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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Tas. Xmas Carnivals.

Tas. Xmas Carnivals.

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1 Tas. Xmas Carnivals. on Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:14 am

JH

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Tasmanian attack on $12,000 Burnie Gift
By TERRY MORRIS
Dec. 16, 2014, 11:28 p.m.

A TRIO of talented Tasmanian sprinters will attempt to end the domination of interstate runners in next month’s $12,000 Burnie Gift.

Runners from Victoria and South Australia have dominated Tasmania’s blue-ribbon sprinting event, winning eight times in the past 10 years.

Local wins have been few and far between with Hobart youngster Jacob Despard successful two years ago and then it is back to Luke Whitney in 2005.

But on New Year’s Day the interstate runners can expect some tough competition from exciting teenager Jesse Usoalii, former Stawell Gift winner Andrew Robinson and 2012 winner Despard.

In his marks released this week Tasmanian Athletic League handicapper Steve Robinson has the three among the backmarkers and expects them all to be competitive.

Victorian Matt Carter, twice a winner of the Maryborough Gift, is backmarker off 1.25 metres just ahead of Usoalli (2m) and Robinson (2.75m).

Carter will be having his first run at Burnie on January 1 but has established himself as one of the top professional athletes in Australia.

‘‘Matt’s a good runner who will be well suited at Burnie but I’m expecting the local boys to perform well,’’ Robinson said.

Next in the marks is Australian athlete of the year Luke Stevens, of Victoria, who will run off 3.25m and then it is out to Despard who is attempting to become one of the few athletes to win the Burnie Gift for a second time.
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Stevens, a member of the John Henry stable, is a versatile runner who is also expected to be well suited to Burnie and he burst onto the professional scene winning 10 races in his first year.

The Burnie Gift will not be the only running attraction at West Park on New Year’s Day as Hobart sensation Jack Hale will compete in the invitation backmarkers over 120m.

The race will be made up of the tightest handicapped runners who miss the final of the Burnie Gift along with 16-year-old Hale.

With speculation that Hale would have received a one-metre handicap if he had entered the Burnie Gift there is now the likelihood he will start off an even tighter mark after adding the 100m national crown at the all schools championships in Adelaide earlier this month.

The $4000 Burnie Women’s Gift is also looming as a battle between the interstate invasion and Tasmanian runners headed by in-form Kimberley Geelan and Ashleigh Corbett.

The interstate challengers are led by last season’s winner Cara Boustead, Luke Stevens’s sister Kirsty and West Australian Kiarra Reddingius.

Reddingius won the Bay Sheffield Gift in South Australia last year and is trained by wily Matt Barber.

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