26 March 2003

Archibald 2003: Brush of the bushman

Geoffrey Dyer, Richard Flanagan,
oil on linen, 183 x 152.5 cm
The Archibald Prize went left field this year. Michael Hutak talks to the knockabout bloke from Tasmania who eclipsed a star-studded field. 

It was all a bit subdued at this year's announcement of Australia's pre-eminent art prize, the Archibald. For a start, convivial director Edmund Capon – who'd briefly become a NSW election issue when he took down the Australian flag from the Art Gallery of NSW in protest at the looming war – had been seemingly banished to a corner of the room instead of taking pride of place as MC on the podium.

Capon's void was filled by the earnest monotone of David Gonski, president of the AGNSW board of trustees, although we were assured the flag incident had nothing to do with Capon's "banishment". War, declared the day before, had quelled the media's customary boisterousness and Gonski's declaration of each winner – there are four in all, including the Wynn, the Sulman and a new photo-portrait prize – was greeted with dispersed gasps and muted applause followed by an exchange of polite but quizzical glances around the room: "Who?"

No darlings of the social set got the nod this year, nor did reclusive genii, enfants terrible or even idiots savant.

16 March 2003

New panel for safer racing - Sun Herald

16 March 2003 -- AFTER a rash of horrific race falls, Racing NSW stewards have formed a Riders' Advisory Panel designed to help young jockeys become better riders.
The panel will aim to correct mistakes and errors of judgment by apprentices and inexperienced riders, under the guidance of high-profile members.
"We believe this is a stepping stone to helping young riders move up the ranks by receiving advice as to how and why a certain incident may have happened and how to prevent it in the future," said Racing NSW chairman of stewards Ray Murrihy.
"Once one of our stewards pinpoints an error with a youngster's riding which needs to be addressed, we will then refer the rider in the company of their master to the panel for corrective advice.
"We have been discussing this at length with the NSW Jockeys' Association and, at this stage, members would include Malcolm Fitzgerald [Racing NSW apprentice Mentor], jockeys like Darren Beadman, and even some former riders.
"It is an exciting initiative and is likely to be much less traumatic for a youngster than having to face a panel of stewards."
Paul Innes, secretary of the NSW Jockeys' Association, welcomed the panels implementation.
"This is an excellent initiative... it will go a long way to improving safety in our sport."

-- Michael Hutak

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