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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 [1]

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 [2]

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 [3]

David Honke did not get a title
David Honke [4]

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 [5]

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 [6]

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 [7]

Near the end of the interview, and in a different location, we finally see the face of Guy Sweeting.
Guy Sweeting [8]

Tony Campbell then did a “phantom call” of the race.
Tony Campbell [9]

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 [10]

We then saw One Time having a bit of a roll in the sand.
One Time [11]

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 [12]

Julie Nehme appeared again, this time with Fashions On The Field
Julie Nehme [13]
Fashions On The Field [14]

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 [15]

David Honke then had a chat with local bookmaker Roger Norton, who has been at every Black Opal.
David Honke and Roger Norton [16]

He even got a title of “Bookmaker”
Roger Norton, Bookmaker [17]

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 [18]
Ted Doon [19]

David and Ted did a rerace, won by Ted
1973 Black Opal rerace [20]

And the photo finish from 1973
1973 Black Opal Photo Finish [21]

We got to see the crowd quite a few times, and it looked like a good turnout.
The crowd at the 2006 Black Opal [22]

Mike Frame had a chat with Gary Buchanan of the Canberra Racing Club about the training pool.
Gary Buchanan and Mike Frame [23]

And a horse in the training pool.
Horse in training pool [24]

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 [25]

Next up was Kevin Sweeney, who has been involved in every Black Opal since the first. Guy Sweeting did this inerview.
Kevin Sweeney [26]
The horses enjoy Kevin’s company by the looks of it.
A horse with Kevin Sweeney [27]

Then it was time to cross to Mike Frame in the bettin ring to tell us who the punters thought would win.
Mike Frame [28]

Alison’s hat decoration managed to move the netting a few times
Alison Drower [29]

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 [30]

Simon Dearing checked with the racegoers who they thought was going to win
Simon Dearing with racegoers [31]

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 [32]

They appeared to have fun too
Mike Frame, Alison Drower and David Honke having fun [33]

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 [34]

The all important race list was shown
Horses in the 2006 Black Opal [35]

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 [36]

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 [37]

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 [38]

“They’re off in the Black Opal”
2006 Black Opal underway [39]

They were pretty spread out through the back straight.
2006 Black Opal in motion [40]

Coming around the home turn
2006 Black Opal at the home turn [41]

With 200m to go One Time is in the lead
One Time leads the 2006 Black Opal with 200m to go [42]

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 [43]

Down The Wicket wins the 2006 Black Opal, followed closely by One Time and Luvuleo
Down The Wicket wins the 2006 Black Opal [44]

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 [45]

A race replay while we wait.
Race Replay [46]

Alison tears up her non-winning ticket.
Alison Drower tears up her 2006 Black Opal ticket in front of Mike Frame and David Honke [47]

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 [48]

There was some post race analysis with Mike, Alison and David.
Mike Frame, Alison Drower and David Honke [49]

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 [50]

Alison informed us that Sky didn’t provide an interview.
Alison Drower [51]

And that it is time to say goodbye.
Alison Drower [52]

It was then time for the extensive credits, and the Southern Cross Ten logo, before they returned to pre-recorded programming.
Southern Cross Ten [53]

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 [54] 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.)

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Comments Disabled To "Well done Southern Cross Ten on your coverage of the 2006 Black Opal!"

#1 Comment By lucylou On March 24, 2006 @ 5:19 pm


I found a great job for you: [59]

#2 Comment By Chuck A. Spear On March 25, 2006 @ 2:36 am

I could not ascertain any information about Southern Cross Ten’s coverage of the 2006 Balck Opel. More detail needed next time.

#3 Comment By heatseeker On March 25, 2006 @ 9:20 am

How come everyone associated with horse racing looks like a pimp or a dodgy used car dealer?

Animal cruelty inflicted by organised criminals!

Have a look at Australia’s “First Family” of racing … Robbie Waterhouse – he of the Fine Cotton scandal – is banned from every race track in the world and Gai, well, Samuel’s rather sensitive about defamation laws …

Good round up of the coverage though Samuel … have you ever considered you are obsessive compulsive?

#4 Comment By Samuel On March 25, 2006 @ 10:59 am

Well Chuck, I wasn’t trying to give you a moment-by-moment picturesque transcript of the event, on the contrary I was merely highlighting the fact that Southern Cross Ten did a very good job, and that their initiative should be rewarded.

Heatseeker, Robbie Waterhouse is banned for what I would call “naughtyness”, it’s not fair to tar everyone else with the same brush.

#5 Comment By Chuck A. Spear On March 26, 2006 @ 4:04 am

Robbie is not the messiah. He is a very naughty boy!

After being banned for twenty years from the track, I would put his subsequent tax evasion, money laundering, giving misleading evidence, conduct prejudicial to the interests of racing and providing extavagant odds down to him being just plain mischievous.

I have it on good authority that Robbie and Joe Korp were best friends and it was Joe’s idea to swap the horses after a night around at Robbie and Gai’s with Maria Korp.

A very naughty night that one was.

#6 Comment By heatseeker On March 26, 2006 @ 11:02 am

Yeah, and how about Gai’s laughable excuse as to how one of her horses came to have half a kilo of cocaine in its system … one of her strappers must have got some on his hands when visiting a Sydney pub where the substance is used in copious amounts!

But, again, take a look at those people from the “racing industry” which Samuel has provided … they look like characters from the Sopranos!

A very dodgy industry which tries to give itself a veneer of glamour and credibility through events such as this and the otherwise excellent coverage from Southern Cross Ten.

Oh, and in media terms a “colourful racing identity” is generally a moniker applied to people you’d really like to call criminal, but libel laws prevent you from doing so … and all of those people look very “colourful” indeed!

#7 Comment By Samuel On March 26, 2006 @ 11:31 am

I can’t imagine why anyone would purposefully give a horse cocaine…and would it really survive half a kilo of the stuff?

Anyway heatseeker, you’re entitled to your opinion…I just don’t agree with it.

Moving right along, I think in the case of Mike Frame, “colourful racing identity” means that he is entertaining and knows a bit about the races.

#8 Comment By cunninglinguist On March 26, 2006 @ 11:52 am

Ah, the power the media has to deceive people.

#9 Comment By heatseeker On March 26, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

Yes Chuck, I too heard about that night .. quite a bit of swapping going on indeed, and plenty of mischief!

#10 Comment By heatseeker On March 27, 2006 @ 11:49 am

Ahhhh, it seems Simon Deering is indeed a “colourful personality:

From Sydney Confidential
July 26, 2005
BIG Brother evictee Hotdogs justified his nickname at the weekend after allegedly being caught with his pants down outside a nightclub.

Security cameras caught a woman performing oral sex on the former housemate – real name Simon Deering – in the street during a Big Brother eviction party in Cairns on Sunday night.
Hotdogs, who spent most of the night in police custody, fled the city yesterday, insisting the incident had been blown out of proportion – and that he had merely been urinating in an alley.

But Cairns police tell a different story – and the location was actually the busy nightclub area’s median strip.

“It was highly visible – it wasn’t down a dark alley,” a police spokesman said.

West Australian Hotdogs, 27, who was in Cairns to host the bash at Gilligan’s Backpackers Hotel Resort, issued a grovelling apology yesterday, claiming he went outside to go to the toilet.

“I am embarrassed and ashamed to confirm that I was charged overnight in Cairns for public nuisance and released on $100 bail this morning,” Hotdogs said.

“Following a guest appearance, I partied too hard and made the mistake of urinating in a public place.

“I allowed the rollercoaster ride of the past few weeks to affect my behaviour and I apologise for any hurt and embarrassment I may have caused.”

Police said Hotdogs and a 22-year-old woman were charged with creating a public nuisance after allegedly committing the “indecent act”.

Another 23-year-old woman was also charged with obstructing police.

Channel 10 declined to comment, saying Hotdogs was no longer affiliated with it.

But a Big Brother source said: “Where is the crime in that? Anyone who’s watched the show knows full-well he’s got a healthy appetite for women.”


#11 Comment By John B1_B5 On March 27, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

All those “entities” in the above photos may now go and drop a heavy rock on their head, and that includes our “Mutual Friend” Mike Frame .

#12 Comment By heatseeker On March 27, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

I have to admit, I didn’t recognise Hotdogs Deering without his underpants on his head …

#13 Comment By Samuel On March 28, 2006 @ 7:27 am

Hmmm, I must say I didn’t expect this line of comments. I have nothing against the horse racing industry or the people who cover it in the media. I think Southern Cross Ten did a fantastic job overall, and should be commended for having a live outside broadcast.

#14 Comment By John B1_B5 On March 28, 2006 @ 8:09 am

Obviously I was only JOKING about “dropping rocks on heads” .

#15 Comment By heatseeker On March 28, 2006 @ 8:35 am

That the racing industry is corrupt and cruel is well documented, and I was only relating a factual incident, which was subsequently proven to be true in a court of law, regarding “Hotdogs” Deering.

Yes, I agree Southern Cross Ten did a great job, especially given their miniscule budget, I’m just expressing my view that horse racing is a repugnant industry overseen by many, many repugnant people.

You’ve got to take off those rose coloured glasses Sammy … scratch the surface and see what lurks beneath – that is journalism …