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Snowden puts Ramornie on radar for Sessions

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

The Melbourne spring is in the future for Sessions, but the Ramornie Handicap on July 10 is the present after he returned from a twisted testicle injury in emphatic fashion at Rosehill on Saturday.
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Darley has kept the three-year-old a colt, despite having to surgically remove a testicle following his summer campaign. It shows faith in him and his ability.

Sessions took his record to four wins from six starts after roaring down the centre of the track to score by 1 ¾ lengths from Agent, with Golden Sunshine another three-quarters of a length back in third. But, in essence, there was no match for Sessions.

“We have to look at a race like the Ramornie for him now because there is nothing else there for him at this time of year, at stakes level,” trainer Peter Snowden said. “We need to get his rating up because we think he is up to better races.

“If he is going to race in the Melbourne spring, it’s going to be a total waste of time going there as an 80-rater because he simply wouldn’t get a start. The Ramornie gives him the chance to lift his rating. He is just a really hard horse to place at this time of year.”

Snowden will make his decision in the next week but has to think about what is the best way to go with the son of Lonhro, which has a future at stud in the offing. “He is a big, gross colt and he needs to keep going but there is an option to stop and come back early in the spring,” he said.

“It is a tough one because he has a stallion pedigree and I think he can be competitive in the bigger races.

“The Ramornie means we can keep him in work, while the other way he would have a short break. I’m mindful that he has just had six months [off] and starting and stopping again might not be the best for him.”

Kerrin McEvoy camped midfield on Sessions, then eased him to the centre of the track where he bolted away after getting in the clear. “After the run he had, you wanted to see him do that,” McEvoy said. ”When he relaxes he has a helluva turn of foot and we have to get his rating up to get into the better races in the spring.”

Snowden fulfilled an ambition by winning the Ramornie with Pinwheel a couple of years ago but if Sessions heads to Grafton it will only be McEvoy’s second trip to the track.

“I think I have ridden there once before, but [Sessions] would be worth going back for,” McEvoy said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Smerdon confident a new spring has returned to jumps racing

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Robert Smerdon has forgotten more about jumps racing than most of his rival trainers know.
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Several top-liners have passed through Smerdon’s hands, including Zabenz (which subsequently campaigned successfully in the US and England) and champion Black And Bent, with which he has established a new Australian record of 10 consecutive wins over jumps.

Smerdon saddles Black And Bent and highly regarded stablemate Brungle Cry in the $100,000 Brendan Drechsler Hurdle at Bendigo on Sunday and the Caulfield trainer, who did so much to keep jumps racing viable during its recent dark days, says Australian steeplechasing and hurdling have never looked to have more potential than now.

For so long it was difficult to persuade owners to jump horses, such was their concern over the loud campaign of the anti-jumps protesters and the opposition of the Labor government. But now, says Smerdon, ”it’s not quite, but it’s bordering on, trendy to have a jumper,” such has been the scale of the rehabilitation of the sport. Much of that, he says, is due to the support of Premier and Racing Minister Denis Napthine, who has always backed the jumping fraternity even in its darkest days.

”It’s like a lot of things in racing, you make a decision, and it usually takes two or three years for it to work through,” he said. ”The decisions made a couple of years ago to improve the sport and make it safer have started to bear fruit. I think it’s in the best position it’s been in for a long time, not just in its current position but going forward.”

All racing carries risk, and with jumpers the risk is obviously higher. There will inevitably be fatalities, and the euthanising of Reckless Rat at Warrnambool last week brought the number of fatalities this season so far to two.

But proponents argue the improved safety measures, the insistence on tougher schooling provisions, the importation of highly skilled Irish riders and the better class of horse now going jumping – different to the old days when old and battered stayers too slow to run on the flat were put over obstacles – are all starting to have an impact. While a 100 per cent safety record can never be assured, as much as possible is being done to remove risk.

”If you look at when Black And Bent began jumping as a late three-year-old [in the autumn and winter of 2010] we extended his season because I was worried there might not really be any future for him,” Smerdon said. ”But the support from the current government was the turning point, and the checks and balances Racing Victoria put in place have also been effective, constantly reviewing the horses, their races, their performances and the riders.

”There were a stack of horses at the Werribee trials a couple of weeks ago and that’s when I felt that things were really starting to change and it could be taking off again.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Nothing like success for happy connections

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Concreter and breeder Sam Gallo couldn’t hide his emotions when he watched the horse he raised ”since he was a baby” win at Rosehill on Saturday. Gallo bred Nothing Like Luca, whose mother died when he was six months old, and named the horse after his grandson. Nothing Like Luca held off the fast-finishing Disciple to win by a short head and send connections into raptures. ”This is big, I’ve been coming to the races for eight years and he’s the greatest,” Gallo said. ”I bred him and raised him since he was a baby.” Nothing Like Luca gave Nash Rawiller a treble after Koroibete and Relaxed And Happy had won for him earlier. ”He really pulled out all stops in the last 50 metres and it was a great effort,” Rawiller said. ”I sat off the high speed and I tried to suck it up as long as I could and I was filthy when I had to come off McClintock’s back before straightening, but he did a good job.”
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Rawiller believes Koroibete has a bright future once he works out what he is doing on a racetrack. Despite his shortcomings in maturity and copping a whack with the whip of another runner, Koroibete proved too good for juvenile rivals in the opener at Rosehill. ”Coming to the turn he felt like he would win by three lengths, he was going that well,” Rawiller said. ”He copped it over the head and it put him off his game for 50m. He didn’t really know what he was doing but he got the job done.” Koroibete had a half-length to spare from Amovatio and Pit Boss but there could be more in store once he learns some racing manners. ”He did a few things wrong at the barriers and he did not jump very cleanly as a consequence of that but who knows, he might be hopefully winning the Derby in eight months’ time,” Rawiller said.


Masahiko, named after legendary boxer Fighting Harada, caused an upset as favourite Darciwood flopped at Rosehill on Saturday. The Gai Waterhouse-trained three-year-old won by a long neck from Hunter Jack, but it was the poor performance of Darciwood that left punters, who had backed him from $3.10 to $2.60, and stewards asking questions. Apprentice Shaun Guymer said he was surprised how quickly Darciwood stopped after leading to the turn with Masahiko on his outside. ”With time and maturity he’ll come back underneath me but at this stage he just wants to get out and get running,” Guymer said. ”At the turn he felt strong and I was quite surprised with how quick he stopped. I put it down to going that little bit too hard in the run.”


Racing NSW chairman of stewards Ray Murrihy gave young hoop Adam Hyeronimus stern advice after his ride on Reuben Percival at Rosehill. Stewards questioned if Hyeronimus chose the right options in the straight with Murrihy calling his tactics ”terrible” as he went for a run between leader Zaratone and Calvo instead of hooking to the outside of eventual runner-up Mr Armstrong and following winner Said Com. ”You aimed to go up between two tiring horses, instead of going to the outside where a run is opening up,” Murrihy said. ”I didn’t even look to the outside at that time,” Hyeronimus replied. ”It was a 75-25 decision – you went for the weaker options when in hindsight there was a run to the outside,” Murrihy continued. ”Yeah,” Hyeronimus conceded. The decision cost Reuben Percival, which was finishing strongly, any chance of winning and he was beaten two lengths into fifth. ”You’re in the big time now trying to forge a name for yourself and you can’t be making blues like that,” Murrihy said. ”You’re far better going with horses that are going forward than ones coming back to you. It looked to be a terrible decision. You’ve got Mr Armstrong going forward and you tried to go through two tired horses.”


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Blues look to Merritt as injuries take their toll

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Nathan Merritt’s dreams of a long-awaited State of Origin call-up may become a reality as NSW deal with a fullback crisis heading into game two in Brisbane on June 26.
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Merritt has come into calculations as incumbent Jarryd Hayne and would-be fill-in Josh Dugan battle injuries. Michael Gordon had been pencilled in for a call-up had Hayne and Dugan failed fitness tests but he, too, is in doubt after missing Cronulla’s match against Parramatta with a calf injury on Saturday.

Merritt’s inclusion would see Brett Morris switched to fullback with the South Sydney flyer taking his place on the wing.

NSW are expected to pick an extended squad on Sunday as several stars battle injuries as they look to clinch the three-game series after beating Queensland 14-6 in Sydney. Of particular concern is the fullback position, with Hayne no certainty to play after starring in game one.

Hayne, who limped from Parramatta Stadium with a grade-one hamstring tear in his side’s loss to Sydney Roosters nine days ago, has been undergoing intense rehabilitation to get himself fit but there are doubts over how quickly he can recover and what presence he may have on the training paddock.

Dugan has been slated as the direct replacement for Hayne but he, too, is carrying an ankle injury and will have scans on Monday to assess the severity of the ongoing complaint. The St George Illawarra fullback has starred since making his debut at the Dragons in round 10 and Blues officials won’t hesitate to bring him into the squad.

But the concern is he, like Hayne, won’t spend much time on the training paddock. And without playing in the opening game, he needs more time with his new teammates.

The uncertainty surrounding Dugan, Hayne and Gordon plus Brett Stewart’s extended stint on the sideline with a back injury plus Anthony Minichiello pledging his

allegiance to Italy has left NSW in a panic. Newcastle’s Akuila Uate is another sidelined with a rib injury.

In other news, it is understood Tim Grant is the preferred replacement for Cowboys front-rower James Tamou, who has been suspended after drink-driving and driving without a licence charges.

But Grant, too, is in doubt as he recovers from a broken hand. While Grant has declared he’ll be fit for Origin II he hasn’t played since round 11 but featured in two games for NSW last year.

If he, too, is ruled out, either Aiden Tolman or Aaron Woods will make their NSW debuts with NSW coach Laurie Daley hesitant to interrupt an interchange bench that was so effective in the series opener.

Of less concern is hooker Robbie Farah who is confident he’ll be fit.

Back-rower Anthony Watmough also sent a shockwave through the Blues camp after limping from the field midway through the second half in Manly’s golden-point loss to Canterbury on Friday night.

Watmough’s corked leg will be monitored but Bulldogs centre Josh Morris isn’t in any doubt.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

White plots Brumbies win

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Brumbies coach Jake White is adamant his side can clinch the Super Rugby title this season. The Brumbies have secured a place in the finals for the first time since 2004 and will resume their season when they play the Western Force on July 13. But White has already begun plotting his team’s potential path through the Super Rugby finals, which includes lifting the trophy at Canberra Stadium. The former South African World Cup-winning coach predicted the Brumbies were capable of upsetting the British and Irish Lions and that the Lions could ”crumble” if they lost the opening Test in Brisbane.The finals
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The Brumbies will break a nine-year finals drought next month. They will play at least one finals match at home and can finish as high as first if results go their way over the next month. White wants his players to embrace the hype of the build-up. ”Every day I think about winning the title,” White said. ”There’s no use getting to the last corner of a 400 metre sprint and then slowing down. At this point in time we’ve got a ticket in this lottery, it’s about creating an opportunity. On their day, this team can beat anybody. Now the players are sensing that, they believe it and know if you put in the hard yards you get the rewards.”The slump

The Brumbies had to overcome a mid-season slump to get their campaign back on track. They won just three of eight games in the middle of the year. They secured a guaranteed play-off berth when they beat the Melbourne Rebels last weekend. ”You don’t get a prize for being the best Australian side – we’ve won nothing. I’ve got no doubt they’ve earned the respect. But now it’s an internal thing, the job’s not done. My goal is to put Brumbies rugby back to where it was, back to the glory days. The doubters will always be there. The drop off was always going to come, but it’s about how you get out of it. The boys felt the pressure, they heard the doubters, but they came out the other side.”Path to the title

The Brumbies won’t know their opponents in the finals until after their clash with the Force. If they finish first or second, they will get a week off before playing a home semi-final. White has already started mapping what’s required for the Brumbies to host the Super Rugby grand final at Canberra Stadium – and win. ”We’ll play the Cheetahs in the first week of finals. Then the Bulls in Pretoria and then the Crusaders in a final at home,” White predicted. ”That’s if everything goes the way form says it should go.”Taking on the Lions

The Brumbies’ depth will be tested when they line up against the Lions at Canberra Stadium on Tuesday night. It’s the last match in the Lions’ preparation for the first Test in Brisbane next weekend. The Brumbies will be without 12 players through injury and Wallabies duties. Twelve years ago a depleted Brumbies outfit went agonisingly close to stealing victory. They led 28-23 but the Lions scored a converted try in injury time to win the match. ”It’s a chance to put the Brumbies name in history,” White said. ”It’s sporting tales and folklore. The only people that have to believe we can win is us. Imagine if the Brumbies can turn the Lions over a week before the first Test, it will be talked about in Canberra for the rest of time.”The Tests

The Wallabies beat the Lions in the 2001 series with a victory in the third Test. This year their preparation has been overshadowed by the axing of Queensland five-eighth Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale’s return from alcohol rehabilitation and code-hopper Israel Folau’s impending debut. White was reluctant to be drawn on team selection and the type of game Wallabies coach Robbie Deans would play. But the South African World Cup-winning coach says the series will be decided in the first Test in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. ”It’s always tough to call a Lions series … in 2009 people were convinced that as world champions, the Springboks would pulverise the Lions,” White said. ”Had it not been for a second Test 50-metre kick from Morne Steyn, South Africa could have lost the series. Whoever wins the first Test will win the series. It’s about getting momentum. Australia love Brisbane. The Lions have had better preparation … if the Lions lose they could crumble to pieces. They won’t say it, but the Lions’ expectation is they think they are going to win that first Test.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Taylor finds Warriors’ No.13 spot a perfect fit

Written on June 22, 2019 at 11:24, by

Rake’s progress: Elijah Taylor is in top form. Photo: Stuart WalmsleyGive it a couple of weeks, and everything can change in team sport. Criticised losers can turn into confident winners. Title challengers can turn into teams in free fall.
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Just ask the Warriors. A mere month ago, New Zealand’s first-grade side looked orphaned at the toe-end of the NRL table, with just two wins in their first 10 outings.

On Sunday they will take on the Roosters at Allianz Stadium feeling full of confidence with three straight wins in the bag. Talk about regeneration.

A player’s fortunes can change just as easily as that of his team.

Perhaps no one on the Warriors side understands this more than Elijah Taylor.

After an unsuccessful experiment at hooker for the season’s first three games, Taylor found himself cast to the bench as the Warriors’ season careened from disaster to disaster.

Then hard-working lock Todd Lowrie was injured – providing Taylor, who leaves the Warriors for the Panthers at the end of the season, an opportunity to start.

He has not disappointed, and the Warriors have not lost since he began wearing the No.13 guernsey this season.

Taylor has been a rock in defence – his 130 tackles in the past three weeks trail only Nathan Friend’s tally for the club – while providing a slick attacking service in the middle of the park.

His form has been so impressive Fairfax Media understands Taylor was approached by several high-profile members of the Warriors front office, including Elliott, asking him to reconsider his departure. Yet with a three-year Panthers deal already signed, it was too late.

The four-Test back-rower admits he has been feeling far better now he is starting games – but in true Taylor fashion, deflects talk about himself to the team.

”I feel better starting, physically,” he said. ”Coming off the bench, I always feel like I have to chase the game, or catch up to the game … I’m really happy with how the team’s been playing. Our props have been outstanding … the style of footy we have been playing has been effective.”

Last Sunday’s 18-16 victory over the Sea Eagles in Auckland was a test of character for the Warriors – ”a game we would have lost a month ago”, according to Taylor – but the Roosters match on Sunday will be another big test. The Sydney side is now third on the NRL table.

”They’re similar to Manly, in terms of their physicality in that forward pack,” the 23-year-old Taylor said. ”Again, we need to turn up to the ground with the right attitude. A hard-working attitude in defence, and everybody doing their roles.”

Taylor said the lengthy absence of Kiwi enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who is serving a seven-week ban for a reckless high tackle, was a blow for the Sydney glamour club.

”Whenever Ben Matulino smashes someone in a tackle, it lifts everyone in our team. We all get a energy high out of it. Jared is the same with the Roosters … but whoever they bring in for him, they’ll do just as a good a job.”

As for Taylor, do not expect the pedal to come off the accelerator. Yes, he is to leave the Warriors, but it is not in Taylor’s nature to change his approach.

”Every week, I’m trying to improve my performance – and the team’s performance,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Smith hopes to get lucky up north

Written on June 22, 2019 at 11:24, by

The Darren Smith-trained Oakfield Commands will target the $150,000 Ramornie (1200 metres) at Grafton on July 10. Smith will be hoping it is third-time lucky in the feature sprint. In 1998 he saddled up Pimpala Prince, which finished ninth, and Oakfield Duke also finished unplaced in 2002. Oakfield Commands is raced by long-time client Bruce Mackenzie, who also owned Oakfield Duke. ”Bruce and I would love to have another shot at the Ramornie,” Smith said after Oakfield Commands won his second successive Randwick race last Saturday. ”Oakfield Commands is flying and the Ramornie is a race that should be perfect for him. We’ve had it in mind for him for some time.” Oakfield Commands has raced 17 times for six wins and eight placings, with two wins and two placings in Sydney races since resuming in April. With last year’s Ramornie winner Howmuchdoyouloveme a confirmed starter and several high-profile Sydney and Brisbane stables targeting the listed sprint, this year’s Ramornie looks like being a cracker. Howmuchdoyouloveme scored a brilliant first-up win in the Lightning Handicap at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
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Wagga Wagga trainer Gary Colvin has lost his stable star, Baltra. ”He’s been retired this week, deterioration of the near-side front knee,” Colvin said of the gelding, which resumed with a slashing second in the Wagga Town Plate Prelude on April 14. ”His dam [Pixina] had the same problem. It’s very disappointing but that’s racing. He had loads of ability. We’ll just have to think of the good times.” Baltra raced six times, winning his first four runs before seconds at Warwick Farm and Wagga. ”Hopefully there’s another Baltra in some of my young horses coming through,” Colvin added. Meanwhile, the Wagga meeting set down for last Friday was postponed until Monday.


South Sydney stalwart George Piggins was laughing all the way to the bank at Gulgong last Saturday after Mr Branahdan landed a successful plunge. Having its second start after finishing unplaced as a $71 chance at Hawkesbury last month, Mr Branahdan was backed from $21 in to $7 before bolting in by 1.8 lengths. Mr Branahdan is trained by Milton Coutts at Hawkesbury and wore green and red silks, the colours of Piggins’ beloved Rabbitohs.


South Australian trainer Tony McEvoy saddled up his first runner at Bathurst on Tuesday. Pocket Rockets won an open handicap to record his fifth win from 25 starts. The five-year-old had done much of his racing in Hong Kong under John Size before returning to Australia with McEvoy earlier this year.

TAB meetings: Sunday – Wellington, Port Macquarie. Monday – Wagga, Coffs Harbour. Tuesday – Quirindi. Thursday – Bathurst. Friday – Taree, Canberra. Saturday – Albury.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Officials admit sedative used in detention

Written on June 22, 2019 at 11:24, by

Immigration officials pinned down and injected tranquillisers into at least two asylum seekers on Christmas Island – despite public assurances that ”under no circumstances” are chemical sedatives used in detention.
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In one incident, described in a confidential report as a ”major” use of force, four guards held down a man so that two intravenous drips could be inserted in a ”pre-planned attempt to sedate” him.

The actions appear to contradict internal immigration detention guidelines stating ”sedatives must not be used as a method of restraint”.

The Immigration Department also claimed in remarks intended for public release in December 2010, four months after the incident, that sedatives are never used in detention. ”Under no circumstances are chemical agents, including sedatives, tear gas, pepper spray or capsicum spray used in immigration detention,” said the document prepared for what are known as talking points.

The apparent contradiction has been unearthed as part of a new online database of official documents released under freedom-of-information laws and intended to cast new light on conditions inside Australia’s detention facilities. Hundreds of reports were compiled on the Detention Logs website, intended to make searching the reams of declassified material simpler.

The department maintained this week that sedatives are not used as a form of restraint but a spokesman said, ”it is still open to health practitioners to administer them.”

In a second case in May 2011 four guards held a man on his back by his arms and legs while medical staff gave him an injection ”to calm down detainee and help him sleep”, a separate report revealed.

The man had become agitated after he was refused a cigarette. An officer later saw the man having difficulty breathing and being carried into a medical ward by guards and detainees. The report does not make clear what occurred in the interim but said the man had continued to be aggressive and had assaulted a guard. About 20 minutes later he had quietened down and was found to have grazes to his arms and knees.

Paul Farrell, a Sydney journalism student and one of three founders of the database, said the online search would better inform debate about detention policy.

The database draws on copious material the Immigration Department posts online but in a format not readily accessible to electronic searches. ”We thought there was a real need to increase transparency in detention centres,” Mr Farrell said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Fire up and create a stir

Written on June 22, 2019 at 11:24, by

Andrew Taylor learns the perfect recipe for spicing up your stay in Chiang Mai.
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The slow burn intensifies with every mouthful of water, inducing tears as it radiates from my tongue and lips.

Each spoonful of the hot and sour soup packs a volcanic amount of heat that lingers in the sweet, tangy broth flavoured with lime leaves, tamarind, lemongrass and fish sauce. This is what showing off tastes like.

My fellow amateur chefs, Anthony and Basil, wisely decline my offer of the soup I’ve revved up with 12 chillies, twice the number recommended by our teacher Benz (“like a car” she tells us).

“Your mouth is on fire,” she says, wincing slightly as she tastes my radioactive soup. It’s the second dish of our six-course introduction to Thai cooking at the Basil Healthy Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

After a week of guzzling papaya salads, pad see ews and a rainbow of curries, it is time to don an apron and attempt to replicate the culinary masterpieces of countless streetside stalls and restaurants.

Our class begins at the Sompet fresh food market inside the old town of Chiang Mai, close to the Sunday night walking market, where Benz quizzes us on different types of basil and ginger like a game show host. The market is a kaleidoscope of colours, smells and movement. Stalls of fragrant spices and tear-inducing chillies stand cheek-by-jowl with tables laden with tropical fruit, leafy vegetables, baskets of rice and tanks of fish from the nearby Ping River.

The odd insect buzzes around the butchers’ stalls, but small fans blow most of them away from the piles of pork and chicken.

The market is not just a photo opportunity to be admired by sweaty “farang” before moving to an airconditioned restaurant serving dishes made bland for delicate foreign tongues. Benz shows us different types of noodles – flat and thin, wheat and rice – helpfully adding that Thais eat glass noodles, made of mung bean flour, when they want to lose weight. With its laxative effect, a dollop of tamarind paste provides an even quicker path to slim hips, she says.

She points out different types of chilli, ranging from the mild red spur chilli to the sky point chilli used for curry paste. The smallest, hottest chillies, phrik ki noo, are reserved mainly for soups and salads.

Benz shows us how to test the ripeness of tropical fruit – obvious to some, no doubt, but not if you’ve grown up on Granny Smiths and tinned apricots – and gives us baskets to fill with fresh produce and block scooter riders who threaten to roll over our feet in the narrow alleys.

Students at the cookery school can choose to prepare six dishes from 18 on offer, which means that between the three of us we will attempt every meal offered, starting with noodles.

Handed a plate of ingredients, we are soon slicing up the vegetables, frying garlic and chilli over gas burners, and adding sweet, sour and salty sauces under Benz’s watchful gaze. My chopping needs work but she compliments my wok-handling seconds before I singe a few arm hairs. She attempts to train our taste buds by adding sugar or fish sauce to achieve those complex combinations of flavour that define Thai cuisine.

Minutes later, we’re seated at the dining table sharing pad Thai and drunken noodles that are the equal of any Thai joint in Newtown.

Next up are the fiery soups, spring rolls and salads that we create using the same basic ingredients and flavours. We’re only halfway through the class and the three of us are already stuffed but Benz insists on a workout in the form of pounding together the ingredients to make curry paste.

“Bang, bang, bang,” she says, showing us how to wield a mortar and pestle without painting the kitchen in curry. More energy is spent squeezing coconut flesh to make the liquid for our curries.

The course concludes with desserts – black sticky rice pudding, deep-fried bananas and sweet sticky rice with mango – that are the highlight for this sweet tooth and a certificate and cookbook Benz gives us. The latter includes every recipe as well a handy description of each ingredient and their surprising properties. Cloves relieve flatulence, kaffir limes can rid you of dandruff, while Thai ginger or galangal helps eject air from intestines, cures dysentery and relieves muscle pains.

Three other cooking schools in Chiang Mai

1. Baan Thai Cookery School has a similar course of six dishes to Basil, ranging from stir-fries and soups to curry pastes. Cost: 900 baht ($31). cookinthai上海夜生活m.

2. Thai Farm Cooking School offers one-, two- and three-day courses on an organic farm located 17 kilometres outside Chiang Mai. Dishes are again similar and a visit to a local market is included as well as a tour of the farm’s tropical fruit orchard and vegetable garden. Cost: 1000 baht for the one-day course. thaifarmcooking上海夜生活.

3. Run by chef Sompon Nabnian, the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School offers courses for beginners as well as more-experienced chefs, and has a homestay program. Cost: From 1450 baht for the one-day beginner cooking course. thaicookeryschool上海夜生活m.

Trip notes

Getting there

Thai Airways International flies from Sydney to Bangkok daily and also offers connections to Chiang Mai. thaiairways上海夜生活

Cooking there

The Basil Healthy Thai Cooking School course runs for four and a half hours and can be taken in the morning or evening. It costs 1000 baht ($35).

More information


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Bali beyond the basic

Written on June 22, 2019 at 11:24, by

Seminyak’s shopping is a treasure trove of fabulousness, as Belinda Jackson discovers.
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The girls are clad in a uniform of floaty tunics and kaftans, strappy sandals and big sunglasses, each arm jangling with bangles and glossy paper shopping bags.

I run into them at three boutiques in a row and at each stop, someone’s pulling out a gorgeous gauzy shirt or new belt to show the rest of the gang. They’re on a serious boutique hop, riding the pure, glistening wave of the retail high.

It’s not Rodeo Drive, it’s not Milan: it’s Bali. Seminyak, to be precise. Balinese shopping isn’t all Bintang singlets and dyed sarongs guaranteed to turn your laundry cerise. The chic enclave of Seminyak is a United Nations of designers lured by sun, sand and a culture that breathes beautiful design.

If you’re expecting cheap Billabong surfwear, forget about it. You don’t go to Bali to buy the big international brands: they’re imported, so they’ll be expensive.

Once you’ve jumped that mental hurdle, then you can start to explore the real treasures of Balinese shopping: handmade clothes made with a level of detail and finishing for a price you’d never pay in Australia. Additional tailoring is also fast, cheap and most boutiques can organise it for you overnight.

Seminyak’s boutiques gather in clusters on Jalan Laksmana and in Jalan Raya Seminyak, and you’ll see a number of names crop up on both, including Magali Pascal for beautiful lacework (177X Jl Laksmana), and the Brazilians, Lily Jean (102 X Jl Laksmana) and Lulu Yasmine, for sexy and standout statement pieces (100 Jl Laksmana).

Australian designer Penny Pinkster’s Mist boutique is a favourite for those after soft, yielding kaftans in a subdued palette (42 Jl Raya Seminyak), Namu will kit you out, from totally covetable lunching ensembles to killer cocktail kit (234X Jl Petitenget) and pick up your saucy nix at niconico intimo (12 Jl Raya Seminyak).

Shop fashion with a conscience at Puravida, owned by two Italian sisters, which produces all its bright, easy-wearing cotton and jersey clothes locally, and supports Eco Bali ventures (38b Jl Raya Seminyak). It also pays its staff fair wages with healthcare, as does Buddha Wear, which also locally manufactures gorgeous jerseys. Hot tip: nip upstairs to riffle through Buddha Wear’s bargain racks if you’re on a tight budget (15X Jl Laksmana). Low-key Jamila is a must-stop for the basics (tees, leggings) in black, white and grey, at very reasonable prices, with alterations done in-house (49 Jl Raya Seminyak).

Bargain hunters will love the boutique clearance shops: try Animale for end-of-season flats, sandals and costume jewellery that won’t fall apart after the first hour (31 Jl Raya Seminyak). Steer clear of the overpriced kaftans and tatty fashion in Seminyak market opposite Seminyak square.

Men, all is not forgotten: French designer Jacque Ruc’s Animale does more tailored, pared-back men’s fashion suitable for Australia’s sober streets, while Susanna Perini’s super-chic Biasa is a hot stop for deconstructed layering for both men and women and also has an artspace for contemporary Indonesian artists (36 Jl Raya Seminyak).

You can snap up cheap, emergency sunglasses, big earrings and your shell jewellery in the stalls at the front of Seminyak Square. Hit Aura for handmade, customised leather goods (21X Jl Laksmana) while Tasmaniac has a cult following for its, er, high-quality, less original handbags (501 Jl Raya Seminyak).

Another little pocket of fabulousness is Jalan Kunti, not far from the intersection of Laksmana and Raya Seminyak. Think of it as “the Paris end of Seminyak”.

Here, the beautiful people cool down with cocktails at Word of Mouth’s cafe in between cruising its deeply gorgeous homewares and fashion (9 Jl Kunti). Then, it’s a few short steps down to the beautiful interiors of Sydney designer Natasha Welsh’s Allegra for floaty, girly statement frocks: beware, they’re cut small, so strapping lasses should steer clear to avoid changing-room angst (6 Jl Kunti). Homewares hunters are in paradise in Bali, and not just lovers of the omnipresent Buddha statues. Jalan Kerobokan is the place to buy lighting. Rice paper, woven branches, statement chandeliers: choose your taste point. Jump in a taxi and kerb-crawl, then hit The White Peacock for super-colourful throws and cushions, located obligingly opposite the Grocer & Grind for good coffee or nearby Petitenget for a luxe lunch and cocktail option.

Carga is chockers full of gorgeous homewares and trinkets (886 Jl Petitenget), and an absolute must-visit is Horn Emporium, by Anita Horn, whose unerring eye will steer you into unchartered territory (100X Jl Petitenget). For homewares with an ethical bent, make for indi vie, in the Made’s Warung complex, which stocks the cutest little dolls made by Bali’s street kids, under a not-for-profit charity (Jl Raya Seminyak). They’re also sold at Press Ban cafe, one of the few places you’ll find nuevo-retro and vintage fashion (50 Jl Laksmana). Put Kody Ko on the list for knockout artworks (C002 Jl Kayu Cendana).

Seminyak takes its after-shop care seriously: it knows how to reward and rejuvenate the jaded shopper, with a foot massage at Jari Menari (47 Raya Basangkasa) followed by sunset cocktails at Ku De Ta (dress up), La Plancha (dress down) or Potato Head Beach Club (dress however you want, except Bintang T-shirts) to celebrate a job well done.

Belinda Jackson was a guest of Space Villas.

Trip notes

Staying there

Seminyak is heaving with accommodation, from budget to break-the-bank. Try Space Villas, No. 8 Jl Drupadi, Seminyak. +62 361 731100, spaceatbali上海夜生活m.

Getting there

Virgin Australia (virginaustralia上海夜生活m), Jetstar (jetstar上海夜生活 and Garuda Indonesia (garuda-indonesia上海夜生活m) fly Sydney to Denpasar direct.

More information

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.