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PROTRACK » VAL RESULTS » Bendigo Opal 400m

Bendigo Opal 400m

Who wins the Opal?

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1 Bendigo Opal 400m on Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:21 pm


One of the best 400m races around, Bendigo never disappoints with quality fields and outstanding racing. Doesn't look like we will see a performance like Luke Stevens this year. The Proc will give a good showing though. Who do we like?

2 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:24 pm

Bang bang


3 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:00 am


The Bendigo 400m was always regarded as a big time event, generally 2nd behind Stawell, with $2000 first prize in the late 90's. The honour roll up to 2001 included;
1998 - Tim Mason (32m) 44.39
1999 - David Haigh (26m) 45.44
2000 - Anthony Grima (26m) 45.77

In 2001 the event was named the Bendigo Black Opal with an advertised total prize pool of around $20,000 (8 or 10 thousand for first plus a black opal worth $6000).
The event is now worth $6000 plus black opal.

Black Opal honour roll including leadup run.

2016 – Jack Lacey (34m) 44.98 – (field back 1m) – 6th Ballarat backies
2015 – Liam Procaccino (14m) 45.97 – (field back 6m) – 10th Ballarat backies
2014 – Cam Moss (15m) 46.37 – (field back 8m) – 4th Ballarat backies
2013 – Sam Baird (17m) 45.67 - (field back 3m) – 2nd Ballarat backies
2012 – Josh Mather (9m) 47.75 – (field back 10m) – 4th Ballarat backies
2011 – Brendan Matthews (16m) 46.07
2010 – Adam Coote (31m) 48.05 (the wet year) (field lifted 2m for Wroe) - was run out of the 400m heats at Maryborough, Daylesford and Keilor.
2009 – Ashley Grant (26m) 45.56 - 4th Keilor off 25m.
2008 – Glenn Stephens (34m) 45.59 - 2nd at Burramine the week before.
2007 – Nick Magree (31m) 45.40 – 3rd Ballarat backies.
2006 – Tommy Neim (32m) 44.76 - 4th at Keilor.
2005 – Craig Mair (40m) 45.89 – no 400m leadup form. 1st 2004 Stawell 400m fronties.
2004 – Justin O'Brien (26m) 46.99 - 4th at Keilor. Got a 2m lift for Bendigo.
2003 – Duncan Tippins (12m) 45.60 - 2nd in the Camden classic off 15m.
2002 – Robert Halge (40m) 45.12 - (field lifted 4m for Paul Pearce) - In lead up races he fell over in the straight in the Sandringham 400m in early Feb then ran 2nd in the Keilor 400m novice off 26m.
2001 – Mark Howard (20m) 46.36 – (field back 10m) - 1st Wangaratta

Out of the 16 Opal winners, the last 8 were young and/or early in their career. Lacey, Coote, Magree, Neim, Halge and Stephens all had 31m or more. Grant had come 3rd the year before when overweight. The landscape has changed in recent years with 5 of the last 6 being young runners around the novice mark winning.
Only 1 veteran has won in the 16 runnings (Stephens).
The last 15 winners did not record a 400m win in that current season.
5 of last 6 winners were close to or behind the novice mark. Last year a teenager on 34m won.
The last 5 winners were in the Ballarat backies 400m final.
The last 4 winners have come from the 2 stables of O’Dwyer and Fiedler.

So for 2017 the main criteria we are looking for (in order);
- a young runner (generally it is someone who has surfaced in the last 4-6 weeks over this distance).
- No 400m wins for season
- Finalist in Ballarat backies 400m (top 4 preferred but not essential)

Additonal criteria
- Can be in form making final in one or more of the bigger recent 400’s. Ballarat, Camden or Avondale.
- Around novice mark or less. Although, before 2011 as well as last year the old form suggested young and on around 30m or more (before field pull).

4 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:23 am


Just a quick question, someone will know the answer.
Ever since I've been running in the VAL the Black Opal has been handicapped from scratch I'm pretty sure. Has this always been the case? Because this year the backmarker according to the handicaps released is on 7m. Why hasn't the field been pulled back to scratch?

(I note here that Ribera has shown the field pulls that occur each year to bring the backmarker back to scratch)

5 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:07 pm


Most would have assumed Inside Evens would enter so anyone over 40m assumed they were coming back to 40m. If they did pull the field 7m and install a scratchman then it needed to be advertised before closing of entries so those in the low to mid 40’s would enter.
On another note, a quick look at the marks sees Magree and Mitchell get their marks back for wins at Maryborough ($1000 race) and Castlemaine ($1000) and Armour only 1m down from Rye ($1500). This, in my opinion, is good handicapping for the big one.

6 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:53 pm


Ribera it has been pulled even 10m before as you showed above. And has been pulled back to scratch every year that I can remember.
Also it would actually have been safe to assume Stevens would not run. As he was entered in the Canberra Grand Prix meet. The biggest lead up meet to Nationals. Not to mention he stated he wasn't running at Bendigo.

Surely at the very least the field shouldn't be given a Stevens field lift of 2m when he isn't there!

7 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:01 pm



8 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:31 pm


Is Maurer a chance? Has finaled every 400 that he has run this season- Daylesford, Castlemaine, Ballarat (5th?) and Avondale. Not sure why he has been lifted from 38 to 40m after Avondale. Was in Open 3 final at Yarra on the Weekend

9 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:43 pm



winner: maurer

10 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:14 pm


I've watched and liked Maurer for a while and have been waiting for him to really shine. He has the ability and mark to do it so this could be his week.

The vets are on fire atm with Cameron Yorke leading the charge over the weekend and backing up like a boss in the 550m, 300m Masters and State champs, Dunbar in a nice 70m win and Phelan running a solid 300m Gift to take 2nd. So Maurer could just be one more golden oldie to ruffle some young feathers.

If he goes out harder than normal I've got him pencilled in for the win in a photo finish.

Good luck to all runners though this is going to be a cracker!

Last edited by OldandSlow on Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

11 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:20 pm


Why aren't Phelan and Yorke running Opal? Both listed in other events.

12 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:10 pm



Burleigh impressive Yarra 300m. Never gave backmarkers a sniff. 2nd3rd and 5th Yarra 300m not entered. James 4th, Verrall 6th Maurer 7th Tancredi 9th well back in 300 final.
Avondale difficult to put a line through with it being a frontmarkers race.
James has finaled. Looked in control in Trinity but was third.
Voumard / Kenshole / Tancredi are known quantities in this race

Burleigh from James. Blanket the rest

13 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:28 pm


I know that the lure of the Stawell backmarkers is large, however I would always look at Bendigo as one to grab. Let's face it, if you are a chance at Bendigo you could win Ringwood or Stawell as well. The quality 400m races show us who has played the game the best.

Nick Cross 32 / Callum James 32 11% - Nick Cross is not ready yet. James, why he will win - He has the mark, the coach and the ability to win here. I am not sure what his target is this year but he is right in everything and I feel that he will have a red hot go this week. Strong looking runner with a similar arm action to that of another good JH athlete Callard. He will need to go hard early but should be there towards the end. Why he will not win - Other athletes will put too much pace on for him to go with early and he may struggle to get back on at the end. Verdict - final

Harrison Kerr 32 / Nick Magree 32 20% - Kerr, why he will win - Kerr has shown his quality with a couple of good performances this year. His improvement under Fiedler is noticeable. Why he will not win - The votes are not for him, he does not have form over the 400m. Magree, why he will win - He is a quality 400m runner. He is strong at the back end of his race and will be able to go hard enough to blow up the likes of James early. Block starting does not seem his strong point yet he has won a gift this year as well. If you see Monty in the bookie ring he is on. Why he will not win - He may have paid the price for picking off an early win. A more fancied athlete for me is starting in front of him. Can he get there quick enough. Verdict - Final

Matt Burleigh 35m / Michael Voumard 37m 14% - Burleigh 'Heads', why he will win - He has form showing that a longer race does not concern him with a good win at Yarra Ranges. He has previously been a competitive back marker in the sportz biz races. 'Heads' may be able to go hard enough early to stay in front of the Magree's and James' and this is why he is a chance. Good looking runner. Why he will not win - Big race pressure. The opal is not the 300m Yarra Ranges Gift. This race has been around for a long time and has had more quality athletes setting themselves for this big win. Is he as good as those who have been there before? Voumard, why he will win - big mark. Why he will not win - no form over this distance. Setting himself for something else a little shorter. Verdict - Heads - final. Voumard - heat.

Rod Matthews 40m / Brett Maurer 40m 10% - Matthews, why he will win - Quality never gets old, the speed may. Matthews is a quality athlete and a true icon of the sport. He won the Stawell gift and continues to compete easily giving back to the sport that provided him with the opportunity. He has a nice long stride and that will be aided by a firm track. Having him in front of anyone will give them a slight worry as to how they can catch him. Why he will not win - while his quality will never age there are younger athletes who will run past him. Shame as this would be a story, in the mix for performance of the year and a feel good story all in one. Maurer, why he will win - As many have done I have been watching him for a long time. He runs the 400m well and has shown that he will win when he wants to. I would go this week. The mark will not get any better for him as even if the field is adjusted to scratch next year he will only get 40m anyway. Why he will not win - He cannot judge his race off anyone. He has that ability most weeks and in the Masters races. If someone catches him early the damage may be done. Verdict - Matthews - final at best I hope. Maurer - final and likely top four.

Come on up for this one as it will be one of the highlights of the year!

14 Re: Bendigo Opal 400m on Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:25 am


Jake Hilson? 49.7 at AV, won the U20's 120m at Ballarat and hasn't been sighted over 4 at VAL...and local

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