The final distance event of the Tassie Xmas Carnivals was a thrilling affair under hot skies and near perfect conditions.
On a mostly circular track, and on a surface cut shorter than the odds offered for John Henry to not collect a percentage of his athlete’s winnings, a light North Easterly breeze welcomed the 15 starters.
Frontrunners Plapp and Brown were quickly swamped up a group led by Spence, Reeves, Marantelli and Hamerlock.
With 400m to go it was Reeves who took off first, in a burst of speed none around him could match, coming come in 3:58.
After a fourth placing in the Devonport Mile, and a shattering loss to a child in the Devonport Beep Test, Victorian Marantelli latched on to the back of Reeves and held on for as long as possible, holding on to his 2nd place in 4.00, a time usually quick enough to win the Stawell Backmarkers Mile.
Alec Thomas, another young runner who has performed superbly over the distance events during the past week, and whose busy racing program over the past week was beginning to take its toll, also experienced a pull in handicap and did not have enough to go with Reeves, though he did enough to push Marantelli over the last 120m and held on to 3rd. He showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with as he gains more pro-racing experience. DizzyRunner looks forward to blistering amateur times from this talented kid which will have no impact whatsoever on his handicap in the TAL.
Doubts over Shane Thiele’s staying power were rife pre-race after his departure from the Devonport Beep Test at the 6 mark. This doubts were allayed as Thiele put in a solid last 600m to finish in 4th, a half stride from 2nd and 3rd.
Not to be forgotten was Sam Ferguson. Going for his 4th win in this event, Ferguson’s absence from the Devonport 800m was a clear indication that he was saving himself for this race, but he could not do enough to match the last speed pace of the leading group, eventually finishing around 6th or 7th.
Doug Hermlock, having launched his line of track-racing golf caps and attention-seeking high-socks this morning under the guidance of the greatest athlete-manager to grace this awkwardly shaped Island, Dave ‘the king-maker’ Culbert, also began well running smartly from his adjusted mark.
Michael Ryde, an athlete perhaps more suited to indoor lawn-bowls, could not muster enough to make significant inroads, however, his form over several miles in Devonport and Burnie show he is coming into form and will be one to watch in the VAL in the month ahead.
Dizzy Runner will be taking a break from reporting for several weeks. The next major previews will be for the VAL Wangaratta 2mile and the Albury Mile.