HOLY LUTE AND ACCEPTANCE HEAD A FULL FIELD OF 14 IN THE GRADE III, $100,000 SAN SIMEON STAKES OPENING DAY AT SANTA ANITA

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2016) – Though not a victor in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, Holy Lute is still a force to be reckoned with down the six and-a-half furlong Camino Real hillside turf course and will head a competitive field of 14 in Monday’s $100,000, Grade III, San Simeon Stakes for 3-year-olds and up.Trained by Jim Cassidy and owned by Class Racing Stable, Holy Lute ran his best-ever Beyer Speed figure, a 102, in the Grade III Eddie D. down the hillside Sept. 30, thus giving his connections every confidence to run in the Breeders’ Cup. Though he finished sixth, it was by a beaten margin of only 3 ½ lengths in a field of 14 world class runners. An intact horse at the age of 6, Holy Lute is by Midnight Lute out of the Holy Bull mare, Holy Christmas. With 10 races down the hillside turf since the beginning of 2015, Holy Lute has a record of 10-2-4-0 for the course.Though third in his last outing at Del Mar in the seven furlong (dirt) Carey Grant Stakes on Nov. 20, trainer Kenny Black said Acceptance stumbled badly that day and looks to be running in very similar company on Monday as he did in the California Flag Handicap, a race in which he won by head on Oct. 22 down the hill.Owned by Finish Line Racing and the Ellwood Johnston Trust, the 4-year-old bay colt by Vronsky has a record of 12-4-1-1 and overall earnings of $378,803.The full field, including jockeys and weights, for the Grade III San Simeon Race 6 – Approximate post time of 2:30 p.m. Jimmy Bouncer, Mario Gutierrez, 123Hobbits Hero, Rafael Bejarano, 121Stormy Liberal, Norberto Arroyo, Jr., 121Drummer, Tyler Baze, 121Ohio, Drayden Van Dyke, 121Acceptance, Stewart Elliott, 123Cape Wolfe, Santiago Gonzalez, 121Richard’s Boy, Victor Espinoza, 121He Will, Flavien Prat, 121Tough Sunday, Chantal Sutherland, 121Bettys Bambino, Joel Rosario, 121Holy Lute, Jamie Theriot, 125Horse Laugh, Luis Contreras, 121 Iron Rob, Corey Nakatani, 121last_img read more

“Expect more Venezuelans” – human rights body

first_imgBy Samuel SukhnandanWith thousands fleeing Venezuela on a daily as the humanitarian crisis intensifies, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has warned that more persons are likely to seek refuge in Guyana.Most Venezuelans are fleeing to Latin American countries that border Venezuela, but GHRA President, Mike McCormack said while the numbers here might not be as many as those other countries, they will continue to come.“It is possible that the numbers will increase here, particularly now that this crisis is getting worst,” he told Guyana Times on Wednesday, explaining that the Government must do everything to prepare for such an event.McCormack noted that countries in the Andean region seem to be reaching their capacity and they have also made life a bit more difficult than it was before for Venezuelans, by placing visa restrictions, among other things. This, he said, could lend to more Venezuelans coming here.“We will see more people coming. My sense is, we won’t see this massive number marching down roads. But I think we need to make a modest effort to try to get early warnings,” he said.The GHRA President feels persons in the bordering regions, particularly in Region One (Barima-Waini), should be educated and trained to respond to these cases.“So, if they notice the numbers are increasing and if we get that information early, we can take measures and, coordination groups in the various Ministries could respond effectively.”He also noted that the arrival of over 100 Arrau, a few months ago, was handled efficiently.“We have been learning by experience. And we have been fortunate that the border controversy, the nature of the terrain, the language barrier, may be reasons why they are not coming but that could change because there is a lot of interest being shown.”McCormack told this newspaper that the GHRA is also monitoring the situation and would encourage everyone to continue to be observant.“If we can keep up the work and the ‘don’t panic kind of attitude’…and don’t anticipate major problems before they actually arrive, I think we can keep this humanitarian obligation intact.”On that note, he commended the Government for its response, saying it has been doing a “remarkably good job” in adhering to calls by international agencies to use a flexible approach to the issue.Learning curve“Our feeling is the Government has been on a learning curve and we feel much more assured now with the official response to the crisis than… say a year ago, when the standard response of when Venezuelans coming to Guyana was either they needed a passport or a visa and then if they over stayed they were put before the courts and fined and so on,” he stated.According to McCormack, that has changed, as there is now a more flexible, efficient and comprehensive response to allowing Venezuelans who are seeking to stay in Guyana.“The way that kind of manifested, is…not only did they require passports or visas, but they got a three-month initial visa and it is renewable. Government has improved its reception procedure,” the GHRA President noted, while pointing out that medical checks are also being done. He said that is an indication of the Government being more confident from the experience of addressing the situation. McCormack also pointed to an example, where 27 females, mostly Venezuelans, were found inside a “strip club” at Bikers Bar, Covent Garden, East Bank Demerara.“A year ago, they would have all been charged for prostitution and put before the courts and deported. This time the Police raided the place, the girls were checked by the medical authorities and those who didn’t have visas, they were given and their status regularised. And the people who own the bar were prosecuted,” he observed.According to the human rights activist, this approach is much more effective and a humanitarian way of addressing the current situation of Venezuelans coming to Guyana.While Colombia has received far more Venezuelans than other countries so far, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said they are spreading out to other countries.At least 40,000 Venezuelan migrants arrived in Peru in the first two months of this year. Thousands more have emigrated to Panama, Ecuador, Chile, Spain, the United States and beyond.It has been reported also that boats carrying Venezuelan migrants have landed on some islands in the Caribbean. In January, one capsized off Curaçao, killing at least four people.The number of Venezuelans seeking asylum abroad has rocketed by 2000 per cent since 2014. Brazil is another of the countries to have received a huge influx. There is about 600 Venezuelans in Region One (Barima-Waini).last_img read more

WATCH: Take a tour of Irwin Expert Electrical Letterkenny

first_imgWhat will you find in an Irwin Expert Electrical showroom?A lot, and more!The Irwin Expert Letterkenny and Buncrana stores are part of Ireland’s largest electrical retailer, so they are packed with the best brands and variety around. Irwin Expert Electrical has a state of the art showroom off the Port Road in Letterkenny. They are continually introducing new brands and new products, giving the consumer more choice and better prices.Store Manager Shaun Mallon gave us a quick tour of all the brands you’ll find in this super store: So, whether it’s a wearable device, a laptop, an impressive TV, a sleek Dyson product or some sophisticated home appliances, you’ll find it all under one roof at Irwin Expert Electrical.  They have an expansive product range in their TV and home appliance centres, their kitchen home appliance centre and have expanded their computer centre to provide first-class products and service to their many customers across the north west.It’s not just the stock that customers like at Irwin – it’s the customer service, the expertise of the staff and their willingness to answer and explain any question about any product.Their Christmas Club is open and they are hosting a Black Friday event in November at both the Letterkenny and Buncrana showrooms, so please feel free to come along.Browse for Click and Collect options. Plus, they deliver, they offer installation, free recycling and they can take your old appliances away. They also accept SHOP LK vouchers. Visit the store on the Port Road in Letterkenny or Maginn Road in Buncrana from Monday-Saturday to meet the team yourself!Check out the Facebook page @irwinexpert for special offers and updates, visit www.expert.ie or telephone the store on: 074 9361161 WATCH: Take a tour of Irwin Expert Electrical Letterkenny was last modified: October 11th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:buncranaIrwin Expert Electricalletterkennyretailshowroom tourvideolast_img read more

Anzisha Prize offers a million to African entrepreneurs

first_imgOver a million rand is up for grabs to winners of the Anzisha Prize. Weeklong training in Johannesburg is planned for the 12 young African entrepreneurs, who range in age from 18 to 22, shortlisted for the prize before the awards ceremony. Training includes entrepreneurial leadership, mentorship and a significant transfer of skills. Mabel Suglo, a 21-year-old Ghanaian, is one of the 12 finalists for the Anzisha Prize, to be handed out on 17 November 2015. Her business makes shoes from discarded tyres. All her employees are disabled people. (Image: Screengrab via YouTube) Melissa JavanSome 12 young entrepreneurs from nine African countries will participate in a training workshop between 10 and 18 November at the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in Johannesburg – and also stand a chance to win the Anzisha Prize of $75 000 (about R1.033-million).The winners of the Anzisha Prize will be announced on 17 November. This event will coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which is held to celebrate entrepreneurship. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators, reads the GEW website.“These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.”About the Anzisha PrizeThe prize pilot was run as the African Leadership Innovation Prize in 2010. Its aim was to recognise innovative youth in Africa. Following its success, the Anzisha Prize was established in 2011 to recognise entrepreneurship and community impact by African youth. Grace Kalisha is the senior programme manager of the African Leadership Academy and the manager of the Anzisha Prize. (Image: African Leadership Academy)This would be the fifth year that the Anzisha Prize awards was held by the ALA, said Grace Kalisha, the senior programmes manager of the ALA and the manager of the Anzisha Prize. “The Anzisha Prize awards are beneficial to Africa, because [they raise] the profile of African youth entrepreneurs as role models for other youth.“We are propagating an African dialogue around truly African-relevant models of entrepreneurship in sectors that are relevant for Africa. We see youth entrepreneurship as an essential part of improving livelihoods for youth,” she added.This year’s awards would be different. “We will be inviting fellows from our past cohorts to join in the awards ceremony and [to] speak on a panel to elucidate their journey, lessons and successes so far.”Watch the introduction of the Anzisha Prize:Watch Thato Kgatlhanye, a fellow of 2014, talk about how entrepreneurship changed her life:The finalistsThe 12 finalists – who range in age from 18 to 22 – were selected in September for the Anzisha Prize. According to a press release from the organisers, the selection process was rigorous: there were almost 500 applicants, of whom 77 were shortlisted for phone interviews; 23 were then prioritised for site visits. The final 12 now stand a chance to win a share of $75 000. The grand prize winner will take home $25 000.Watch the 12 finalists explain their projects:The finalists are invited on an all-expenses paid entrepreneurial leadership training and coaching programme, held at the ALA in Johannesburg. During the training week the Anzisha finalists learn more about entrepreneurial leadership, receive mentorship and a significant transfer of skills that will ultimately benefit the growth of their venture. “We provide them with access to business leaders as mentors, expose them to a strong curriculum and enable them to engage with each other to build lasting relationships,” said Kalisha.A panel of five experienced professionals from the business and social sectors, who represent a holistic view of contributors to the dialogue around youth entrepreneurship in Africa, will judge the finalists.Kalisha said the five judges would make their decision on the winners during the week. “There is a presentation and deliberation session to be held on 16 November, during which they make the decision. The actual announcement is made at the awards gala on 17 November.”The finalists and their businesses, in no specific order, are:Daniel Mukisa, 21, Uganda – motorbike delivery service in Kampala;Chantal Butare, 21, Rwanda – dairy co-operative that empowers female survivors of genocide;Blessing Fortune Kwomo, 20, Nigeria – health care solution for low-income families;Karidas Tshintsholo, 20, South Africa – clothing brand making a difference;Fabrice Alomo, 22, Cameroon – empowering local merchants;Hidaya Ibrahim, 22, Ethiopia – improving the local education system;Chris Kwekowe, 22, Nigeria – e-learning and skills development;George Mtemahanji, 22, Tanzania – lighting up rural areas with solar energy;Mabel Suglo, 21, Ghana – making shoes from discarded tyres;Vanessa Zommi, 19, Cameroon – processing tea to treat diabetes;Farai Munjoma, 18, Zimbabwe – accessing courseware content, past exams and career guidance; and,Sirjeff Dennis, 21, Tanzania – community development through poultry farming.last_img read more

Singtel to launch IoT network across Singapore by this fall

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#CAT-M1#IoT#mobile#NB-IoT#Sigfox#Singapore#Singtel David Curry Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Follow the Puckcenter_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Singtel, the largest mobile network operator in Singapore, has unveiled plans to launch a nationwide Internet of Things (IoT) network for enterprise customers.The network will support CAT-M1 and narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) technologies, two of the most popular low-power, wide-area network standards in the emerging IoT industry.See Also: What is IoT’s disruptive role in the rise of sustaintech?As the dominant network operator in Singapore and majority owned by the government’s investment arm, Singtel’s entry removes a lot of barriers the IoT industry has faced.“The launch of our network provides an ideal platform for the proliferation of IoT devices and applications,” said Bill Chang, CEO of group enterprise at Singtel.“With more businesses embracing the digital future, it paves the way for IoT adoption as Singapore advances towards becoming a Smart Nation. We welcome businesses to be part of the growing IoT ecosystem by leveraging on our robust infrastructure and network.”Singtel has been working on IoT for a yearSingtel has been working with companies on IoT solutions for over a year, to test the network before a full scale launch. It will continue to work with businesses, both inside Singapore and international, through its IoT Innovation Lab, run in partnership with Ericsson.Singapore is a major innovation hub and, with its small size, is a perfect test zone for IoT deployment. Sigfox, a French low-power network operator, launched its IoT network in Singapore over a year ago, alongside French energy firm ENGIE.The proliferation of IoT is only part of the government’s technology plans, as shown in its Smart Nation 2025 strategy. The country is also working on drone programs to deliver medicine and self-driving shuttle services. Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

Manipur man detects WhatsApp bug, enters Facebook ‘Hall of Fame’

first_imgIn this March 29, 2018 file photo, the logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square.  | Photo Credit: AP Facebook has honoured a Manipuri man for discovering a WhatsApp bug that violated the privacy of a user.Zonel Sougaijam, a 22-year-old civil engineer, said that the social media giant awarded $5000 to him and also included him in the ‘Facebook Hall of Fame 2019’, for detecting the WhatsApp bug. Mr. Sougaijam’s name is currently at the 16th position in a list of 94 people, in the ‘Facebook Hall of Fame’ for this year.  “During a voice call through WhatsApp, the bug used to allow the caller to upgrade it to a video call without the authorisation and knowledge of the receiver. The caller was then able to see what the other person was doing, violating the privacy of the receiver,” Mr. Sougaijam told PTI. After discovering the bug, Mr. Sougaijam said, he had reported the matter to the Bug Bounty Program of the Facebook, which deals with violation of privacy matters, in March. He said his report was acknowledged by the Facebook Security team the very next day and its technical department fixed the bug within 15-20 days.“After reviewing this issue, we have decided to award you a bounty of $5000,” Facebook said in an e-mail sent to Mr. Sougaijam. The man said he found his name in the Facebook ‘ Hall of Fame’ page this month. Facebook, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, purchased the messaging service WhatsApp for a staggerring $19 billion in February 2014.last_img read more

Pak Army chief Raheel Sharif warns Nawaz Sharif against use of force but PM defiant

first_imgPakistani protesters help carry their injured colleague to an ambulance during a clashes near prime minister’s home in Islamabad, Pakistan on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. Photo: APAn earthquake registering six on the Richter Scale rumbled through the northern half of Pakistan on Sunday, fading away into Kashmir to the east and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west. But no-one really noticed, because the republic’s latest tryst with democracy was being teargassed and lathicharged in the heart of Islamabad, the Prime Minister was in a corner, and the Army was looking restive again.Talk of a military coup hung in the air as the Army’s top brass advanced a high-level meeting by a day and met at its Rawalpindi headquarters. The meeting, presided over by Army chief General Raheel Sharif, lasted four hours and delivered a loaded warning to Sharif, saying the situation should be “resolved politically without wasting any time and without recourse to violent means,” ominously adding that the Army “remains committed to playing its part in ensuring security of the state and will never fall short of meeting national aspirations”. Sharif’s office came out a statement of its own, saying that the interior ministry has been “directed to utilise all resources to ensure protection of state institutions without loss of life”, and calling a joint session of Parliament on Tuesday.   Pakistan PM Nawaz SharifThe Army meet came after large-scale violence in Islamabad’s Red Zone that began late on Saturday claimed the lives of three protesters, including a woman, in clashes between security forces and protesters who have besieged the area for 18 days now. The Red Zone houses Pakistan’s Parliament as well as the Presidency, Supreme Court, and Prime Minister’s official residence and has been the site of a massive sit-in protest seeking Sharif’s resignation, and featuring a convergence of supporters of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) leader Tahir-ul-Qadri.Sharif’s political foes weren’t about to quit either. Khan asked all Pakistanis to join him in the protest. “I request all the nation, civil servants, bureaucrats and police to rebel against this illegal government,” he told his supporters, asking officials to “ignore all illegal orders” from the government. “I am prepared to die fighting for the freedom for my people, he said, declaring: “Allah, ya azaadi ya maut (freedom or death).” Echoing Khan’s ultimatum asking Sharif to step down in 24 hours, Qadri said he would “sacrifice” himself.advertisementPakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif. Photo: APSpeaking to Mail Today late on Sunday, Imran Khan made it clear that his party will only resume talks if Sharif resigns. “We will keep on protesting until Nawaz Sharif resigns. I will stand firm even if all of my team and supporters deceive me,” Khan said.Another source told Mail Today that the Army’s quick response force known as ‘Triple One Brigade’ has already reached Islamabad and is in touch with the high command.  This particular brigade has been a key player in previous coups.The rioting began late on Saturday as thousands of Qadri and Khan supporters attempted to storm the prime minister’s residence, and later the Parliament building. The police fired rubber bullets and teargas shells to disperse the violent protesters. Pakistan’s electronic media reported 17 people killed and 500 wounded but doctors confirmed only three dead and 200 injured. “Three people have been killed while more than two hundred were injured,” a spokesperson of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences told Mail Today.As Sunday dawned, the heart of Islamabad looked like a battleground even as sporadic clashes continued. This correspondent witnessed scores of women and children running helter-skelter as policemen fired at will. Many were injured and rushed to hospitals where most were pronounced as critically injured. “They fired teargas shells at us. I witnessed a dozen women falling down after being hit by bullets,” said Ehsanullah, a die-hard supporter of cleric Qadri. Ehsanullah himself received a bullet in leg, and was bleeding profusely.Tahir-ul-Qadri addresses his supporters during an on-going protest near the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, Aug 30, 2014. Photo: APDefence Minister Khwaja Asif said the police action was in self-defence. “Law enforcement agencies were left with no option other than using force to keep protesters away. Sadly it was the protesters who challenged the government’s writ. The police only retaliated,” Asif told Mail Today. Prime Minister Sharif had rushed to Islamabad by noon from his residence in Raiwind near Lahore and held an hour-long meeting with his Cabinet.Insiders told Mail Today that Prime Minister advised his team, comprising Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Defence Minister Asif to invite Imran Khan and Qadri for negotiations. “The government has decided to invite Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri to come across the table for talks. We are waiting for their response,” Rashid told Mail Today.advertisementMeanwhile, in another blow to Imran Khan, PTI president Javed Hashmi broke ranks to criticise his leader for urging a forced entry into the prime minister’s residence. Hashmi made it clear that the former Pakistan cricket captain Khan would be responsible if Army conduct another coup. “Imran Khan will be responsible if Army takes over,” Hashmi told reporters at a press conference. Imran Khan reacted with fury, expelling Hashmi immediately.last_img read more

10 months agoMoyes eyeing Birmingham job

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Moyes eyeing Birmingham jobby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United and Everton boss David Moyes is eyeing the Birmingham City job.The Mirror says the Potters are on the brink of sacking current manager Gary Rowett following his disappointing six months in the hotseat.Moyes, 55, has been out of work since steering West Ham to safety last season – and walking away from the Londoners having failed to agree a new contract.The Scot has been waiting patiently for the right job to come up.He turned down the chance to take over troubled Turkish outfit Fenerbache in the summer. last_img

21 days agoArsenal title winner Smith: Martinelli has striker instincts

first_imgArsenal title winner Smith: Martinelli has striker instinctsby Paul Vegas21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal title winner Alan Smith believes Gabriel Martinelli can play as a striker long-term.He wrote for the London Evening Standard: “Following on from his brace against Nottingham Forest, another two goals last night to soften up Standard Liege spoke of a teenager going places fast. We hear he is better suited long term to a role on the wing, the position where he made his name at Ituano in Brazil. “But his clever movement here suggested otherwise. The near-post dash across his marker to glance home a marvellous header. The skilful shimmy and shot to curl in the second. These aren’t the hallmarks of a winger filling in. They point to a front man with natural goalscoring instincts.”At 18, Martinelli obviously has much to learn. Pitted against better defenders, his hold-up play will need to gain nous. He’ll have to get stronger to protect the ball. But the basic ingredients are in place. He doesn’t need telling how to find space in the box — a wonderful asset for the challenge ahead.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Home Players Enjoy Luck Of The Draw At Australian Open

The draw ceremony last week for the Australian Open turned into a draw celebration for the hosts: Australian tennis players got relatively easy matchups in the first round. Their draws were among the most favorable for a host country’s players since Grand Slam tournaments started awarding prize money in 1968. And so far the Aussies have taken advantage, with three men in the third round for the first time since 2004.Host nations’ national tennis associations run the Grand Slam events, and organizers like to be able to showcase home players. So, a draw like this year’s might look suspicious. But there’s no evidence that hosts rig draws in favor of their players. If anything, home-nation players have had rougher matchups than you’d expect by random chance.The difference is small, but the toughest Slam, even including this year’s draw, has been Australia’s. Last year’s was as tough as this year’s was easy, a point hinted at by Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, at the draw ceremony last week.Draw luck matters a lot in Grand Slam tennis, because most players are placed randomly. In each of the men’s and women’s singles tournaments, just 1 in 4 players gets a seed, which governs roughly — though not precisely — where they’re placed in the first round. The other three-quarters of players could go anywhere. One-third of them have to face a seed, including one unlucky soul who worked all year to make the tournament, only to face the top seed. The other two-thirds get to play another unseeded player.The winners of those matchups get a seeded player in the second round, unless that favorite was upset in the first round. For unseeded players struggling to make ends meet, good draw luck at one of these lucrative events could mean their biggest paycheck of the year.The draw has been so favorable to Australians that three men have reached third-round matches Friday without having to face an opponent with a Top 20 seed. Two of them face each other, which means an Australian man will reach the fourth round for the first time since 2012.That kind of home advantage has been more the exception than the norm. I checked by looking at men’s singles draws back to 1968 and women’s singles draws back to 1981 at all four Grand Slam tournaments, as provided by Jeff Sackmann, who runs tennisabstract.com. The draw sizes and number of seeds varied in the earliest years in the data set. I tossed the draws that had first-round byes and focused only on unseeded players, because they’re the ones most subject to draw luck. I also excluded host-nation players who made their way through the qualifying draw, because they’re usually slotted in after the rest of the draw has been set. Then for each event, I compared how many seeded opponents the home players could have expected to draw in the first round with how many they did.For instance, this year, with a 128-player draw and 32 seeds, each unseeded player had a 1-in-3 chance of drawing a seed in the first round. Eight Australian men and six Australian women were unseeded and reached the main draw without having to play the qualifying tournament. Just two of them drew seeded opponents in the first round. On average, we’d have expected four and two-thirds of them to draw seeded opponents.That makes this year’s Australian Open one of the luckiest draws for the hosts in our data set of 178 Grand Slam events. Just twice was there both a bigger ratio and a bigger gap between expected and actual seeds drawn: at the 2003 Australian Open, when unseeded home players got two seeded opponents instead of the expected five, and at Wimbledon in 2001, when unseeded British players drew just one seed instead of the expected four and two-thirds.But there is no nefarious pattern here. Last year’s Australian Open was one of the worst for hosts, whose unseeded players could have expected to draw 4.5 seeded opponents but instead drew eight. Wimbledon in 2002 was one of the toughest for hosts, a year after the cushy draw. And the favorable 2003 Australian Open draw followed two straight unfavorable ones for the hosts.Overall in the data set, home-nation unseeded players have drawn 4 percent more seeded opponents in the first round than expected by chance. That’s probably a fluke, particularly for the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, where the difference between actual and expected seeded opponents is in the narrow range between -1 percent to 6 percent. The Australian Open has been the toughest for home players, with 16 percent more seeded opponents than expected. It would take a few more draws like this year’s to even that out. read more