Waterhouse to fight stewards’ $5000 fine

No joy ... trainer Gai Waterhouse leaves the Racing NSW inquiry.

No joy … trainer Gai Waterhouse leaves the Racing NSW inquiry.

GAI Waterhouse is set to appeal against a fine imposed on her by racing officials for not reporting More Joyous was unwell before last month’s All Aged Stakes.

The champion horse trainer was fined $5000 for failing to tell Racing NSW stewards the mare had a sore neck in the lead-up to the race, and $500 for failing to record treatment given to the horse.

Chief steward Ray Murrihy said it was a “clear breach” of Waterhouse’s requirement as a trainer to report the condition, but she insisted “there was nothing wrong” with the horse, despite it having swelling, tenderness, sensitivity and soreness in the neck.

Waterhouse told the inquiry, “There is no doubt in my mind she was fit to run. I’m qualified in what I do. I was not trying to hide anything.”

Earlier this month the mare’s owner, John Singleton, was fined $15,000 for making unsubstantiated claims that Waterhouse’s bookmaker son, Tom, passed on inside information about the health of the horse, and for acting aggressively towards his mother at Royal Randwick on April 27.

Tom Waterhouse was cleared of any wrongdoing, with stewards finding “absolutely no evidence” that linked him to having privileged information about the condition of More Joyous or passing it on.

A disappointed Gai Waterhouse told reporters outside the inquiry she could find no condition to stop the horse racing. “It was and is my view that More Joyous had no issues going into the race,” she said. “I’m supported by my professional team and by two vets that examined her as late as the day of the race.”

Waterhouse said her family had been made out to be criminals with “every TV station, every newspaper in the whole world” covering the inquiry, which she labelled “shoddy” and “embarrassing”. “Even the Queen said to her racing manager, ‘What’s going on with Gai Waterhouse in Australia?’” she said.

The highly-publicised inquiry heard evidence from NRL great Andrew Johns, brothel owner Eddie Hayson and ex-jockey Allan Robinson.

It’s the first time Waterhouse has been convicted of either charge.

An independent appeals board hearing date has yet to be set.

Hewitt and Tomic: Australian tennis on the comeback

LLEYTON Hewitt is back.

The 31-year-old took out his second Kooyong Classic today, defeating Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets.

Hewitt, who also won the tournament in 2011, is in fine form ahead of next week’s Australian Open after blitzing the world No.7 6-1, 6-4 in a match which lasted just over an hour.

“I felt like every match I got better and better and more confident,” Hewitt said of his week.

The former world No.1 beat three top-15 players in his Kooyong run and will face Serb eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic in the first round of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday night.

The win was Hewitt’s first in an ATP final since June 2010 and his 29th career title.

Lleyton Hewitt and his children Mia, Ava and Cruz with the trophy. Picture: Sebastian Costanzo

Lleyton Hewitt and his children Mia, Ava and Cruz with the trophy. Picture: Sebastian Costanzo

It was a memorable day for Australian tennis, with Bernard Tomic also victorious.

The 20-year-old overcame South African Kevin Anderson in three sets to take out the Sydney International, claiming his first ATP Tour title.

Tomic won the first set 6-3 but lost a tiebreak in the second 6-7 (7-2). He came out on top in the third, winning 6-3.

The victory was Tomic’s eighth straight this year.

He is the first Aussie to take out the tournament since Hewitt in 2005.

After the match Tomic said it was an honour to win his first title in front of tennis great Ken Rosewall, on his stadium. “It’s an amazing feeling,” he said.

Tomic paid special thanks to his father, John. “It’s been a long road and finally I’ve got one of these trophies,” he said. “Hopefully this is not the last time that I can win.”

The last 20-year-old to hoist the trophy on Ken Rosewall Arena was Roger Federer in 2002.

Tomic will verse world No.2 Federer in the third round of the Australian Open if both players can make it that far.

He is now the No.1 ranked Australian going into the grand slam (43), replacing Marinko Matosevic (48). Hewitt is ranked No.81.

“It took a while” ... Bernard Tomic moments after winning the men’s final at the Sydney International. Picture: Mark Evans

“It took a while” … Bernard Tomic moments after winning the men’s final at the Sydney International. Picture: Mark Evans

Minichiello named Roosters captain

AFTER 13 years in Bondi, Anthony Minichiello has been named skipper of the Sydney Roosters.

Minichiello, who has been at the Roosters since he was 16, said the appointment was probably the most meaningful highlight of his career to date.

“[It’s] a pretty special moment,” he told reporters at a press conference at Roosters HQ in Sydney this afternoon. “To be named captain of the club I love so much means the absolute world to me.”

Minichiello replaces Braith Anasta, who left the team to join the Wests Tigers.

The 32-year-old fullback joined the Roosters in 1997 and made his first-grade debut for the club in 2000, going on to play 251 top-grade matches.

New Roosters head coach, Trent Robinson, said Mini was the standout option to lead the club through 2013, in what is predicted to be his last NRL season.

“Anthony is to be commended for his attitude to life and to training. He trains hard and is respected by the players,” Robinson said.

But the big question remains unanswered: what position will he play?

Minichiello said he had been training mainly at fullback “but a bit of wing as well”.

“Obviously I’d love to hold down the fullback spot but we’ve got a lot of great young players in the club that play fullback and other positions as well,” he said.

“I’ve just got to train hard and hopefully hold down that spot.”

It is rumoured that 2013 will be Minichiello’s final season playing the game.

In 2005 the club gave stalwart Luke Ricketson the captaincy for his last season.

The Roosters also announced the appointment of Mitchell Pearce, Jake Friend, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner as vice-captains.

The decision to appointment Friend, 22, as vice-captain is a controversial one.

In 2009, then only 19, he was disqualified from driving for 16 months after pleading guilty to high range drink driving, charged with assaulting a woman, and arrested and charged after an incident in a taxi in which he was intoxicated and asleep on the back seat. When woken he became abusive towards police and refused to pay his taxi fare.

As a result Friend’s contract with the club was terminated. In May 2010, he was reinstated in the Roosters after undergoing counselling and rehabilitation. The very next month, he was arrested and charged with two counts of possessing a prescription drug, Valium, without prescription.

Veteran fullback Anthony Minichiello has been named captain of the Sydney Roosters. Picture: Ryan Pierse

Veteran fullback Anthony Minichiello has been named captain of the Sydney Roosters. Picture: Ryan Pierse

In other sports news, Bernard Tomic is through to his first ATP Tour final, overcoming third seed Andreas Seppi with a 7-6 (12-10), 6-4 win in the semi-final of the Sydney International.

The 20-year-old beat the Italian – and the sweltering conditions – to book a place in tomorrow night’s final against South African Kevin Anderson.

It was Tomic’s seventh straight win of the new year. Last week he upset world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

He is the first Aussie to make it into the Sydney final since Chris Guccione in 2008.

If Tomic beats the unseeded Anderson, he will become the first Australian winner since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first 20-year-old to hold the trophy since Roger Federer in 2002.

Tomic overcame dizziness and blurred vision as on-court temperatures reached almost 40 degrees to advance to the final.

“It’s about time, I think, I really got to one of these finals,” Tomic said after the match.

''It's about time, eh?'' ...  Bernard Tomic is through to his first ATP Tour final. Picture: Brendan Esposito

”It’s about time, eh?” … Bernard Tomic is through to his first ATP Tour final. Picture: Brendan Esposito

Madeleine Pulver’s dad new boss of the ARU

THE father of the Sydney woman who was the victim of a collar-bomb hoax in 2011 is tipped to be named the new CEO of the Australian Rugby Union this afternoon.

News Limited reports Bill Pulver, a multi-millionaire Sydney businessman and father of collar-bomb hoax victim Madeleine, is expected to succeed long-time ARU boss John O’Neill.

The Pulver family made international headlines in 2011 when a masked man, Paul Douglas Peters, broke into their Mosman home and strapped a fake bomb to the then 18-year-old’s neck with a note demanding money. Peters was sentenced last November to a minimum of 10 years behind bars over the attack (read more).

Bill Pulver was previously chief executive of a global research firm in New York which was taken over by Nielsen in 2007, for a reported $US820 million.

"Rugby mad" ... incoming ARU boss Bill Pulver relaxes at his home in Mosman with his wife Belinda, daughter Maddie, 19, and sons Harry, 21, Angus, 18, and Archie, 15. Picture: Tim Hunter

“Rugby mad” … incoming ARU boss Bill Pulver relaxes at his home in Mosman with his wife Belinda, daughter Maddie, 19, and sons Harry, 21, Angus, 18, and Archie, 15. Picture: Tim Hunter

UPDATE: 2pm Bill Pulver has been appointed the new chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union, replacing the long-serving John O’Neill who stepped down from the post last October.

In a statement, ARU chairman Michael Hawker, a former schoolmate and teammate of Pulver’s at the exclusive Sydney private school Shore, said he was the right man for the job.

“We wanted someone with proven commercial success at CEO level, with international business experience and a love of rugby,” he said. “The board also set priorities around good communication skills and an understanding of the world of sports marketing and media.”

“Bill has all those attributes.”

Pulver landed the job from a pool of more than 50 international candidates, shortlisted to 14 interviewed candidates.

Speaking at a packed press conference at ARU headquarters in Sydney this afternoon, Pulver said the appointment was a “dream come true” and that he is the “luckiest man alive”.

“I feel privileged and excited to take up this role for the ARU and enter the world of Australian and international rugby,” he said.

“For 20 years I have been a chief executive in a diverse range of industries and now I have the opportunity to focus my efforts on this great game, the game I love.”

“I’m 53 years old and I think I’ve finally discovered what I wanted to do with my life,” he told reporters.

“In a way I feel partly that it is a civic duty. My love of rugby is so deep.”

Confirming that embattled Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will remain in the role through 2013, Pulver said: “I am convinced that rugby has an extraordinary future in Australia and I’m looking forward to being part of the team that’s going to make that a reality.” He said the Wallabies could be the No. 1 team in the world if they maintained a culture of high performance.

Pulver added that his family “are all rugby tragics”. His second son, Angus, was a halfback on last year’s Australian Schoolboys national rugby union team, the same position Pulver played during his school and university years.

“He sure knows how to handle a crisis,” veteran Nine newsman Peter Harvey tweeted of his appointment. That he does.

The father-of-four starts in the new role on February 1.