Archive for March 24th, 2006

Well done Southern Cross Ten on your coverage of the 2006 Black Opal!

Last Sunday was Black Opal day, the feature day of the Canberra horse racing calendar. Southern Cross Ten were broadcasting live from Canberra’s race track, Thoroughbred Park.

This is something which should be commended as it shows as comittment to local television and the local community, as well as setting an example for the other local stations which haven’t ventured out of the studios for a live broadcast since…well…I don’t think living memory goes back that far. A live broadcast of a sporting event is no easy task, especially for a station that hasn’t done anything like it since stopping live local news bulletins from a studio about five years ago.

Anyway, the coverage got underway at 2:30pm
Black Opal coverage

Our host was Alison Drower (rhymes with “grower”), who appeared to be in front of a green screen, with the background footage superimposed. The studio was probably up in a corporate box somewhere, and I don’t know why they stuck the netting there, but they did, and it made for an interesting background.
Alison Drower

On 2CC that morning, Mike Frame announced that he would be part of the coverage, adding “colourful local racing personality” to his business card on top of “2CC’s Classic Aussie” and various other titles. This got me thinking…what titles would people get? Mike Frame appeared, with Ex-Fill In Prime TV Weatherman David Honke (pronounced Honk-EE).
Mike Frame and David Honke

David Honke did not get a title
David Honke

Despite hiring Mike as a “colourful local racing personality”, they gave him the easier to fit on to the captions “Racing Commentator”. It is worthwhile pointing out that Mike worked for SSS FM, Canberra’s old ACTTAB funded community racing station, and former inhabitant of 103.9MHz, long before News Radio moved in from their old 1440KHz (AM).
Mike Frame

Mike and David spent a bit of time talking, before we went to Simon Dearing and Julie Nehme, the fashion and crowd reporters for the day. They started off in a bad for TV shaded area next to a sunny area.
Simon Dearing and Julie Nehme

Later on we saw ex-2CC newsreader Guy Sweeting talking with Canberra race caller Tony Campbell about the history of the Black Opal and what will happen today.
Tony Campbell

Near the end of the interview, and in a different location, we finally see the face of Guy Sweeting.
Guy Sweeting

Tony Campbell then did a “phantom call” of the race.
Tony Campbell

Mike Frame appeared again, interviewing Gratz Vella, the trainer of One Time, a horse running in the Black Opal
Mike Frame and Gratz Vella, trainer of One Time

We then saw One Time having a bit of a roll in the sand.
One Time

The first studio guest was Camille Ducker, head of Fashion and Design at CIT, mildly eccentric, but great fun to interview…or so it seemed.
Alison Drower and Camille Ducker

Julie Nehme appeared again, this time with Fashions On The Field
Julie Nehme
Fashions On The Field

Simon Dearing then went to the opposite extreme and found the people who were looking somewhat odd for the day.
Simon Dearing and somebody looking odd

David Honke then had a chat with local bookmaker Roger Norton, who has been at every Black Opal.
David Honke and Roger Norton

He even got a title of “Bookmaker”
Roger Norton, Bookmaker

David Honke then had a very interesting chat with Ted Doon, the jockey who came second in the inaugural Black Opal of 1973. This is an interesting story because it came down to a photo finish, and apparently an earthquake a week beforehand had moved the photo finish camera slightly out of allignment, and cost him the race…according to him.
Ted Doon and David Honke
Ted Doon

David and Ted did a rerace, won by Ted
1973 Black Opal rerace

And the photo finish from 1973
1973 Black Opal Photo Finish

We got to see the crowd quite a few times, and it looked like a good turnout.
The crowd at the 2006 Black Opal

Mike Frame had a chat with Gary Buchanan of the Canberra Racing Club about the training pool.
Gary Buchanan and Mike Frame

And a horse in the training pool.
Horse in training pool

Alison then had another studio guest, this time a short interview with John Crommie, Manager of AAMI Insurance in the ACT/Regional NSW area. This mainly involved their reasons for sponsoring the Black Opal.
Alison Drower and John Crommie

Next up was Kevin Sweeney, who has been involved in every Black Opal since the first. Guy Sweeting did this inerview.
Kevin Sweeney
The horses enjoy Kevin’s company by the looks of it.
A horse with Kevin Sweeney

Then it was time to cross to Mike Frame in the bettin ring to tell us who the punters thought would win.
Mike Frame

Alison’s hat decoration managed to move the netting a few times
Alison Drower

We headed back to Julie Nehme who had Trish Hanrahan telling us about the winners of Fashion In The Fields. Apparently we saw the winners briefly…but it was that brief that it could have been anyone.
Julie Nehme and Trish Hanrahan

Simon Dearing checked with the racegoers who they thought was going to win
Simon Dearing with racegoers

Then it was time to head back to the studio, where Mike, Alison and David conducted an in depth look at the race
Mike Frame, Alison Drower and David Honke

They appeared to have fun too
Mike Frame, Alison Drower and David Honke having fun

The analysis continued as the Sky Channel footage started to roll in and ruin the lovely green oasis images which Southern Cross Ten had been producing all day.
Horse going into Canberra Barrier

The all important race list was shown
Horses in the 2006 Black Opal

Now bored of watching Sky footage of horses slowly entering the barrier with no race caller, we went back to the studio
Mike Frame, Alison Drower and david Honke waiting for a race caller

Race Caller Ian Craig appeared, and Sky footage returned to the broadcast, but the barrier attendants had to push a horse into the barrier, it didn’t want to budge for a while though.
Barrier Attendants attend to a horse at the 2006 Black Opal

Finally the race was ready to go with light flashing and Ian Craig ready for the 1200m Black Opal. The Cyclist at top right made it just in time for the race and television coverage, arriving just moments before this picture.
2006 Black Opal ready to run

“They’re off in the Black Opal”
2006 Black Opal underway

They were pretty spread out through the back straight.
2006 Black Opal in motion

Coming around the home turn
2006 Black Opal at the home turn

With 200m to go One Time is in the lead
One Time leads the 2006 Black Opal with 200m to go

With 100m to go Down The Wicket is flying up the outside
Down The Wicket catching up with 100m to go in the 2006 Black Opal

Down The Wicket wins the 2006 Black Opal, followed closely by One Time and Luvuleo
Down The Wicket wins the 2006 Black Opal

Back to the studio with Mike, Alison and David while we wait for Sky’s interview with the jockey.
Mike Frame, Alison Drower and David Honke

A race replay while we wait.
Race Replay

Alison tears up her non-winning ticket.
Alison Drower tears up her 2006 Black Opal ticket in front of Mike Frame and David Honke

According to the ACTTAB race board’s offical results display, the first six horses were 8 (Down The Wicket), 7(One Time), 2(Luvuleo), 4(Solar Mighty), 14(Ellas Bar), 9(Navaho Trail). Down The Wicket ran a time of 1 minute, 9.94 seconds, with the last 600m taking up 35.84 seconds. Down The Wicket beat One Time by a long neck, and One Time beat Luvuleo by 1 length. The track was good.
Official Results of the 2006 Black Opal

There was some post race analysis with Mike, Alison and David.
Mike Frame, Alison Drower and David Honke

Unlike Mike Frame, Julie Nehme tipped the horse Mike said would win, and it did. Simon wasn’t so lucky.
Julie Nehme and Simon Dearing

Alison informed us that Sky didn’t provide an interview.
Alison Drower

And that it is time to say goodbye.
Alison Drower

It was then time for the extensive credits, and the Southern Cross Ten logo, before they returned to pre-recorded programming.
Southern Cross Ten

Well done Southern Cross Ten, you did a fantastic job, and let’s hope that more of these “live and local” events occur. It is good to see that regional television is still alive and kicking. Well done to all involved!

For the record, the ACTTAB dividends were as follows:
8. Down The Wicket: Win $35.10, Place $7.00
7. One Time: Place $7.30
2. Luvuleo: Place $2.60
Quinella 8-7: $325.40
Trifecta 8-7-2: $9830.10
Exacta 8-7: $1102.80
Running Double 6-8: $341.90
Scratchings: 3-6-17-18


(Update: It would appear that Southern Cross Ten misspelled Simon Deering’s name, and I did too as I based my spelling of names on their spelling of names. Sorry about that.)

15 comments March 24th, 2006 at 03:30pm

CIT Student Association Fees Illegal? CIT Officials Secretly Think So

I could have been certain that I’ve written about CIT charging “Student Association” fees, how horribly wrong it is, and how it should be illegal under VSU (Voluntary Student Unionism) before, but I can’t find any record of it, so I’ll provide some background.

CIT (Canberra Institute of Technology, for those of you who have been wondering) has a student union called “CITSA”, or “Canberra Institute of Technology Student Association”, they also charge all students a compulsory CITSA fee, without forcing anybody to join CITSA. From memory, this fee is around $60. I can’t remember the exact details of the VSU legislation which was passed by parliament last year, but I know that students are no longer allowed to be forced into a student union, the thing I’m not 100% sure about is if educational institutions are allowed to charge a student union fee, I think they can’t, and I’m 95% sure that they can’t, but as I said, I can’t recall the exact details of VSU.

If, for some strange reason, VSU does not cover this, then it is an outrageous loophole, and one the legal teams who drafted the VSU legislation should have picked up on very early in the piece. VSU is very important as it means I don’t have to be a part, by connection, of some strange angry chanting mob taking over Civic with five dozen different campaigns at once, most of which I would disagree with. I would be more than happy to pay a bit extra for food or drink in exchange for not giving a student association a lump sum every six months.

On this topic, I overheard some CIT (possibly CITSA) officials talking in Cafe Yala the other day. Whilst I didn’t catch every word, and didn’t want to appear to be eavesdropping, I did get most of it, and the basic message of their conversation was:

  • CIT is the only educational institution in the country to charge a compulsory student union fee
  • The legality of it is unclear, and if possible would only be through a loophole
  • They have already received at least one complaint by phone
  • One complaint to a federal MP would probably be enough to bring the whole sordid little scheme crashing down

The officials in question saw me standing there near them waiting for my coffee, looking somewhat distant and focussed. It is surprising that they had that conversation at a reasonable volume in public and in front of, when I am known to carry a recording device with me, especially during lectures. The fact that I appeared to be concentrating on something else does not alter this, as I was nearby for plenty of time before I looked like I was concentrating on anything.

It is a pity that I didn’t turn on my digital notetaker as I would have loved to record that conversation, alas it didn’t really last long enough, and I didn’t want to scare them off by searching through my bag for any length of time, which would probably have made it harder for me to hear the conversation anyway.


5 comments March 24th, 2006 at 08:00am

Samuel’s Footy Tips

Let’s see if I can beat last week’s score of 4/7…a score of 6/7 would get my total score over 50%!

Knights V Bulldogs
Tigers V Warriors
Sea Eagles V Sharks
Cowboys V Storm
Rabbitohs V Dragons
Broncos V Eels
Roosters V Raiders


3 comments March 24th, 2006 at 07:25am


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