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Bellerive Oval funds cause stir

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 26 Januari 2013 | 19.55

A POST on the Tasmanian Labor Facebook page criticising the State Government's $15 million Bellerive Oval funding was making waves in political circles last night.

A comment appeared yesterday berating Premier Lara Giddings for spending the money on the oval instead of healthcare and infrastructure.

Late last night the original post was no longer visible on the Tas Labor page but was still accessible - and had garnered nearly 1700 "likes" in about 10 hours.

State Labor secretary John Dowling said that among the comments following the post was an extremely offensive remark and he had removed it because of that.

"People are free to have open debate about issues but it's a public site and minors can see it,'' Mr Dowling said.

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Hunt on for city arsonist

AFTERMATH: The remains of the Bridges Brothers building.

THE blaze that caused up to $10 million damage to Hobart's Bridges Brothers building was deliberately lit, Tasmania Police says.

Inspector David Plumpton said yesterday police were investigating the suspicious fire that started between midnight and 4am last Saturday.

"The Tasmanian Fire Service have concluded their investigation and identified the fire as being deliberately lit," Insp Plumpton said yesterday.

But he said it could still be some time before police charged anybody.

"We are undertaking a rigorous and detailed investigation, but it will take some time.

"We are still going through a lot of evidence and we want anyone who has any information or saw someone to contact police."

Meanwhile, Insp Plumpton said officers were still investigating a fire on Hobart's Queens Domain on Thursday night.

The blaze that destroyed 17ha of grass and bushland on the eastern side of the Domain also appeared to have been deliberately lit.

The fire continued to burn yesterday, preventing investigators from accessing the scene until late in the day.

It was initially estimated that the fire had burnt 5ha, but the full extent of destruction became apparent later.

Insp Plumpton said police believed the fire was deliberately lit because of the time it occurred and its location.

"But we will await final advice from the Tasmanian Fire Service," he said.

Fire Service officer Michael Netherton said a number of fires were still burning inside trees on the Domain, making the area unsafe.

But heavy showers yesterday helped fire officers and Hobart City Council crews douse parts of the fire in the morning.

"The rain had a significant impact on it but there are still a lot of fires inside trees," Mr Netherton said.

Investigations to determine the fire's cause were continuing.


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Former top cop attack

THE man credited with ending Melbourne's violent gangland war has been the victim of an alleged assault on the Hobart Waterfront.

Former top cop Simon Overland, now the high profile head of Tasmania's Justice Department, was walking with his wife near the waterfront on Thursday evening when he was allegedly king-hit by a man trying to steal two bottles of wine being carried by the couple.

However, it appears Mr Overland the former Victoria Police chief commissioner was no easy target.

After being struck to the ground, Mr Overland regained his feet and immediately restrained his alleged attacker, while Mrs Overland called police on her mobile phone.

Tasmania Police arrived a short time later and apprehended the man before charging him with assault.

The Mercury understand Mr Overland went to hospital for a check-up but was released a short time later.

Mr Overland spent nearly 20 years in the Australian Federal Police force before joining Victoria Police, where he headed the Purana Taskforce that tackled Melbourne's organised crime.

He replaced Christine Nixon as Victoria Police Chief Commissioner in 2009.

Mr Overland is credited with playing a major role in bringing an end to the Melbourne gangland wars which resulted in convictions and lengthy jail terms for underworld figures Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel and became the subject of the first Underbelly television series.

Yesterday Mr Overland, who took over as head of Tasmania's Justice department in July last year, declined to talk to the Mercury.

It is believed Tasmania Police have charged a man who will appear in the Hobart Magistrates Court at a later date.


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Four hurt in Tamar crash

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 25 Januari 2013 | 19.55

One of the vehicles involved in the Tamar Highway car crash.

FOUR people have been injured in a head-on crash in slippery conditions near Bell Bay on the East Tamar Highway.

Launceston police said the two-vehicle accident happened just before noon today.

Emergency crews used cutting equipment to free two people trapped after the crash.

Four people were taken to hospital for treatment but their injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

It is believed the driver of the northbound vehicle lost control in wet conditions and slid into the path of the other car.

Police officers were diverting traffic around the crash scene.

Southbound motorists were advised to travel via Dalrymple Rd, with northbound traffic diverted via East Arm Rd to Dalrymple Rd.

Police issued a warning to motorists earlier today to beware of slippery road conditions because of wet weather.

A vehicle roll-over occurred at the intersection of Bell Bay Rd and Temco Rd, Bell Bay, about 9.30am today.

The driver, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, escaped without injury.

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Taking the pledge at Huonville

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Armed robbery at Sandy Bay

TWO men have held up a Sandy Bay newsagency during peak hour on the main road.

Tasmania Police said the two suspects were men wearing hoodies, masks and were armed with some type of weapon.

They said the men ran off into the adjoining Woolworths complex.

It was unknown whether anything was stolen from the newsagency on Sandy Bay Rd.

Police would not reveal what weapons were used in the incident, which took place about 4.30pm.

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Chopper rescues injured rafter

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 24 Januari 2013 | 19.55

A FEMALE rafter with a suspected broken ankle has been airlifted from the edge of the Franklin River on Tasmania's West Coast.

Police said the 21-year-old woman was part way through a 10-day rafting trip when the accident happened yesterday.

The Tasmania Police Westpac Rescue Helicopter was sent to the scene about 7am today, with access made easier by the low water level in the river.

The woman was taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital, where she is in a stable condition.

The helicopter was also called out overnight to rescue a walker who became lost while tackling Mt Amos in Freycinet National Park on the East Coast.

Police said the Victorian man set out late in the day and lost his way while returning from the summit.

He used a mobile phone to alert police to his plight about 6pm yesterday.

Officers who walked into the area were unable to locate the man. The helicopter found him on the western side of Mt Amos about 2am and winched him to safety.

Police said the man -- dressed in shorts and T-shirt -- was cold but not injured. He was taken back to his car at Coles Bay.

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Fans embrace mad fashion

SUMMER DRESS-UP PARTY: Katrina Greenham, left, of NSW, Fusha Benson, of Launceston, and Coralie Menel, from France.

CRICKET Australia's theme throughout the one-day international series has been "summer's biggest dress-up party" and the crowd at Blundstone Arena certainly got in on the action yesterday.

Encouraged to dress up in the name of fun with a $1000 prize for best outfit on offer plenty of the 8102 who attended the final match between Australia and Sri Lanka joined in.

Katrina Greenham, left, of NSW, Fusha Benson, of Launceston, and Coralie Menel, from France, joined the fun with Melon Man, Smurfs, sumo wrestlers and a Buzz Lightyear.

A half-time show on the hill provided entertainment during the change of innings, with patrons dancing away waiting for the on-field action to resume.

Ms Greenham, who hails from NSW and is embarking on an Australian-wide tour to watch cricket at all the Test venues, made sure she didn't miss the chance to throw her support behind the cause.

Although her outfit may not have been as eye-catching as some - two smurfs, a couple of sumo wrestlers, a handful of fairies and Buzz Lightyear were among those spotted - she was enjoying her first visit to Bellerive, teaching a couple of foreigners the finer points of the game in the process.

"I love the cricket, I'm currently travelling Australia and want to see it in every stadium," Ms Greenham said.

"I'm taking a few years doing it, I've been to the MCG, the SCG and now Bellerive.

"It is wonderful, you couldn't ask for better weather, it has been a good game, we are doing better than we did the other day.

"I'm actually here with two French backpackers who I'm teaching cricket to as well, we are having a great day."

Ticket prices have been a huge talking point throughout the summer, but Ms Greenham had no issues with the $43 general admission.

"I have found it really inexpensive actually for a day of cricket."

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Epic trip begins in earnest

The expedition team before its departure on Elephant Island off the Antarctic Peninsula. Picture: AFP

AN Australian-led expedition retracing Sir Ernest Shackleton's audacious 1916 crossing of the Southern Ocean has set sail.

The team of six took off in a small lifeboat from Elephant Island, in the South Shetland Islands, about 6am today (AEDT).

They are bound for South Georgia in the Southern Atlantic, about 800 nautical miles across the fearsome Southern Ocean, following the course of the explorer's perilous voyage.

Sir Ernest's crossing took 17 days, with a three-day trip across South Georgia.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered the expedition her best wishes today.

"On behalf of our nation, and in the warm spirit of Anglo-Australian friendship, I wish you well in the challenging days ahead," she said in statement.

Leading the crew aboard an exact replica of the 6.9-m whaler James Caird is 46-year-old Adelaide environmental scientist Tim Jarvis.

"Clearly there are inherent dangers involved in attempting an expedition of this magnitude," Mr Jarvis said shortly before taking off today.

"Shackleton's journey certainly defied the odds."

"I hope this expedition not only does his memory justice but also reminds us all of how incredibly beautiful, yet fragile, this part of the world is."

The crew's boat has been renamed the Alexandra Shackleton after the explorer's granddaughter.

"The expedition will be incredibly demanding both at sea and on land," Ms Shackleton warned today.

In the final leg of the journey, the crew plans to use only the equipment and food available to Shackleton during a two-day climb to 900m over the mountainous, crevassed interior of South Georgia.

Shackleton set off from Elephant Island in April 1916, after his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition's vessel, Endurance, became stuck in ice and was abandoned.

He made it to South Georgia and raised the alarm at a whaling station, and rescuers were eventually able to save the stranded party without loss of life.

Shackleton died of a heart attack off South Georgia in 1922 during his fourth Antarctic expedition when he was trying to circumnavigate the continent.

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Oz Day spirit on tap at Dunalley

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 23 Januari 2013 | 19.55

Prime Minister Julia Gillard posed with firefighters Jose Navarro, Joe Templeman and Simon Leonard at the Dunalley pub earlier this month. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

THE unofficial headquarters of bushfire-hit Tasmania's community effort will be the centre of the state's Australia Day spirit on Saturday.

The Dunalley pub, which provided refuge from the fires that tore through the bayside town and has been a meeting place for locals and support workers since, will host a concert to raise money for the recovery.

Falls Festival sound engineer Dave Campbell, who has organised the outdoor gig, says anywhere from 500 to 5000 people could turn up.

"I'm calling it the official (benefit concert) because it is the only one here in the local area," he said.

"This is the only one actually in ground zero."

Seven local bands have been officially booked but a spot has also been reserved for a high-profile mystery guest.

"We're expecting a surprise guest but we don't know who," Mr Campbell said.

"There's a lot of people interested, they're just trying to check their schedules to see if they can sneak in after their other commitments on the day.

"I don't want to mention names."

Mr Campbell had the idea for the concert while talking with his muso mates at an evacuation centre on the Tasman Peninsula.

He was one of the lucky ones -- his home at White Beach was not among the 170-odd that were lost across Tasmania.

"Everyone's sort of looking forward to it as a release, a bit of relief, just some fun and just to take their minds off everything," he said.

"We're not going to focus on the bad things that have happened."

The gig threatens to overshadow the area's official Australia Day beach barbecue but Sorell Mayor Kerry Vincent, who admits he's barely had time to think about formalities, isn't concerned.

"It's just an explosion at the moment of public enthusiasm and you don't want to stop that," Cr Vincent said.

He said the Australian spirit had shone through in the relief effort, with examples like Dunalley's oyster growers pooling their equipment to help those who were wiped out.

"They're all swapping and changing things around to keep one another going," he said.

"Everybody's in awe of what everybody's doing."

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State's $15m Blundstone boost

THE Tasmanian Government has committed $15 million to the Blundstone Arena redevelopment.

While Tasmania continues struggle financially, Premier Lara Giddings today said the money would come from infrastructure funding already allocated in the 2014-15 Budget.

The redevelopment will increase the ground's capacity from 15,000 to about 19,500 and create more than 300 jobs in the construction phase.

Ms Giddings said the investment would help Hobart attract 2015 World Cup cricket matches and hopefully more North Melbourne AFL games.

"The State Government is supporting this project because it will create much-needed jobs for Tasmanians and improve our ability to host more elite level sport like today's one-day international and AFL matches," Ms Giddings said.

"Major sporting events provide a huge boost to local businesses and also make Tasmanian an attractive place for people to live and work.

"It has been more than a decade since the last major improvements were made to Blundstone Arena and it is important that this picturesque ground continues to evolve to accommodate the needs of modern sport and the patrons that attend."

The $30 million project received planning approval from the Clarence City Council on Monday.

The State Government's commitment matches the Federal Government's $15 million grant and will allow the redevelopment to start after North Melbourne's second home game this year in May, subject to any late appeals.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said the Liberals supported the project but questioned the Government's priorities.

"The premier must explain how she can afford $15 million for a new grandstand when she can't afford to properly fund essential services like health and public safety," he said.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury.

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Bailey skippers Aussie side

TASMANIAN George Bailey will captain Australia in his first home game after skipper Michael Clarke failed to overcome a sprained ankle.

There was no sign of Clarke during the warm up after he injured his ankle at training yesterday.

But it did not help with the toss today, with Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene winning and sending Australia into bat on a good looking Blundstone Arena pitch under perfect skies.

Allrounder Glenn Maxwell replaces Clarke in the Australian team, while Sri Lanka retains an unchanged side and leads the best of five series 2-1.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade has been named to open for Australia alongside David Warner, with Phil Hughes to bat at No.3.

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Dark cloud over Clarke

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 22 Januari 2013 | 19.55

Tasmanian batsman George Bailey, who will lead the side in his first home game should Michael Clarke fail to play, spoke at the captain's pre-game press conference today. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

THE player Australia can least afford to lose -- captain Michael Clarke -- is in doubt for tomorrow's one-day game against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Australia's plans were thrown into disarray after Clarke rolled his ankle at training this morning during a simple fielding drill and was carried from the ground.

Tasmanian batsman George Bailey, who will lead the side in his first home game should Clarke fail to play, spoke at the captain's pre-game press conference today while Clarke was off having scans.

"Obviously he'll be given right up to the toss tomorrow to prove he's right to go," Bailey said.

"Hopefully that scan will be clear and there will obviously be a little bit of pain. But if he's 100 per cent, he'll be right to play."

With no other specialist batsmen in the 13-man squad, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell may have to come into the team to replace Clarke if the captain is unable to take his place -- unless selectors decide to fly in another batsman, most likely Usman Khawaja.

"Once again, I'm not entirely sure yet. No doubt the selectors will sort all that out," Bailey said.

"Hopefully the scan comes back clear and best case scenario Pup still plays."

Australia's top-order batting has struggled in the past three 50-over games and can ill afford to lose its best batsman.

With Sunday's game in Sydney abandoned because of a wet outfield, Australia can only tie the series 2-2 with Sri Lanka with a win in Hobart tomorrow.

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Tragic start to 2013 toll

The fatal collision on the Bass Highway at Prospect between a car and cattle truck. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN

AN American woman, 68, died yesterday morning after the car in which she was a passenger and a prime mover collided on the Bass Highway.

The woman, from New York, was rushed to the Launceston General Hospital but died soon after arrival.

She was the first person to die on Tasmania's roads this year.

The 71-year-old woman driving the Hyundai sedan and a man, 70, both from St Helens, were taken to the Launceston General Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The 69-year-old driver of the fully laden cattle truck was not injured in the crash, which occurred about 2km west of the Westbury Rd overpass near Travellers Rest.

Constable Nigel Housego said it appeared the Hyundai had been in the left lane of the dual lane highway heading west about 8.48am.

Constable Housego said he believed the sedan travelled into the right lane after the driver attempted to find a place to do a U-turn.

The truck is believed to have struck the rear of the Hyundai and shunted it over a culvert on to the median strip.

The truck travelled another 80m before the driver could stop it.

"It looks as though the truck driver has not had much of a chance to react but he braked before the impact," Constable Housego said.

He said it appeared the driver of the sedan had not seen the truck.

"Excessive speed does not seem to have been a factor."

There was luggage in the vehicle and police believe the tourist may have been going home.

Police closed the west-bound lanes of the Bass Highway for five hours and diverted traffic onto the Meander Valley Highway.

Police have asked any witnesses to contact Northern Crash Investigation Services on 6336 3936 or 6336 3701.

The road toll of one death is the same as it was for the same period last year.


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Sailor tells of 'miracle' rescue

THE French yachtsman rescued by an Australian ship from the Southern Ocean says it's a miracle he's been given a second chance at life.

Alain Delord spent three days in a life raft before being rescued by Antarctic cruise ship Orion on Sunday night about 500 nautical miles southeast of Tasmania.

His yacht, the Tchouk Tchouk Nougat, was dismasted and suffered hull damage in the Southern Ocean last week on its round-the-world voyage.

"It's a second chance at life," he told reporters through a translator after arriving in Hobart on board the Orion today.

"It's a miracle the Orion was on the way back."

"You always hope for the best."

Mr Delord said it had been more than three months since he had left home and his confidence in his vessel had grown.

"(I had) already travelled half-way across the world," he said through the translator.

"And then (I) hit bad weather with 60-70 knot winds and by then (I) was in the centre of the depression."

Delord described himself as "pretty lucky" to escape the ordeal with only a few bruises, scratches and swollen hands.

"When first contact happens you know someone's aware and you feel much better," Mr Delord said.

"You're hoping for life and for someone to come and rescue you."

He thanked his rescuers, saying "merci" several times.

"Thank you to the Australian maritime authorities and thank you to Orion," he said through the translator.

Orion's captain Mike Taylor said the ship had taken three days to reach Mr Delord once the alarm was raised with maritime safety authorities.

Once the ship arrived, rescue conditions were very difficult.

The crew had only 20 minutes of daylight to pull Delord from the water after reaching him at 9pm -- three hours later than Capt Taylor had hoped.

"Once we got there it was touch and go," Capt Taylor said.

"Visibility was very very bad."

"The problem with that, of course, is that the sun sets at 2120 (9.20pm) and although you've got a little bit of twilight you're really under the gun to effect the rescue while you've still got daylight.

"It's not the kind of thing you can do in the hours of darkness.

"My heart was really in my mouth."

The Orion arrived at Hobart's Macquarie Wharf just after 9am today. The ship's 100 passengers crowded the front deck as it docked in front of a small crowd and large media contingent.

Customs, immigration and French consular officials arrived soon after and boarded the vessel.

Mr Delord lost his personal belongings, including his passport, and new documents had to be organised before he could disembark.

He is expected to remain in Hobart tonight before travelling to Canberra to visit the French Embassy.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury

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Man accused of child bashing

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 21 Januari 2013 | 19.55

POLICE have charged a Chigwell man over a serious attack on a two-year-old child.

The 35-year-old appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court this morning on one count of causing grievous bodily harm.

He was charged on Friday and remanded in custody.

Police were contacted after the toddler was admitted to the Royal Hobart Hospital last Tuesday with injuries allegedly including a fractured leg, ribs, and shoulder and bruising to the body.

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Gas scare sparks evacuation

A SUSPECTED gas leak caused the evacuation of a shopping complex in Hobart's CBD this morning.

The strong smell of gas in the Wellington Centre, in Argyle St, was reported to authorities about 9.15am.

Tasmania Fire Service crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the building to determine the source of the smell after Woolworths customers and staff, as well as diners and shoppers on the ground level, were told to leave the building.

Staff and shoppers were allowed to return to the centre about 11.15am.

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Farewell for fallen firefighter

MOURNERS gathered in Victoria's east today to farewell firefighter Peter Cramer, who died while helping to tackle bushfires in Tasmania.

Mr Cramer, 61, was a Department of Sustainability and Environment firefighter and CFA volunteer from Tyers in Gippsland.

He was part of a contingent of more than 70 Victorian emergency services workers sent to Tasmania to help fight the state's devastating fires.

Mr Cramer died on January 13 near Taranna, in the state's south-east, while working on foot to identify potential containment lines on the southern boundary of the Forcett fire about 3km from the active fire edge.

Mourners filled the Latrobe Valley Funeral Services Chapel in Traralgon for his farewell this afternoon.

Premier Ted Baillieu and senior representatives from the fire services were also expected to attend.

Family spokesman Richard Teychenne told reporters that Mr Cramer was a great bloke and a dedicated family man who was passionate about his work.

"He leaves a legacy of fire knowledge with a new generation of firefighters and a huge gap in the lives of those who knew him," Mr Teychenne said.

"His larrikin charm and his great sense of humour brought a smile to many faces, in good and in testing times.

"He died doing what he loved most -- working on fires, working in the bush and, most of all, helping others."

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Wild waves prompt move

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 20 Januari 2013 | 19.55

FRONT-ROW POSITION: A young boy watches the Clifton Beach and Penguin crews compete. Pictures: LUKE BOWDEN

A SURF boat competition was moved to the calmer waters of Primrose Sands yesterday, with wind gusts and two- to three-metres swells ruling out Carlton Park.

Round two of the Navy Surf Boat series was hotly contested by 17 crews from around Tasmania.

North-West crews performed strongly in the men's finals, with the Burnie Pollutants winning the A Boat final, and the Penguin Old Boys winning the B Boat final.

With the move from Carlton Park to Primrose Sands made for safety reasons, conditions at Primrose were still challenging.

A tricky three-foot shore break resulted in some minor injuries to competitors.

In the women's final the Clifton Beach Krakens finished first.

Valuable points for the series were on the line in yesterday's event, as well as the right to represent Tasmania at the national surf boat event at Stockton in New South Wales on February 8.

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Exciting field to contest Cup

TODAY'S Elwick meeting in Hobart is a must-attend event for punters, with eight small but select races on the card, including the $90,000 Betfair Hobart Guineas (2100m) and the $25,000 Betfair Summer Cup (2100m).

The Summer Cup has attracted nine starters, including last year's Hobart Cup winner Geegees Blackflash (Peter Mertens), Bendigo Cup winner from 2010 and 2011 Devonport Cup winner Dream Quest (Craig Newitt), exciting front-running stayer The Cleaner, and 2012 Launceston Cup winner Prevailing.

Throw into the mix the 2012 Mornington Cup winner Norsqui (Bulent Muhcu), recent Devonport Cup winner Fieldmaster (Michelle Payne) and capable stayers Catwen Boy (Shuji Amano), Royal Miswaki (Kim Moore) and stablemate Temajim (Anthony Darmanin), who was luckless in the Devonport Cup, and we have a race that has excitement written all over it.

Grand campaigner Norsqui has his eyes set on next month's Hobart Cup and heads into today's race having had one start back from a spell.

The Walter McShane-trained gelding will appreciate another run or two under his belt. However, he is certainly heading in the right direction, according to Brendan McShane.

"The 2100 metres is probably too short against this quality line-up, but dad [Walter] and I were pleased with his first-up effort," McShane said.

"He's tightened up since his last race almost three weeks ago and he is nearing his ideal race weight.

"History shows that he needs a few runs before he's spot-on, and he's likely to contest the Weight-For-Age Jockey Club Cup [2200m] at Elwick after this race, then on to the Hobart Cup."

McShane will saddle up Keep The Cash (Bulent Muhcu) in the Hobart Guineas and admits that this race will be a test for all horses.

"He's done extremely well since his last start in the Tasmanian Guineas [1600m] and looks very well," McShane said.

"This will be a good test to see if he can stay, and the same can be said for every horse in the race as they are all in the same boat. He does relax well in his races, which will help his cause."

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At last Daniels burns

FRONTRUNNER: Mitch Daniels, brother of 3000m champion Mel, on his way to victory in the 800m in Hobart yesterday. Picture: ANITA WELSH

AUSTRALIAN 3000m champion Mel Daniels has hit form at the right time of the season with an impressive run at the Domain over 3000m yesterday.

On a day that had many athletes competing at various venues around the country, Daniels was the standout on the track.

Daniels hasn't set the world on fire this season since running a half-marathon in Singapore in November, but yesterday's run of 9min 37.23 sec was her best of the season.

Her brother Mitch was also in winning form, frontrunning the 800m to victory in 1min 55.37sec, ahead of evergreen masters athlete Stephen Rae, who just dipped under 2min.

Making his debut over 400m was former national under-14 sprint champion Russell Taib.

Now under the guidance of coach Damian Lawler, the teenager was aiming to run 54 seconds, but in the end was outstanding with 51.09sec.

In the field, Eastern Suburbs thrower Rebecca Direen was the best performer. The softly spoken powerhouse threw the shot put 13.63m to easily surpass the national open qualifying mark and set a new personal best in the process.

Southern Saints thrower Anita Millington returned to the track, showing she still has what it takes to throw national qualifiers, by sending the 4kg hammer 44.61m. The competition was taken out by world junior representative Danni McConnell, who threw 53.80m.

Relays were conducted over 4 x 200m, with Eastern Suburbs winning the men's and Northern Suburbs taking out the women's.

In Sydney, at the Australian Youth Olympics Festival, Tasmania has won a medal of each colour on day one of the track and field competition.

It began in the men's 1500m with Hugh Nicklason winning gold, with a new meet record of 3min 54.11sec.

Nicklason finished one place ahead of Jonas Aranda by a full second, with Brazilian Weverton Fidelis third.

In the men's 100m Sandy Bay's Jesse Usoalii scorched home to secure the silver medal.

His time of 11.07sec wasn't the quickest in his career, but it was impressive into a 1.2m headwind and enough to place him in front of the best juniors from China, New Zealand and Brazil.

Continuing the medal winning form on the track was Ulverstone's Kale Adams.

After winning a national medal in Hobart last month, he now has an Olympic youth bronze medal after running 6min 14.90sec in the 2000m steeplechase.

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