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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Coach Walsh confident of Tinney & Brittain's Stawell Chances

Coach Walsh confident of Tinney & Brittain's Stawell Chances

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Place in sport folklore at stake

By Denis Craven
Geelong Advertiser
April 5th, 2012

THREE Geelong athletes will run for glory this weekend in Australia's richest professional footrace, the Stawell Gift.

David Tinney, Kevin Brittain and their coach Peter Walsh are hoping to cap excellent seasons by at least making the final on Monday which carries $40,000 first prize.

Walsh, 35, said yesterday Tinney and Brittain were definite chances of winning the event.

On handicaps, Brittain will start off 6.75m, Tinney off 7.5m and Walsh off 8.75m.

Tinney, 28, who finished fifth in the final at Stawell in 2009, has had an outstanding year.

He won Victoria's second biggest race, the Ballarat Gift, (first prize of $20,000), and finished second in other majors, the Maryborough Gift and Albury Gift.

Brittain, who finished sixth in the Stawell Gift final last year and fifth the year before, ran second in the Rye Gift, third in the Don Furness Classic and fourth in the Bendigo Gift.

Walsh, who will retire after competing this weekend to concentrate on coaching his stable of seven runners, won the Bendigo Gift, was second in the Burramine Gift and was a finalist in several other events.

He said the trio was aware of Stawell's history of producing "smokeys" in the Gift.

"There's always one smokey each year, someone that nobody knows anything about or hasn't shown any form who bobs up," Walsh said.

The Geelong Sprint Club runners' solid season has hardened them against any big race nerves.

"There's plenty of stories of favourites not being able to perform on the day," Walsh said.

GSC member Sara Kerstern Murphy will contest the Women's Gift and Novice Hcp.

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