Tumut Hospital with serious abrasions to his back and an injury to his leg after being allegedly hit by a car while sitting on the ground.Wagga police, meanwhile, have reported a relatively quiet Christmas weekend, with only a spmattering of minor incidents putting a blight on celebrations in the city.There were no major incidents and police from the Wagga Command were not required to attend any serious accidents.Wagga duty officers contributed to a strong police presence in licensed venues across the city and no major violence or assault incidents were reported.Operation Safe Roads continues across NSW between the Christmas and New Year period.Wagga duty officers are reminding motorists to heed the message to take care on the roads to ensure the festive season is spent with loved ones and not in a car wreck or jail cell.
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Eateries warned to watch smokers

WAGGA businesses that offer alfresco dining have been reminded that patrons smoking on the footpath can potentially result in the loss of the alfresco lease.Annette Hulm, the lessee of Seato’s (formerly known as Billys) on Gurwood, received a letter dated December 17 from Wagga City Council’s ranger services co-ordinator Greg Minehan informing her “that the requirement for the licensed alfresco dining area to remain smoke free is not being observed”.”Where further incidents of non-compliance are observed, action may be taken,” the letter said.”This action will range from a formal warning through to the withdrawal of the agreement permitting you to offer alfresco dining on the footpath area.”Policing her customers is not a job Mrs Hulm believes she should have to do, particularly when a simple step to the left or right, out of the area with the seats, would take both her and her customers out of the firing line of council rangers.”I don’t think it’s our job to police it,” she said.”Customers, they come to this kind of place to have a cup of coffee and a smoke to relax. We can’t see the tables and we can’t be out there all the time.”What’s the difference in standing next to the bin (outside the area), with the wind blowing and people sitting in here? Cars are blowing smoke all the time.”Mrs Hulm said she has lost customers since the rule to keep “the specified area on the footpath smoke free” was introduced, and at times the fees she pays to keep the area do not seem worth it.”We’ve lost a lot of morning trade,” she said.”There was probably only one person (smoking) at a time. There was one lady who would come in, she’d have two cups of coffee, read the paper, have two smokes, come in and say goodbye and off she’d go.”I had to pay $376 to put it in my name to keep it there, and I have to pay $43 a chair to keep the chairs. How would a place like Romano’s be?”
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Business idea taking shape

THE Dobney Avenue roundabout is proving a popular business development area.Just a week after Wagga’s new Bunnings opened another major business development is being planned for the section of land between Dobney Avenue, Pearson Street and Chaston Street.Wagga developer Tim Brennan is behind the idea, which will bring three new business ventures to the area.Office Works had been touted as the headline business for the 3600 square metre development, however, it has pulled out, at least temporarily.Mr Brennan has not been standing idly by waiting for businesses to approach him; the site is currently being levelled, with the former Hepburn and Lovett Agricultural Machinery building being demolished.According to the latest architectural sketches there are three spaces of various sizes for potential ventures.Mr Brennan said it would be full steam ahead in the new year.”At the moment it is first in best dressed as the building works will begin in earnest in the coming weeks,” he said.”Unfortunately Office Works decided to withdraw their interest but I’m confident we can make a very popular and successful business centre opposite Bunnings.”
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Lockhart guaranteed replacement police officer

A REPLACEMENT for Lockhart’s outgoing police officer has been guaranteed.After meeting with Lockhart mayor Peter Yates, Wagga Local Area Command Superintendent David Simmons said a replacement would definitely be found.After more than 11 years of service Senior Constable Craig Carey is moving on, leaving the town momentarily without a police presence.However, after a lengthy meeting, Supt Simmons was able to guarantee a replacement, with recruitment expected to start early in the new year.It is some much-needed good news to the residents of the Lockhart shire as police numbers come under threat from centralisation.The Rock’s police officer is often called into Wagga while Yerong Creek’s station and sole officer are also under threat because of the NSW Government’s financial problems.Lockhart resident Blue Harper said a police presence was essential in isolated country towns.”It means a lot, we’re taxpayers so why shouldn’t we be entitled to access to police in our towns,” he said.”The aim is four officers in the shire, one each at The Rock and Yerong Creek so we need to give these politicians a wake-up call and ensure money is spent in the right place.”Cr Yates it was important that residents had immediate access to police services.”It is no good if people are waiting 30 or more minutes for police to arrive at Yerong Creek or 40 minutes in Lockhart,” he said.”I can’t speak highly enough of the job done in Lockhart by Sen Con Carey, he has been a fantastic person in the community and we hope that the next officer will be just as important.”
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