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PROTRACK » GENERAL » McCabe favourite for Ballarat Gift

McCabe favourite for Ballarat Gift

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1 McCabe favourite for Ballarat Gift on Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:18 pm



Ballarat Gift: McCabe at ease with 'favourite' tag
Ballarat Courier
29 Apr, 2011

STAWELL Gift finalist Andrew McCabe says he is not weighed down by the favourite tag leading into this weekend’s Ballarat Gift.

McCabe, who finished third at Central Park on Tuesday, is one of four finalists left hungry for victory in the $30,000 sequel, starting today.

Fellow Queenslander Paul Cracoft-Wilson and Victorians Ben Weaver and Kevin Brittain also have unfinished business leading into Ballarat.

Newly crowned Stawell champion Mitch Williams will not seek the double, having torn his hamstring in the dramatic finish, while runner-up Edward Ware is also missing from the action.

Melbourne-based 2006 Stawell Gift winner Adrian Mott has also joined the Ballarat Gift stakes while Stawell Women’s Gift 120-metre winner Melissa Howard will vie to add a Ballarat women’s title to her collection.

McCabe, in his first visit to Eureka Stadium, said it should be a close field but he was focused on his own race.

“It doesn’t bother me (being early favourite),” McCabe, aged 20, said.

“As long as I have a good race ... and in this sort of event, it can be anyone’s race as I found out in a close finish at Stawell.”

Mott, who knows exactly what it takes to win the big gifts, said Ballarat’s uphill track with a strong headwind would suit the traditionally stronger running backmarkers.

Backmarkers, that is, just like him, who will race off 3.75m in heat two.

“It’ll be good, especially with four Stawell Gift finalists from this year, who are in dominant form and would have to start favourites,” Mott said.

“A few runners were close in the semi-finals and will be up here too.”

Mott drew Williams in his Stawell semi-final this year and finished second to Australian sprint king Aaron Rouge-Serrett in the backmarkers final.

He is determined to break into the Australian squad for the 2012 London Olympics and is getting closer after running 10.57 seconds in a semi-final at the nationals a fortnight ago and missing the 200m final by 0.002 seconds.

Ballarat is top of Mott’s agenda to claim the breakthrough win he wants.

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