Wide open Australia Post Stawell Gift set to thrill on Easter Monday

Date: 20th April 2014

After day one of the 2014 Australia Post Stawell Gift, it remains still one of the widest open Gifts in recent times.
Several athletes have staked a claim to contend for the Final come Easter Monday, including 2008 Australia Post Stawell Gift winner Sam Jamieson.Brisbane’s Isaac Dunmall posted the quickest time of the 22 heats, with 12.32 seconds. Dunmall, 2013 semi-finalist and winner of the Gift Hotel Arthur Postle 70m, is looking to impress over the Gift distance of 120m. Within Dunmall’s heat, Hawthorn East runner Luke Versace posted the third quickest time, running 12.35 seconds.Victorian Augustine Carty-Cowling won his heat defeating the Gift’s Backmarker Joel Bee, in a time of 12.34 seconds to stake his claim as a contender come Easter Monday. Carty-Cowling is hoping to improve on his recent runner-up performances at Ballarat and Stonnington Gifts come Monday.

The favourite going into the heats, 2008 Australia Post Stawell Gift winner Sam Jamieson won his heat with a time of 12.40 seconds.

Jamieson is confident going into Monday semi-finals, saying he is in better shape than the year he won.

“I am in good shape and have better self-belief,” Jamieson said.

Easter Monday shapes up to provide onlookers and punters with many more surprises, with several other athletes in the mix to take out the attractive $40,000 winners cheque.

Australia’s fastest woman over 100m, Melissa Breen, held her own against the men, running 12.95 seconds to finish third behind last year’s champion Andrew Robinson, but failed to progress past the heats.

“I am very happy to have been able to break 13 seconds,” Melissa said.

“It was a tough gig out there taking on the men as they are all in great shape. I’m obviously disappointed not to make it through but I will attempt again one day to make it to the semi’s.”

With her race commitments over Melissa Breen replaced her running gear for something a little more glamorous as she took on the role of judge of the 2014 Driscoll, McIllree & Dicksinson Fashions on the Field. Almost 60 ladies and gents strutted their stuff on the catwalk this year, with Geelong’s Alexandra Guy taking this year’s title.

In the day’s two finals, Victorian Daniel Veith picked up the Official Supporters Club Stawell Frontmarkers 1600m Handicap Final, winning in 4 minutes 01.77 seconds. This finishes off a great season for Veith, who has taken out four races in the Victorian Athletic League ranks including the Rye 800m.

Stawell Gift Hall of Fame Backmarker’s 1600m Handicap was taken out by Stawell’s own Ashley Cowen who won in a very fast 3 minutes 55.10 seconds off a mark of 170m.  Both finalists are trained by Stawell Gift Hall of Fame inductee and renowned trainer Mark Hipworth.

Top 20 Fastest times – 2014 Australia Post Stawell Gift Heats

Isaac Dunmall 12.32s
Augustine Carty-Cowling 12.34s
John Adams 12.35s
Luke Versace 12.35s
Simon Jackson 12.39s
Christopher Innes-Wong12.40s
Kevin Brittain 12.40s
Sam Jamieson 12.40s
Edward Ware 12.43s
Ryan Camille 12.47s
Nick MacGibbon 12.48s
Will Johns 12.51s
Luke Stevens 12.51s
Joel Bee 12.52s
Robert Spencer 12.54s
Paul Tancredi 12.55s
David Afath 12.56s
David Gross 12.58s
Luke Houlhan 12.58s
Luke Phelan 12.58s

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