Favourites Impress on Easter Saturday at Powercor Stawell Gift Carnival

Date: 3rd April 2021

Stawell, Vic, April 3, 2021: South Australian’s Luke Houlihan and Hayley Orman recorded the fastest times in glorious sunshine in today’s heats of the Powercor Stawell Gift and the Change Our Game Women’s Gift, making them both favourites for Easter Monday’s finals. 

“I was happy with the win in the heat,” Luke said after a time of 12.11 “but it’s one step at a time and we’ll have to see how the semis go.”

Second quickest in the Powercor Stawell Gift heats was Edward Ware in 12.190 off a mark of 9.75m and third was the 16-year-old Victorian champion Jack Boulton off 5.75m in 12.223.

In the Change Our Game Women’s Gift, Hayley Orman from Coromandel Valley in Adelaide clocked the quickest time of the day with 13.819 off a mark of 9.75m, followed by Dianne Waight off 5.75m in 13.912 and Ellie Keratianos in 13.925.

2019 runner up and backmarker Fia Fighera is also in the mix for Monday with a time of 13.96 off 1m. “I was really happy with my heat today, it felt good to run the cobwebs out and I’m pumped for the semis on Easter Monday,” said Fia.

Defending Powercor Stawell Gift champion Dhruv Rodrigues Chico, whose handicap is 0.75m, won the final heat of Open 120m Handicap in 12.785. He said “I had the luxury to shut off at the end and save my energy.  Hopefully I can bring the same results (from the Victorian Championships in the 100m and 200m) on Monday and win back to back Gifts.  It’s flattering to be the backmarker, I thought I would be off scratch but the lift might just make the difference on Monday.”

2018 champion Jacob Despard, off 1.25m, won in his heat in 12.559.

Other favourites for Monday’s Powercor Stawell Gift title include the next fastest in order – Jake Ireland, Sebastian Baird, Matt Burleigh, Dion Paull and Spencer Browne.

Other Change Our Game Women’s Gift favourites include Hayley Orman’s South Australian training partner Hayley Openshaw, 14-year-old Grace Kelly, Chiara Santiglia, Elizabeth Ruach and Karlee Bailey.

Orman said: “I’m just here to do my best and I’ll be happy with whatever happens. I’m here to run fast but also to have fun. To win would be beyond my wildest imagination. We’re going to have a chilled day in Halls Gap tomorrow and see the sights of the Grampians.”

The youngest competitor in the Change Our Game Women’s Gift, 14-year-old Grace Kelly, was able fight off the competition in her heat winning in a time of 14.028 off 4.25m. “I was really excited, it was tough, but it was good.  It’s my first year in the Open so we’ll see how it goes.”

Fastest times in the 70m heats today were Olivia May in the Stawell Athletic Club Women’s Handicap and Jerome Lugo in the Arthur Postle Handicap.

In today’s longer distance races, five champions were crowned. Brad Kitto took out the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame Backmarkers 1600m in a time of 4:03.285.  The 2019 Official Supporters Club Stawell Frontmarkers’ Handicap 1600m Final was won by David Page in 4:04.028.  The Stawell Women’s Handicap 800m Final winner was ­­­­­­Sophie Stokes in 02:03.4.  Joshua Augustinus was the winner of the Hipworth Athletic Club Under 18 800m Final at 1:52.314 and the Little Athletics Handicap 800m was won by Bradley Carter with a time of 2:04.720.

Headlining the events tomorrow, Easter Sunday, will be the finals of the Stawell Athletic Club 70m Women’s Handicap and the Arthur Postle 70m Handicap, along with Skillinvest Under 18 (Girls) Handicap 100m and Stawell Times News Under 18 (Boys) Handicap 100m.  Distance finals include the Carter Family Victory Restricted Handicap 1600m, the Past Runners Association Women’s and Masters 1600m Handicap and the WH Earle Handicap.

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


PHOTOS for Day 1 here: https://lukehemer.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Powercor-Stawell-Gift-2021/C00004_NU8l.qqMQ

Tickets for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are available from Ticketek or at the Box Office at the gate. Easter Sunday action from Central Park will be livestreamed on the Stawell Gift Facebook page and YouTube Channel



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