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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Gippsland Times report on Woodside Gift

Gippsland Times report on Woodside Gift

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1 Gippsland Times report on Woodside Gift on Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:38 pm



Matt Hargreaves (yellow) wins the Woodside Gift
from Adrian Mott (white).

Pre-Christmas gift
Gippsland Times
20 Dec, 2010 02:32 PM

THE inaugural Woodside Gift had it all on Saturday - Olympic silver medallist Sally Pearson, Stawell Gift winner Adrian Mott, dual Brownlow medallist and AFL great Robert Harvey and a big crowd.
What the gift's organiser Clint Hillas couldn't control was the weather.

"Look, for the inaugual event it was a great event, the athletes were thrilled with it, the crowd loved it,'' Hillas told the Gippsland Times.

"We had a crowd of about 2000, but if we'd had better weather I think we could have had many more attend.''

Saturday morning's deluge meant the track, prepared by the Woodside Recreation Reserve's volunteers, was heavy, and the scratch markers were up against it from the gun.

However despite the heavy track a wind assist ensured most races were run in close to even time.

The reserve looked fantastic, with a real country canival atmosphere, but the wet weather dampened the pre-race food and wine festival and the Saturday morning's healthy bike ride from Yarram.

Betting was strong with the two bookmakers and TAB present, but it was more a day for those in the know than punters picking favourites.

The feature event, the $15,000 120 metre Woodside Gift, was won by Matthew Harvey,* racing off 8.5m, who just squeezed out favourite and 2006 Stawell Gift winner Adrian Mott on the line.

A few tense minutes for the runners and the crowd followed the final, with the judges reviewing the electronic timing and photos to confirm Harvey's win.

The crowd favourite for the 120m women's gift, Olympian Sally Pearson, running off scratch, was just edged out of the final in her heat.

The final was taken by an overjoyed Laura Jane Hilditch, off 15.75m, who claimed her first gift win in six years of running.

Mirboo North runner Sam Quirk ensured some of the prize money stayed in Gippsland, flying under the handicapper's radar in his first race since returning from the world schools cross country championships.

Running over the unfamiliar 1600m (mile) distance, Quirk restrained himself for the first 1200m and used his handicap to ensure he had a finishing kick that left the rest of the field metres behind.

A fuller list of results will be published as they come to hand.

* ummm.....Hargreaves not Harvey.

Laura-Jane Hilditch holds up her trophy after winning
the 120m Women's Woodside Gift.

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