Date: 20th April 2019

  • Dhruv Rodgriges Chico is fastest in Visit Grampians Stawell Gift heats
  • Josh Ross through to semi-finals attempting to make history with a 3rd Stawell Gift
  • Alexia Loizou fastest in Strickland Family Women’s Gift heats
  • 800m and 1600m Finals held today
  • Fashions on the Fields winners crowned

Dhruv Rodrigues Chico recorded the fastest time in glorious sunshine in today’s heats of the Visit Grampians Stawell Gift making him a favourite for Monday’s final. 

“I was nervous but very happy with the result and hopefully I can carry that momentum onto Monday,” he said after a time of 11.913 which was the only sub 12 seconds of the day.

Dhruv, whose handicap is 7m, had strong competition from Pyrmont powerhouse from Sydney Leonard King at 12.082, Conor Loughnan from the Sunshine Coast at 12.217 and the early favourite Jason Bailey from Packenham, Melbourne at 12.228.

It was lucky Heat 13 for two-time Stawell Gift winner Josh Ross who won his heat in a time of 12.668 off a mark of 2m.  He could be the first in the history of the 138-year-old event to win the treble.  A confident Ross said: “After a stumble at the start I had to work even harder in the first 30 metres.  I’ve changed a lot of things this year and the results speak for themselves.”

Other favourites for Monday’s crown include Lachland Sheffield, Jara Konteh and Aaron Leferink.

In the Strickland Family Women’s Gift, Alexia Loizou from Frankston in Melbourne clocked the quickest time of the day with 13.856, followed by her teammate and race favourite Fia Fighera with 13.925, Bree Masters with 13.976 and Zoe Neale at 14.032.

Lexi was overwhelmed when she heard her time. “I was very happy with that, the ground was amazing.”  Best friend Fia Fighera said: “It was so nerve wracking to be the favourite, but I like the pressure.  I’ve trained hard with Lexi, so to be one and two for Monday is great.”

Another nervous starter was Stawell first-timer Queenslander Bree Masters who said: “That was really nerve wracking, but now I need to go home, recover tomorrow and come out bigger and better on Monday.”

Defending champion Jacob Despard off 0.75m ran third in his heat and was unable to defend his title.  Elizabeth Forsyth, off 1.25m who ran a blistering 70m heat, placed 4th in Heat 8 with Fia Fighera. While EJ has made it through to the semi’s, with her handicap it looks unlikely she will emulate the great Bill Howard, the only athlete to win back to back Stawell Gifts.

Fastest times in the 70m heats today were Ebony Lane from Baxter at 8.525 and Jesse Cordoma from Sturt, South Australia.  Lane was also 7th fastest in the 120m heats.

In the longer distance races today, five champions were crowned. Matthew Beaman took out the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame Backmarkers 1600m in a time of 4:03.068.  The 2019 Official Supporters Club Stawell Frontmarkers’ Handicap 1600m Final was won by Nathan Crowley in 4:07.484.  The Findex Stawell Women’s Handicap 800m Final winner was Alisha Peeters in 2:07.305.  Charlie Hildyard was the winner of the Hipworth Athletic Club Under 18 800m Final at 1:49.457 and the Little Athletics Handicap 800m was won by Xavier Cross with a time of 1:58.812.

Fashions of the Field added the glamour with winner of Lady of the Day going to Tatiana Collier, 2nd place to Sally Houlihan, Best Hat to Allie Guy, Miss Tween Sophie Hocking and Best Dressed Gent athlete Edward Ware.

Easter Sunday at the 2019 Stawell Gift Carnival is Family day with plenty of off-track action including the incredible Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt in the Central Park Rose Garden. On the track, the finals of the Stawell Athletic Club 70m Women’s Handicap and the Gift Hotel Arthur Postle 70m Handicap headline the straight track action, along with Skillinvest Under 18 (Girls) Handicap 100m and Stawell Times News Under 18 (Boys). Handicap 100m.  Longer distance finals include the Carter Family Victory Restricted Handicap 1600m, the Past Runners Association Women’s and Masters 1600m Handicap and the Grampians Estate WH Earle Handicap.

RESULTS  Full results for Day 1 of the Stawell Gift Carnival are here:

PHOTOS for Day 1 here:

Password SG19.


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