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Ararat Wrap

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1 Ararat Wrap on Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:23 am


Ararat Gift Wrap
The Victorian Athletic League ventured up the western Highway on Saturday night
for the running of the Tom McDonald Memorial Ararat Gift. The Ararat committee
conducting, one of the oldest athletic carnivals on the circuit provided a track with
an excellent surface and keen racing.
70mts John Antonio Memorial gold rush sprint.
Laura Jane Hilditch (13.5m) continued on with her season's good form with a
comfortable win in the final of the 70 metres in the time of 7.67. Laura claimed
her fourth victory of the season, coming quickly on top of her Stonnington
women's 100 metres win the night before. Joel Bee off the backmark of 3.5m ran
a great race to run second in his first VAL start. Joel looks a quality athlete and
should be competitive for the remainder of the season. Another first year runner,
Lauchlan Dalgleish (5.0m), continued with his consistent form to run third. Laura
Jane is trained by John Henry, enjoying another successful season.
James Thomas Group Women's 100mts
Megan McMahon (13.25m), another to final at Stonnington, held on for a
convincing win in the ladies 100 metres final from stable mates Narelle Lehmann
(6.5m) and Patricia Fox (7.25m) in the time of 12.44. Megan trained by Terry
McGarity, has been very consistent this season having made most of the ladies
finals and thoroughly deserved her victory. The place getters, Narelle Lehmann
and Patrica Fox continued their consistent seasons finishing clear of the rest of
the field.
Tom McDonald Memorial 120mts Ararat Gift
Robert Lehmann (10.75) set the standard in the early rounds of the gift with a
quick 12.69 in his heat followed by the fastest semi final time of 12.79. The only
danger appeared to be Nathan Fox (8.5m), trained by Lehmann, whose semi final
win closed the time gap to two 1/100ths of a second. In the final Lehmann led
clearly early and looked the likely winner until Fox made a desperate lunge,
claiming the win on the line. The winning time was 12.83, creditable time
considering the track was slowing up with the evening dew. Nathan, the winner
of last season’s Bendigo 5000, made it three wins for the season adding Ararat to
wins at Terang and Movember. Continuing his earlier good form Lauchlan
Dalgleish (7.0m) finished third, inches in front of Chris Hargreaves (7.75m).
The Allan Blachford Memorial 400mts handicap.
Trainer John Henry completed a double when Robert Keenan (33m) narrowly
defeated David Haigh (36m) and Ben Crawford (38m) in the 400mts final.
Keenan ran the fastest heat time (49.22) but only just from Haigh (49.23) and
that’s the way they finished in the final with Keenan (48.91) and Haigh (48.92)
crossing the line together. Ben Crawford was only inches away in third place. The
win was Robert’s first open win, adding to his Noble Park 400mts novice victory.

David Haigh, now in the veteran bracket, is the winner of countless races all over
the country but Saturday’s near miss would have been his first Ararat win.
Matthew Hargreave (12m) put in an excellent run from his tight mark to finish
behind the place getters.
Canton Lead Women's and veterans 300mts
Mohommed Reese (48m) narrowly won his first race with the VAL when he held
off Deborah Roberts (80m) and Les Williams (45m) in 37.36. Mohommed, trained
by Benny Tancredi, has been showing gradual improvement in his fifth season of
running. A recent second in the Wangaratta veterans 300mts showed that a win
wasn’t unexpected. Reese looked sure to have a comfortable win when he
collared Deborah Roberts, the early leader, on the home turn but Deborah fought
back to fail narrowly.
Dr Ian Matthews Memorial 1600mts
Peter Noden (240m) made up for his close second at Daylesford with an
authoritative win in the Ararat 1600mts handicap, winning clearly from Rick Ermel
(255) and Mark Boxer (185) in the time of 4.25. Best of the back markers was
Corey Lawson who ran on strongly in the home straight. Previously a winner at
Stawell over 400mts, Ararat was Peter’s first win for several years.
Whispers from “J Ward “
(1) The mail doing the rounds on Saturday night was that another Dunbar was
about to hit the running track. Whisper has it that the first appearance will
be at the Noble Park meeting. The stable were keen to keep the youngster
for a tilt at Stawell first up but plans have come unstuck and a “run” at
Noble Park is considered a must to keep the handicapper unawares.
This intrepid reporter sought out the Dunbar patriarch to verify the info.
After listening to a tutorial on the handicap system, how the VAL van
should be parked and stacked, the best way to get home from Ararat and
a discussion on the current Middle East situation, Rick finally owned up
and said “we’ve got a goodun”. He then elaborated (until past midnight)
and stated that the runner is entitled to get the novice mark and then “it’s
all over red rover”. We wait for further developments in the area.
(2) For those unaware, as the Gift meeting was taking place on the track,
there was a private function going on in the members bar. Apparently a
“hen's night” or some such evil group were celebrating a special event.
When the runners left the track and Coxy was packing up, the girls, a little
worse for wear, decided to test their speed and endurance over the metric
quarter mile. On site to assist was chief steward Rick T. who was able to
instruct the ladies on the best starting position and stance. Never in the
history of the Victorian Athletic League has so many runners been held in
the set position for so long.

(3) Two gift runners managed to leave their blocks behind at Ararat on
Saturday night. If you require them for Keilor, please ring Mark in the
office as they are not in the VAL van.
Keilor Gift - Saturday 19th February 2011

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