Date: 21st April 2019

Stawell, VIC, April 21, 2019: The favourites for the 2019 Visit Grampians Stawell Gift and the Strickland Family Women’s Gift will face off in the semi-finals tomorrow, with only one in each race to qualify for the richest footrace in Australia.

The male athlete with the fastest time in the heats is Dhruv Rodrigues Chico, he was the only athlete on Saturday to run a sub 12 second time with 11.913. He has been drawn in race 6 with the rated Matt Burleigh. He also had the lowest odds earlier this afternoon with bookmakers at $3.

Jara Konteh, second favourites with the bookies at $3.50 is drawn in the first semi-final against strong contenders Aaron Leferink, Jack Newman and Ballarat’s own Mason Keast.

Jason Bailey, who was at $4.50, is in semi-final 3 with his teammate and also highly favoured Daniel Sonsini. Bailey’s coach Todd Ireland believes Jason has more to give, is feeling relaxed and both are confident for Jason tomorrow in the semi’s.  “Chico will be hard to beat in the finals but I’m confident I’ll be in the mix tomorrow,” said Jason.

Josh Ross has been drawn with 5th fastest heat runner, South Australian Lachlan Sheffield.  He will have his work cut out if he is to make it to the Final of the Men’s Open Gift to attempt a record breaking 3rd Stawell Gift following his two crowns in 2003 and 2005.  Ross is back and feeling stronger than ever he said. “I’m extremely confident about my semi-final tomorrow, pumped to get back out there.”

The Men’s semi-finals start tomorrow (Monday) at 12.23pm, with the Women’s semis kicking off at 11.50am, shortly after the live television coverage on the 7 Network begins at 11.30am AEST.

Following her fastest time in the heats of the Strickland Family Women’s Gift, Alexia Loizou was at $3.50. She is in the same heat with South Australian 15-year-old Ellie Whittingham who won the Stawell Athletic Club Women’s Handicap 70m today.

Loizou’s teammate and best friend Fia Fighera was at the lowest price of $2.25 and will line up in semi-final 5 with backmarker Maddie Coates on -1m ($7.50) and 2017 Women’s Gift winner Liv Ryan at $8.

Third fastest qualifier Bree Masters, the Australian champion beach sprinter from the Gold Coast, is in semi-final 4 at $4.50 in Lane 2 next to Mia Gross ($16) in Lane 1.

In the mix is Lauren Wells, current Australian 400m champion in semi-final 4, who clocked the 8th fastest heat time but she will have to get past Hana Basic and Cara Boustead.  Lauren was at $5 with bookmakers earlier today.

The popular 70m races drew much attention from the crowd today with Michael Hanna from Connells Point in Sydney taking the Gift Hotel Arthur Postle Handicap 70m in a time of 7.60.  Michael is trained by his father Robert Hanna and is also in heat 4 of the Visit Grampians Stawell Gift semi’s tomorrow up against Conor Loughnan. “To get the start right then to get up and run faster than both my heat and semi just when it counted was amazing,” said Michael who is the current Under 19 World Beach Sprint and Flags champion.

Ellie Whittingham’s coach Peter Burdett said: “It’s great to come away with the 70m sash after training up for the 400m Under 16’s at the track Nationals where she finished 2nd in a huge personal best.  So, to freshen up and win the 70m at Stawell is a fantastic result.”

On the circular track Dean Ryan won the Carter Family Victory Restricted Handicap 1600m, Lauren McHugh won the Past Runners Association Women’s and Masters’ Handicap 1600m, and Samuel Sabbatucci took out the Grampians Estate WH Earle Handicap 550m.

Easter Sunday at the 2019 Stawell Gift Carnival was Family Day with plenty of off-track action including the incredible Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt in the Central Park Rose Garden, the MattyB kids’ athletics clinic this morning and Kelly Sports arts and crafts, games and sports activities this afternoon.


Full results for Day 2 of the Stawell Gift Carnival are at:


Day 2 Photo gallery is Please use the password SG19 to access the images and credit all images to Luke Hemer.

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