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Top Six SMOKEY Selections

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1 Top Six SMOKEY Selections on Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:56 pm


Stawell's history is full of stories about athletes emerging from literally nowhere to run significantly quicker than they had previously to give the Gift a shake. Only have to look back to Ben Vickery's crack on the title in 2008 or Gary Finegan who missed the final in 2007 after the fastest heat time. Who can remember a huge plunge on Chris Hickey that forced the handicapper to re-visit his performances and pull his mark back. Probably the most successful in the last 20 years or so was Daniel Millard in 1997 who was a raw novice with nothing in his history (apart from being related to the first Stawell Gift winner, Bill Millard) to suggest he could run sub 12.1s off his mark.

So we've come up with Six Smokies from left field. None are in the Protrack Top 20, but there's something in their history to show that at some stage they could run a bit. Not suggesting they are going to massively improve on recent performances, but one of them could certainly turn up and cause a boil over, so might be worth watching in the heats.

I've lifted their profiles from the Form Guide.


Christopher Eather (Sandringham) 11.00 T: Justin Lewis
In his first season, he won the Rye 70m Novice (7.83s off 4.75m) and ran 2nd in the Rye Open 70m (7.87s off 4.75m). He then ran 3rd in the 100m ( 10.59s off 6.00m) and 2nd in the 70m at Sandringham before running a reasonable 12.85s off 7.00m in his Stawell Gift debut in 2009. Appeared to be in for a successful career but had a horror 2009/2010 season failing to get past a heat in all 15 starts and finishing up running 13.50s off 8.50m in his 2010 Stawell Gift heat. Finally made a semi (over 70m) at Noble Park in February 2011 but again failed to get past a heat for the rest of this season, running 13.02s off 10.00m in his 2011 Stawell Gift heat. This season he’s had another 21 starts without advancing to a semi or final. His last three Gift starts have been very ordinary – Avondale Heights (13.46s off 9.75m), Keilor (13.51s off 10.00m) and Noble Park (13.37s off 10.00m). Hard to imagine it’s the same bloke who made 4 finals in his first two meets and ran 12.85s off only 7.00m at Stawell in 2009. Current form says no but it’s hard to ignore his impressive first season only 3 years ago.

Bangalie Kieta (NSW) 5.00 T: Paul Hallam??
Sierra Leone athlete who was one of 14 athletes from that country who went missing following the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Settled in Sydney and won the 2010 Macksville Gift (13.14s off 4.75m) netting him $3,000. Ran 4th in the Temora Gift in NSW (12.77 off 4.0m) in February 2011. He has run 10.68s for 100m (10/4/2010) and 21.75s for 200m (20/2/2010). Yet to run in Victoria so will be making his Stawell Gift debut. In December he was an impressive winner of the first heat of the Bay Sheffield in (12.91s off 4.00m) before running 2nd in the semi final to James Cibich. Has run a few amateur races in Sydney with a season’s best 100m best time of 10.84 (+0.5). Comes into this with solid NSWAL form, running 4th at Temora (12.55s off 4.25m) before running a very close 2nd in the Lithgow Gift (1282s off 4.25m) in February beaten 1/100th second behind the winner Tom Paavola. Quality runner who should be in the semis on Monday.

Dylan Panizza (WA) 8.50 T: Glenn Ross
Won the 2010 Mullewa Gift (11.98s off 12.25m) and the 2010 Dardanup Gift (12.4s off 9.75m) before having his first start in the Bay Sheffield in 2010, running 3rd in the semi final. (12.62s off 9.00m). Ran 6th in the 2011 Mullewa Gift and 6th again in the Dardanup Gift (12.20s off 8.50m). He won the 70m at the Bay Sheffield carnival before again, running 3rd in his semi final (off 8.50m). Has been to four VAL meets this season making the Gift semi final at Albury (12.77s off 7.0m) and surprisingly running 2nd in the Euroa Gift (12.66s off 7.25m). Hasn't run since Euroa and has shown enough at the Bay Sheffield carnival over the last two years that he is up for the task.

Matthew Short (WA) 8.00 T: Paul Edmiston
A 19 year old member of the North Beach track squad in Perth. He was 4th in the 120m Mullewa Gift in August running approx 12.4s off 10.25m. Won the Dardanup Gift on 3rd Sept in a super fast time (12.02s off 10.25m). In December he was an impressive heat winner at the Bay Sheffield (12.59s off 8.50m) beating a previous finalist in David Gross before running 3rd in his semi final. Is making his Stawell Gift debut and has been kept safe - back 0.50m from his Bay Sheffield mark. Very promising type and will be one to watch in the heats.

Andrew Waldron (Essendon) 11.00 T: Brad Carter
Looked to be a promising type when he won the 2009 St Albans Novice 120m (12.83s off 7.75m) in his first season. But since then has never made a Gift final and his times seem to be getting slower. This season he has rarely got past a 120m Gift heat but he has made five 70m finals with a couple of 3rds at Keilor and Maribyrnong. His last three starts over 120m have been Maribyrnong (13.29s off 9.25m), Burramine (13.08s off 9.50m) and Euroa (13.18s off 9.50m). At Stawell in 2009 he ran 13.04s off 8.50m and in 2010 he ran 13.58s off 8.75m. (Albeit the 123m track!) He has got a very generous lift to the limit mark. Could be a smokie because at some stage he is going to have to realize that potential from 2009.

Shane Woodrow (Lake Gardens) 10.75 T: Len Templar
Very accomplished VAL athlete who has chosen his races well winning the 400m Ringwood Gift in 2010, the rich 2011 St Bernards 800m and the 2011 Stawell 550m. He last ran in the Stawell Gift in 2010, being run out in the heat (13.30s off 9.25m, on the long track). He ran in the 2011 Noble Park Gift off 8.50m then did not run another 120m Gift until Noble Park, 12 months later, this time off 9.75m. His last two 120m Gifts at Maribyrnong and Euroa are interesting in that at both venues he ran slower in the semi than he did in the heat. At Maribyrnong (off 9.75m) he ran 12.93s in the heat and 13.21s in the semi and at Euroa (9.75m) he ran 12.76s in the heat and 12.94s in the semi. He also ran in the 400m at Maribyrnong and the 300m/550m at Euroa which may have impacted on the Gift results. Tuned up for Stawell with a quality win in the 100 yards Daylesford Gift (10.24s off 4.75m). Is with a very astute stable and appears to be on an old fashioned Stawell prep. Therefore certainly cannot be under-estimated.

Others considered for the Smokey Six were:
Jaryd Cowley (In the top 20 so excluded from this list)
Andrew Campbell
Chris Diegan
Sean Law
James Lobley
Luke Storta

2 Re: Top Six SMOKEY Selections on Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:28 pm


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
Nice call on Panizza Youngy. He certainly is running like a pro runner who could improve a metre or two. He ran in a relay with us for UWA a couple of months ago and we gave him the 1st leg much to his displeasure. From what I have seen he is a quick starter but doesn't have the finishing power of someone like Matty Hargreaves.

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