Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 5th April 2012
The track has been measured, the hallowed Central Park turf has been manicured to perfection and a stellar cast has been assembled for the 131st running of Australia’s richest and most prestigious footrace – the Australia Post Stawell Gift.
On Easter Monday at 2:45pm, one lucky runner will take home the $40,000 first prize and write their name into the history books of one of the nation’s most iconic sporting events.
Kicking off this Friday night at the Calcutta, it’s shaping up to be a blockbuster 2012 carnival. This year’s Gift field is headlined by two of the fastest men on the planet – 2003 world 100m champion Kim Collins (St Kitts & Nevis) and world 4x100m relay world record holder Michael Frater (Jamaica).
Frater will attempt to become just the third man history to win the Gift from scratch, whilst Collins, off one metre, is looking to settle unfinished business after being knocked out in the semi finals last year. Both believe they are in the form to chase down the field and take Australia’s biggest athletics prize back home to the Caribbean.
And not forgetting top class Australian athletes led by Craig Mottram, John Steffensen, Aaron Rouge-Serret, Brendan Cole, Lauren Boden, Melissa Breen, Jeff Riseley and Kaila McKnight all wanting a slice of the total $120,000 in prize money on offer across the weekend’s events.
Following the release of the Gift market yesterday, punters will be in for an interesting weekend with an open field resulting in tight odds across the board.
There has been an early plunge on Ballarat sprinter Matthew Wiltshire who has shortened from $9 into $3.50 today. There’s also good support for former Jamaican Olympic bobsledder Khan Marr at $7 and Paul Tancredi at $8.
Out of the backmarkers, Michael Frater is at $13, along with reigning Australian 100m champion Aaron Rouge-Serret. Kim Collins and John Steffensen are both sitting at $17.
$3.50 Matthew Wiltshire
$7 Khan Marr
$8 Paul Tancredi
$11 Shaun Hargreaves
$13 Michael Frater, Sam Jamieson, Aaron Rouge-Serret
$15 Michael Bolton, Liam Dooley, Josh Tiu, Edward Ware
$17 Kim Collins, Jaryd Cowley, Douglas Greenough, John Steffenson
$21 Kevin Brittain, Tim Eschebach, Matthew Hargreaves, Adrian Mott
$26 or better – others
(Source: TAB Sportsbet)
Ensuring the event remains ‘Ever Foremost’, the Stawell Athletic Club is grateful for the support of all event sponsors including Australia Post, with 2012 marking the 18th year of their long term partnership. In addition, the Victorian Government who have invested $600,000 to secure the future of the event until 2015.
“As one of the marquee sporting events of regional Victoria, the Victorian Government is proud to support the Australia Post Stawell Gift,” said Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon. Hugh Delahunty MP.
“This funding is a reflection of our strong commitment to work with the Stawell Athletic Club to ensure the Gift continues to attract world-class athletes, big crowds, drive economic activity and encourage us all to get more active, more often, at a community level and beyond.
“In this an Olympic year, it is a credit to event organisers who have attracted two of the world’s best sprinters in Kim Collins and Michael Frater to Central Park, along with the stars of Australian athletics. It’s testimony to the growing international reputation of the Gift.”
The 2012 Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival will be staged over the Easter long weekend from Friday, 6 April to Monday, 9 April 2012.
The Gift carnival features four action-packed days of entertainment for the whole family, including the Driscoll, McIllree & Dickinson Fashions on the Field, a bookies ring, XXXX GOLD beer garden retreat, children’s activities and much more.
The heats of the Gift will be staged on Saturday from 1pm, with the semi finals from 12:40pm on Easter Monday, followed by the 131st running of the Gift final at 2:45pm.
For those who can’t make it to Central Park this Easter, tune into the live broadcast on ONE from midday to 3pm on Easter Monday.
2012 Australia Post Stawell Gift – Carnival Schedule
Friday, 6 April – Calcutta & Call of the Card, Stawell Entertainment Centre (from 6:30pm)
Saturday, 7 April – Driscoll, McIllree & Dickinson Ladies Day, Central Park (from 9:50am)
Sunday, 8 April – Family Day, Central Park (from 10:15am)
Monday, 9 April – Australia Post Stawell Gift Finals Day, Central Park (from 11:00am)
Tickets can be purchased online at www.stawellgift.com or at the gate.
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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