30 years since Jason “Richo” Richardson wins the Stawell Gift

Date: 22nd March 2023

“The early ‘whisper’ for the 1993 Stawell Gift was a tall, strong runner from South Caulfield by the name of Jason Richardson. Despite rumours circulating that Richardson was suffering from stress fractures, news had spread of the 23-year-old having recorded some remarkable times in training trials,” begins the entry to the 1993 chapter of the Almanac, A History of the Stawell Gift.

The recollection elaborates further on the betting odds tumbling from 16/1 down to 5/1 and eventually 5/4 by the end of Good Friday night’s Calling of the Card as Richardson was virtually the only runner the public wanted to back, despite the presence of 1990 winner and 100m Australian champion Dean Capobianco.  Trainer Graeme ‘Goldie’ Goldsworthy and his camp arrived to find other punters had taken all the good early odds. “Apparently, an unknown punter had privately clocked Richardson who won his last secret trial in 11.7 seconds.”

Jason A Richardson of course went on to win the final in 11.94 seconds off 7.5m, with Capo off scratch in 4th place. “It’s the ultimate, I just can’t believe it, I dreamed about it for about a year,” he said shortly after the win. 

Richardson had won the 100m Bill Howard handicap final the year before off 6m in 10.58 seconds and went on to win the 120m Invitation Backmarkers the following year in 1994.

Today ‘Richo’ is synonymous with Australia’s richest footrace and in 2023 was appointed an ambassador for the Easter event.

Recalling the race of his life last month, he said: “It means the world to me, still to this day. I ran a lot faster during my career post Stawell ’93, but it’s THE RACE that everyone remembers in the career of the lucky few who are privileged enough to earn the title Stawell Gift Winner.

“Gosh I’d love to do it again, feel like that again. I’d give up the title, risk not winning it, just to experience it all over again. The build-up, the anticipation, the nerves, the acceleration, the exhilaration, the sense of accomplishment … THE BEST!”

Richo is quick to point out his appreciation of the honour and prestige that comes with the title of Stawell Gift Winner and he enjoys coming back to present the live broadcast segment for the Seven network.

“It has been an absolute blessing that I do not ever take for granted. Still to this day, some 30 years on, there is rarely a week that goes by where I don’t hear the term “a Stawell Gift winner”.

“Love it! (working at Stawell) I’m the lucky one that through my broadcasting career has the great honour of interviewing the newest winners, the newest members of our special ‘Club’.

“The financial future of the Stawell Gift is imperative for the pro running fraternity, and I’m so pleased to see the corporate investment from a huge company like Powercor and the event showcased on live Free to Air commercial TV nationally through Channel 7. We are in a great position to launch this iconic event into the next phase, and hopefully another 100+ years!”


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