Wide open field for Gift semis

Date: 8th April 2012

Jamaican sprint sensation Michael Frater, the flamboyant John Steffensen, engineering student Josh Tiu, school teacher Kevin Brittain and AFL boundary umpire Adam Coote all feature in tomorrow’s 2012 Australia Post Stawell Gift semi finals, the prelude to the grand finale at 2:45pm.

The 2012 Australia Post Stawell Gift is a wide open affair, with only 0.15 seconds separating the 12 fastest times from Saturday’s heats.

Only the winner of each semi-final progresses through to the final of the Australia Post Stawell Gift, where there is $40,000 prize money on offer for the winner and a place in the history books of Australia’s most prestigious footrace.

The Australia Post Stawell Gift semi-finals (12:40pm) and the 131st running of the Gift final (2:45pm) headline a packed day of finals racing action on Monday, which also includes Australian distance star Craig Mottram over two miles at 1:40pm.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.stawellgift.com or at the gate.

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.

Here is a preview to tomorrow’s 2012 Australia Post Stawell Gift semi finals (heat times in brackets):

Semi-Final 1

Red                  Michael Frater            Jamaica                       0                (12.35)

White              Adrian Mott                Hawthorn                    5                 (12.38)

Blue                 Matthew Hargreaves  Tarneit                        7.25           (12.37)

Yellow             Matthew Short            WA                              8                 (12.49)

Green              Jaryd Cowley               ACT                              9.25           (12.49)

Pink                 Douglas Greenough    East Bentleigh             9.5              (12.28)

Black               Peter O’Dwyer            Ballarat                       10.5            (12.28)

4x100m relay world record holder Michael Frater’s only Gift running experience is his heat, where he ran the fastest time ever from the scratch mark in the Stawell Gift’s illustrious 131 year history. With contrasting experience, Ballarat’s Peter O’Dwyer lines up for his 25th Stawell Gift off a mark of 10.5m. Both will be competitive, but it’s East Bentleigh’s Douglas Greenough off 9.5m who is favoured to go through to the final after recording the sixth fastest heat time.

Semi-Final 2

Red                  Aaron Rouge-Serret                Boronia                       3.25       (12.41)

White              Carl Morehouse                      Chelsea Heights          6.25       (12.44)

Blue                 Benjamin Weaver                   Mt Eliza                       7.5        (12.39)

Yellow             Ian Hinton                               NSW                            8             (12.33)

Green              Shaun Hargreaves                   Werribee                     8.25       (12.28)

Pink                 Paul Tancredi                          Oak Park                     9.25        (12.38)

Black               Shane Woodrow                      Lake Gardens              10.75     (12.26)

National 100m champion Aaron Rouge-Serret will have his work cut out for him from his 3.25m mark with Shaun Hargreaves, Shane Woodrow and Paul Tancredi looking more impressive in their heats. In a unique feat Hargreaves’ brothers, Matthew and Chris, have also made it through to the semi-finals, but it is Shaun who is best placed to progress through to the final.

Semi-Final 3

Red                  Aaron Stubbs                           Queensland                 4.75     (12.29)

White              Joshua McCabe                       Queensland                 6.5       (12.48)

Blue                 John Nicolosi                           Pascoe Vale                 7.5        (12.46)

Yellow             Matthew Wiltshire                  Alfredton                     8           (12.21)

Green              Tim Eschebach                        NSW                            8.5        (12.34)

Pink                 Matthew Eddy                         Narre Warren             9.5        (12.33)

Black               Ryan Camille                           Wheelers Hill              11         (12.48)

Ballarat’s Matthew Wiltshire was the $3 favourite prior to the running of the heats and qualified through to the semi-finals with the fourth fastest time. 2009 Stawell Gift winner Aaron Stubbs will be his major threat. The 21-year-old Queenslander has an air of mystique around him this year, having only decided to compete on Wednesday but then looking strong in winning his heat.

Semi-Final 4

Red                  Joel Bee                       Ballarat                       4.25     (12.40)

White              Bryce Teo                    WA                              7           (12.40)

Blue                 Stuart Bainbridge        NSW                            7.5        (12.47)

Yellow             Chris Hargreaves        Werribee                     8.75      (12.49)

Green              Michael Bolton           Frankston South          8.75       (12.29)

Pink                 Matthew Harvey         Keysborough               11          (12.51)

Black               Adam Coote                Elwood                        11          (12.20)

AFL boundary umpire Adam Coote was the third fastest heat winner only two days after officiating the Brisbane-Carlton match at the Gabba, where he ran approximately 15km. With a day of recuperation he is expected to be fresh for Easter Monday. Frankston personal trainer Michael Bolton has the tenth fastest heat time and will be Coote’s main challenge.

Semi-Final 5

Red                  Gary Finegan               Queensland                 4.5      (12.45)

White              Kevin Brittain              Grovedale                   6.75      (12.19)

Blue                 Ben Mispelhorn          Queensland                 7          (12.55)

Yellow             James Lobley               Brighton                      8          (12.50)

Green              Paul Cracroft-Wilson  Queensland                 8.5       (12.30)

Pink                 Edward Ware              NSW                            8.75      (12.45)

Black               Glenn Ross                  WA                              11         (12.42)

Despite being drawn in the most competitive semi-final school teacher Kevin Brittain is favoured to make his third consecutive Stawell Gift final after recording the second fastest heat time. His main competition will come from Queensland beach sprinters Paul Cracroft-Wilson and Ben Mispelhorn and fellow Gift finalist from last year Edward Ware.

Semi-Final 6

Red                  Andrew McCabe                     Queensland                 3.25      (12.56)

White              John Steffensen                       NSW                            6            (12.30)

Blue                 Shaun Fletcher                        NSW                            7            (12.48)

Yellow             Cole Unasa                              WA                              8            (12.34)

Green              Fabrice Melanie                      Noble Park                  9            (12.41)

Pink                 Josh Tiu                                   Doncaster                    10.75     (12.15)

Black               Marcus Cooper                       Ararat                          11          (12.76)

22-year-old engineering student Josh Tiu is the Stawell Gift favourite after recording the fastest heat time, but has a reputation for tightening up under pressure. Former Commonwealth Games 400m champion John Steffensen has a competitive mark at 6 metres; the big-time performer could cause an upset


The Australia Post Stawell Gift semi-finals (12:40pm) and the 131st running of the Gift final (2:45pm) headline a packed day of finals racing action on Monday.

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.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.stawellgift.com or at the gate.

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