Day Two Easter Sunday Wrap; 70m winners crowned and Herb winner to go upgainst Peter Bol

Date: 31st March 2024

The hotly contested 70m finals were awarded today while the draws for the 2024 Powercor Stawell Gift and the Change Our Game Women’s Gift semi-finals were announced in advance of tomorrow, Easter Monday. The field for the all new adidas Invitational 1000m featuring Peter Bol field is also confirmed.

In today’s 70m races Chloe Kinnersly took out the Stawell Athletic Club Women’s Handicap 70m and Aaron Peter-Budge the SYPAQ Arthur Postle Handicap 70m.

The Peter O’Dwyer trained Kinnersly was swamped by the training group, as the favourite came through with the performance to win the chocolates on Easter Sunday.

“I have won a junior race here before, but this is the biggest win of my career.  So many people helped me.  It means absolutely everything to me.  I’m the first person in my squad to win the 70m here,” the 18-year-old nursing student said.  

On his first visit to Stawell, Aaron Peter-Budge completed a fairytale weekend taking the 70m crown.  The Shane McKenzie trained Mitcham man smashed his start and bolted to victory off 4.25m.

“This is awesome.  It’s my first time doing Stawell, so to come out of it with the win is brilliant,” the 22-year-old fire technician said.

Easter Monday is finals day with the Change Our Game Women’s Gift Semi Finals commencing at 12:00pm with the final at 1:45pm. The Powercor Stawell Gift Semi Finals start at 12:43pm with the final at 2:20pm.

Endale Mekonnen, the 20 year old Logistics worker from Hoopers Crossing in Victoria had the fastest heat time in the Powercor Stawell Gift heats along with Northcliff Surf Club Nipper manager Chloe Mannix-Power. Chloe is a two time Australian beach sprint champion and is coached by the Gold Coast’s Brett Robinson.

Robinson could take the record for a trainer with the most number of Stawell Gift (men’s and women’s) winners which is currently held by the late, great Ferg Speakman if Chloe takes the crown tomorrow. Brett also had a chance with Powercor Stawell Gift semi finalist and one of the pre-event favourites Bradley Hunt who had the fifth fastest time in the heats yesterday.

Both favourites will have a nervous wait, as they each drew the sixth and final semi final.  

Mannix-Power will wear the red off her mark of 4.25m.  Angelina Windshuttle will take some catching, after a comfortable victory in her heat.  The 18 year old University of Sydney student ran 13.56 defeating the defending champion Bella Pasquali by almost a second and will run in the yellow in semi-final 2.  

Chloe Kinnersly will look to follow in the footsteps of Carla Bull who won the 70m and Gift double in 2022.  The Ballarat athlete clocked 13.50 off 9.75m and will be hoping to get her recovery right overnight to be in with a chance in the big dance.  She will wear the green in semi-final 4.

While Jemma Pollard enters Easter Monday as the second fastest from the heats.  After her 13.48 heat time, she’ll wear the blue in semi-final 5 where she runs off 8.75m.

In the open Powercor Stawell Gift, Mekonnen will look to go one better than his semi-final last year to progress to the final and will don the green off 7m.

In semi-final 5, all eyes will be on Jack Lacey who looked supreme in his 12.15second heat victory.  Somewhat forgotten after the excitement of Mekonnen’s opener, Lacey will walk to the blocks wearing the black as one of the favourites.  

After running 12.20 in his heat, Maki Loukeris will be hoping the pink is good luck once again, as he wears the same colour in semi-final 4. 

Semi-final 3 will be an interesting family battle, between Jake Ireland and Bailey Culbert.  Ireland’s father Todd made three finals in his long running career.  While Culbert’s father David also made the semi’s at Stawell in between being a world class long jumper and will be calling the race from the Channel 7 commentary box.  Or will it be Ryan Singleton to follow in his father’s footsteps 40 years ago to progress through and take the title?

The winners of today’s Under 18’s finals were a brother and sister duo. The Stawell Times News Under 18 Boys Handicap 100m was won by Joel-cedric Ebomo Zoalang and the SkillInvest Under 18 Girls Handicap 100m by Madiha Aaliyah Zoalang Mouri-florent. Alfie Oglethorpe took out the VAL Under 14 Handicap.

On the circle track Lachlan Perdon won the Carter Family Victory Restricted Handicap 1600m in a time of 4:25:088, Olivia Attard won the Official Supporters Club Frontmarkers 1600m in 4:0:035 and Sean Davidson took out the WH Earle Handicap 550m in 1:7:905.

Headlining the distance events tomorrow will be the adidas Invitational 1000m featuring top Australian middle distance runner Peter Bol. 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.  

The race includes Dr Michael Ryde, the winner of the prestigious Herb Hedemann Invitation Handicap 1600m today. “I was 93kgs and went down to the track with my mate Rowey (former Aus 800m record holder) to get fit. I came second here in 2015 and it means so much to win now,” said the Mark Hipworth trained Ryde. “I’m looking forward to racing against the great Peter Bol tomorrow!”

The adidas Invitational 1000m will take place at 1.25pm.

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. 




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