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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Cooper's Stable at Stawell

Cooper's Stable at Stawell

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1 Cooper's Stable at Stawell on Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:12 pm



Need for speed: Senior Constable Brendan Medley
tests the rader on the Marcus Cooper Stable ahead
of the Australia Post Stawell Gift Carnival this weekend.
"I don't know what we clocked, but I believe we were
going pretty fast," Cooper said.

Need for speed

Ararat Advertiser
05 Apr, 2012

ARARAT - It has been a long Victorian Athletic League season for the local Marcus Cooper Stable however the group of talented athletes will dig deep and strive for one last shot at success at this weekend's Australia Post Stawell Gift.

The Easter carnival is the 'grand final' for all VAL runners and Ararat's head-coach Marcus Cooper said his athletes will be looking to finish a successful season off on a high.

"It has been a long season, we've been competing since October and been to a lot of meetings. Every time we go to a meeting someone has made a final, we haven't missed one," he said.

"It is pretty impressive when we turn up to a meeting and everyone is in the same running gear, we are a team - the stable - we look the part and we have been running like the part as well."

Cooper has put the growing stable through its paces since pre-season training kicked off in May last year and he is hopeful the 12 runners, including himself, can take home several winners' sashes over the three days of competition.

"They are starting to all look really good, you can just see their fitness levels are at the pinnacle," he said.

"They have been doing tyre-dragging at training and they are getting a lot fitter just doing that. I am freshening them up now, that started last week and it has been a 10-day freshen up, so it has been a good one."

Cooper will be the leading local runner vying for a spot in the final of the $40,000 Australia Post Stawell Gift (120 metres), with heats held on Saturday.

The veteran, who has years of experience competing at the carnival, has made it through to the semi-finals of Australia's richest foot race on numerous occasions, but he said he is now ready to hand over the responsibility to his up and coming stars as early as next year.

"I'm really hoping I don't have to keep running in the Gift, because I'm almost 40 and I'm hoping Lachie Malloy, Jake Robinson and Brody Taylor will step up, maybe even Corey Heard will be a sneaky one with his big long legs," Cooper said.

"If I can get through to the semi-finals that would be pretty awesome, I've made them a few times before. I haven't seen (who I'm up against in the heats) and I don't want to know until at least Friday."

Sarah Blizzard and sisters, Julia and Tiffany Boatman will be the local contenders in the heats of the State of Victoria Strickland Family Women's Gift (120 metres).

All three girls have shown promise during the VAL sprinting events this year and Cooper believes all are capable of making the final.

"Sarah and Julia have been making finals all year, even at the big meetings at Ballarat, Bendigo, St Albans, Keilor, they've made the finals and we've won one and have been placing too," he said.

"Sarah is not on a bad mark considering she was on two metres a couple of weeks ago, now she is out to 10, obviously that tells us the quality of the field she is in. As for Tiffany, I reckon she will surprise a lot of people."

In the Boys' (under 17) Handicap Brody Taylor and Jake Robinson will line up in the 100-metre heats in the hope of making the final.

Cooper said Robinson hadn't raced since his maiden win in the 120-metre novice event in Ballarat in February, while Taylor has been setting himself for Stawell for the past month.

"I've got a sneaking feeling that Brody might go really well in the youth race," he said.

"He is just finding a little bit of form at the right time of the season and his training has been exceptional particularly over the last four weeks."

Another who broke through for her first win in Ballarat was Ruby Klemm and the endurance athlete will line up in the heats of the 800-metre Stawell Medical Centre Women's Handicap on Saturday with stable-mates Tayla Notting and Phoebe Brady.

Cooper again believes all three have the potential to make it through to the final by setting up the race eary before finishing off hard.

Lachie Malloy has already qualified for two finals, the 120-metre RACV U/20 Series Final and the 400-metre Sportsbiz Novice Series Final, following a number of consistent performances throughout the VAL season.

Cooper said Malloy is a hard worker on the track and is hopeful he can deliver, despite some tough handicaps.

"I think he has been pretty hard done by by the handicapper, but I know Lachie and he will put in 110 percent," he said.

The stable's final training session will take place tonight, before the group heads to Central Park tomorrow for a warm-up on the track.

"They will be nervous and that is my job to calm them down and talk to them," Cooper said.

"I've got quite a few that haven't ran (at Stawell before) and it is all new for them. I don't expect them to go out there and smash them, I expect them to go out there and try their best and that's all I can ask for."

Last edited by Admin on Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:06 am; edited 1 time in total

2 Ararat athletes at Stawell on Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:06 am



Ararat runners make semis of prestigious Stawell Gift

Ararat Advertiser
13 Apr, 2012

ARARAT - Veteran Ararat athlete Marcus Cooper achieved his aim of making a semi final appearance in the 120-metre Australia Post Stawell Gift at Central Park on Monday.

"I know I'm not running fast enough to win the Gift, but I wanted to make the semis so that I could show my kids if I can do it, they can do it," Cooper said.

By 'kids', the running coach was referring to his young charges, many of whom have just experienced their first Stawell Gift.

Cooper was thrilled with his win in Saturday's heat, which he ran in a time of 12.76 off a handicap of 11 metres.

"Now that I'm that bit older, I'm not as fast out of the blocks as I used to be," he said.

Cooper said he was swamped by his competitors early and was forced to fight back to earn a spot in Monday's semi final, which was ultimately taken out by John Steffensen.

Cooper said it was difficult to know what to expect at Central Park, compared with other events run by the Victorian Athletic League.

"People come from all over. I had someone from WA, someone from Queensland and even someone from Malaysia I think (in my heat)," he said.

"You're never confident going into Stawell."

Cooper also made the semi finals of the 100-metre Necropolis Florist and Cafe Hank Neil Sportsmans Veterans' Handicap.

"I was handicapped out of that one after I won it a couple of years ago. I stormed home but I needed another couple of metres or two," he said.

"It was really good fun though. After I ran it I wanted to do it again."

Along with his personal success, Cooper was also extremely pleased with the performances of the rest of his stable.

Both Sarah Blizzard and Julia Boatman made the semi finals of the State of Victoria Strickland Family Women's Gift over 120 metres, which was won in spectacular fashion by Olympic sprint hopeful, Melissa Breen.

Blizzard (10.5m) finished second to Breen in her heat on Saturday, recording a time of 14.24, while Boatman (13m) placed fourth in her heat in a time of 14.19.

Both Boatman and Blizzard lined up for the third semi final on Monday, which was won by Alee Whiteman (9m) in 13.81.

The Ararat competitors finished fifth and sixth respectively.

"I was really impressed with Julia's semi. She nailed the start, she just ran out of steam over the last 20 metres," Cooper said.

While Blizzard did not get off to the best start in her semi, Cooper was impressed by the way she backed up to contest the final of the 400-metre Endura Sports Nutrition Lorraine Donnan Women's Handicap.

"It was a totally different race, she did really well," he said.

Cooper said Blizzard led early but was overran and checked late in the race before fighting back over the final 100 metres.

Cooper said both girls would benefit from their second Stawell Gift experience after failing to progress to the semi finals in 2011.

"You can see how much they've improved." he said.

"Now they've just got to be willing to put in the work to go even further next year."

Other athletes to impress Cooper at Stawell included Corey Heard and Brody Taylor.

"Corey ran well to claim third in the under 17 final and Brody Taylor finished fifth," Cooper said.

"I'm really happy with Brody's running. It's his first year and he ran really well."

Tayla Notting, Ruby Klemm and Phoebe Brady all performed strongly in the 1600 metre women's and veterans' race.

"They ran some good times. For Phoebe it was the best she's ran all year. She's really improved," Cooper said.

"We also had two finalists in the women's 800 metres. Ruby Klemm finished seventh and Tayla Notting finished third - She ran out of her skin."

Cooper said Lachie Malloy was unlucky to miss out on the semi finals of the 100-metre Keith Hayes Memorial Bill Howard Handicap,

"He missed out by one one-hundredth of a second. He was very nervous, which probably cost him a spot in the final, but he made up for it in the Sportz Biz Series race," Cooper said.

Malloy finished just shy of a top-three finish, placing fourth in the 400 metre race in a time of 47.74.

Cooper said Malloy also raced in the final of the RACV 120-metre Series (VAL), but finished seventh after he broke.

Tiffany Boatman and Jake Robinson also performed well, with Robinson placing second in the Stawell Times News Wimmera and Horsham Football Leagues' Gift over 120 metres.

"Altogether it was a fantastic weekend. We made lots of finals and had a lot of fun," he said.

"Everyone was really pumped. They can't wait for next year!"

Cooper said his runners were already looking forward to pre-season, which begins at the end of May.

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