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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Cam Dunbar has his sights on the Keilor Gift

Cam Dunbar has his sights on the Keilor Gift

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1 Cam Dunbar has his sights on the Keilor Gift on Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:06 pm



Cam Dunbar (right) wins a 70m heat at the Northcote Gift in 2008.

'Can't wait' to go again

Brimbank Messenger
1 Feb 2011

HE has two meets to focus on first but Cam Dunbar is already looking towards this month’s Keilor Gift with anticipation.

The reigning champion made no secret of his burning desire to go back-to-back and says he has the form and fitness to do it.

“It’d be just great if I could get up again, I can’t wait,” he said.

“Obviously in terms of the victories I’ve had probably Keilor and Maryborough are the best just because of the prestige of those races, so if I could win (Keilor) again it’d be a great achievement.”

The 30-year-old used last year’s triumph as a springboard to his best athletics season.

Dunbar claimed the Euroa Gift, competed in the Stawell Gift and ran second in a special event competing against a first-class field of 2010 Gift winners.

The East Ringwood resident took out the 400m event at November’s Peninsula Gift and will run the Stonnington and Ararat Gifts before Keilor’s February 19 showpiece race.

But Dunbar will have strong competition, organiser Matthew Webster predicting a high-quality field.

“We’ve had a lot of interstate runners coming over to Victoria and they’ve all indicated they want to return again to Keilor, not only for the prizemoney, but for the pres Leg 1 tige as well,” Webster said from New Zealand.

“We’ve got a lot of good meets coming up so athletes are really starting to hit their peak and certainly Keilor is high on the list of meetings they want to win.”

Webster said South Australia’s Paul Young, a former Essendon District athlete, is bringing across “half a dozen” of his best athletes for the $8000 race.

Matt Carter and Bros Kelly are tipped to compete and would enter with strong chances after quinellaing the Peninsula Gift last year.

Carter won back-to-back Maryborough Gifts on New Years Day and is in sublime form.

The novice 400m event is also expected to be hotly contested this year.

“Athletes that win that normally go on to win bigger and better things because it’s always a strong field of younger runners that haven’t won before,” Webster said.

About 4000 people are expected with the finals to start at 7pm and be followed by a fireworks display.

And the track is in tip-top shape after our wettest summer on record.

“The last time I saw the ground it was nice and lush and green with all this winter rain, so we should be able to prepare a much, much better track than the last few years,” Webster said.

2011 Keilor Gift, Saturday February 19 at Keilor Reserve.



Expect another classic Keilor Gift
By Michael Esposito
Star News St Albans
1st February 2011

VICTORIAN Athletics League starter Matthew Webster has seen some extraordinary races in past Keilor Gifts.

One recent final that sticks out for him was the 2007 race, which was won by NSW's Daniel Sammut in one of the closest sprints in the gift's history.

“It was just a blanket finish that particular night,” Webster recalled. “The judges couldn't split them, they had to go to the VAL finishing machine and video equipment to determine the first three runners in the gift. There was 0.15 seconds separating six runners.”

Webster, a member of the Keilor Sports Club, is expecting another classic sprint on 19 February.

The scene is set for a super showdown with last year's winner Cam Dunbar keen to defend his title and a couple of in-form Mornington Peninsula runners ready to strike.

“Cam Dunbar is certainly primed and ready to defend his title and I expect to see him as a finalist. He's running very, very well,” Webster said.

Mornington Peninsula's Matt Carter has won the Peninsula Gift and Maryborough Gift this year, and is a chance to notch up a trifecta, although he will most likely be the backmarker.

Also from the Peninsula is Bros Kelly, who came second in the Peninsula and Rye gifts.

“You can look who's in the final of the Keilor gift and you know that a few weeks later when Stawell comes at Easter time that one of those finalists will be running very well at Stawell, and sometimes the winner of the Stawell gift is hidden in the Keilor gift final,” Webster said.

“It's a great lead-up race to what is defined as the holy grail of professional athletics.”

While Stawell maybe the holy grail, Keilor is certainly regarded as one of the most prestigious handicapped running events in Victoria.

“We like to pride ourselves on being the premier athletic carnival the Victorian Athletics League have on their circuit in the metropolitan area,” Webster said.

“Fortunately this year we don't clash with the Victorian championships or the national championships so we don't lose some of the top runners. Hopefully we'll pick up a half-a-dozen top-line athletes in the entries.”

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