Date: 9th April 2023

The hotly contested 70m finals were awarded today while the draws for the 2023 Powercor Stawell Gift and the Change Our Game Women’s Gift semi-finals were announced in advance of tomorrow, Easter Monday. 

Easter Monday is finals day with the Change Our Game Women’s Gift Semi Finals commencing at 12.14pm with the final at 1:50pm. The Powercor Stawell Gift Semi Finals start at 12:53pm with the final at 2:20pm.

Four previous Mens Gift and one Womens Gift champion are in the semi-finals, where only the winner of each semi goes through to the time-honoured finals on Easter Monday afternoon.

Ryan Tarrant, the Melbourne University science student from Malvern East had the fastest heat time in the Powercor Stawell Gift heats along with South Australian Olivia Hastings for the Change Our Game Womens Gift.

Former Powercor Stawell Gift winners Isaac Dunmall (2016), Jacob Despard (2018) and Dhruv Rodrigues Chico (2019) and defending champion Harrison Kerr all won their heats and Matt Rizzo the 2017 winner placed 2nd in heat 3. Grace O’Dwyer, who won the Strickland Family Women’s Gift in 2015 is through to semis with the second fastest heat time.

Australian 200m national champion, Jake Doran is the backmarker in semi final 1 off a mark of 0.5m and will have to chase down a field which includes the highly favoured Saye Morris off 5m.

2019 Powercor Stawell Gift Champion Dhruv Rodrigues Chico, fresh off a second place at the Australian Track and Field Championships, is off 0.75m in semi 2 against Matt Rizzo, the 2017 champion off 3.75m. Jacob Despard, 3rd placed in the 100m National final last weekend is starting at 1.25m against one of the favourites in 2016 winner Isaac Dunmall at 6m. Defending champion Harrison Kerr is off 2.5m in semi 5 but will have to contend with another race favourite Nick Antoninio.

Following her fastest time in the heats of the Change our Game Women’s Gift, South Australian Olivia Hastings will be in semi 6 in Lane 4 wearing yellow. Second fastest in the heats was 2015 winner Grace O’Dwyer who will be in semi 5, Lane 3 in blue and will be aiming to be only the second woman to win the prestigious professional running race twice. Sally Pearson trained hurdler Hannah Jones is in white in Lane 2 of the first semi final.

In today’s 70m action Ruby Holten took out the Stawell Athletic Club Women’s Handicap 70m and Daniel Sammut the Arthur Postle Handicap 70m.

Holten, who looked sensational after the Saturday heats, was the hot favourite after the semis, winning in a time of 8.235s off 8.5m despite sustaining a hamstring injury on the finish line.  

The firefighter from Melbourne who usually works weekends so hasn’t been able to compete at many regional Gifts this season, took two weeks off work to train and come to Stawell. She is the President of the Sandringham Athletics Club and is coached by Justin Lewis, brother of Tamsyn Manou.

“I love coming to Stawell,” said Ruby as she thanked the VAL, the Stawell Athletic Club and paid tribute to her squad, partner, friends and family. She said it was extra special to win a sash after six years and recently suffering from long covid. When asked whether the win was worth the injury, her answer was a resounding “Yes!”

In a tight finish Daniel Sammut won the Arthur Postle Handicap 70m in a time of 7.533s off a mark of 11.75m from the clear favourite Jack Lacey. The 44-year-old from Ourimbah on the Central Coast of NSW made an emotional tribute to his coach Paul Singleton, himself a winner of both the same 70m race and the Stawell Gift in 1984.

“This is history,” said Daniel, “This event goes back to the goldfields, beyond us to generations before and it is part of what rural Australia was founded on. It means so much to win a sash in such an historical and iconic place.”

The Stawell Times News Under 18 Boys Handicap 100m was won by Jarvis Cartledge and the SkillInvest Under 18 Girls Handicap 100m was won by Amber Van Eede. James Moore took out the VAL Under 14 Handicap.

On the circle track Tommy Williams won the Carter Family Victory Restricted Handicap 1600m in a time of 4:14.241s, Sean Davidson won the Stawell Athletic Club Frontmarkers 1600m in 4:3.846s and Toby Cook took out the WH Earle Handicap 550m in 1:8.447.

Headlining the distance events tomorrow will be the Invitational Women’s 1000m featuring the best Australian female middle distance runners including Jessica Hull, Abbey Caldwell, Linden Hall, Catriona Bisset, Georgia Griffith, Claudia Hollingsworth and Skyring. 

The unique 1000m distance will see current 1500m and 800m champions compete together for a share of $15,000 prize money, with $5,000 for the winner.  Australian 1500m champion Jessica Hull will go head-to-head against Abbey Caldwell with both starting on scratch. 800m national title holder Catriona Bisset will start off 6m.

Colour # First Name Surname Handicap
Red 1 Jessica Hull 0
White 2 Abbey Caldwell 0
Blue 3 Georgia Griffith 2
Yellow 4 Linden Hall 2
Green 5 Catriona Bisset 8
Pink 6 Claudia Hollingsworth 10
Black 7 Maudie Skyring 20

The Invitational Women’s Handicap will take place at 1.35pm on Easter Monday, April 10, 2023 and will be featured in the live national broadcast on Seven. 

Easter Monday at the Powercor Stawell Gift is broadcast live and free on Seven from 11:30am – 2:30pm AEST. All races outside of the Seven broadcast will be livestreamed on 7Plus.

Tickets for Easter Monday are available from Ticketek or at the Box Office at the gate. 

RESULTS Full results for Day 2 of the Power Stawell Gift Carnival are here  

PHOTOS for Day 2 are here:  

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