As has been the custom for a long period of time the Wangaratta track was turned out in perfect racing condition and with the regulation warm northern Victorian weather a good day of racing was assured.
70 metres Open
Nicholas MacGibbon (5.5m) always looked the winner of the sprint event at Wangaratta when he recorded a heat time of 7.62, clearly the fastest of the day. Nicholas had little trouble qualifying for the final with an easy semi final win and repeated the effort in the final. His slightly slower time of 7.71, in the final, enabled him to defeat Rhys Parkinson (7.25m) and Edward Ware (3m).
ANZ 120metres Open Gift
After seven seasons with the Victorian Athletic League Rhys Parkinson (9.25m) has really hit the top of his form in 2012/13. He started the season with an excellent Melton harness racing series, carried that through with wins in the Latrobe gift, VRTA 200 metres, Daylesford 70 metres and Zatopek 300 metres. At Wangaratta, Rhys set the standard for the day with a heat run of 12.51, a run that gave him a metre buffer over his closest competitors. Parkinson was able to make it through the semi final stage with a minimum of fuss, once again recording the quicker of the two semi finals,12.43 against Alex Carew’s time of 12.65. Carew’s effort was excellent and looked the only danger to Parkinson. In the final Parkinson was always in control, however Carew (3m) made a significant slice into the margin with his powerful finish to fail by a half metre. Matthew Mifsud (10.5m) finished third and looks a great chance at this week’s Tea Gardens gift at Avondale Heights. The winners time was 12.44 and Rhys is coached by John Henry.
120 metre Novice
The novice final was a comprehensive win to one of the Mather boys, this time it was Matthew(15m) who accounted for the opposition with ease to win in 12.64 from Lauren Campbell (27m) and Chris Kirkman (16m). Matthew‘s heat run of 12.56 was clearly the best time of the three heats as was evident by the placings, the same in the heat as in the final. Mather, who has a win last season in an under age race at Keilor, was recently second in the Maryborough novice final behind Jack Dooley. Matt is coached by Terry McGarity
120m Women’s and Veterans’
Leigh Phelan (5.5m) enjoying a great season, his first with the VAL, smashed the field in the final of this event with a three and half metre victory from John MacKay (14m) and Paul Hughes (5.5m) in 12.98. Saturday’s win was the second for Leigh who won a similar event at Ararat after a first up placing in the Northcote 70 metres novice.
300 metres Veterans’
Brian Wright (26m) continued on his winning way with a solid win in the veterans’final, defeating Michael Carney (29m) and Noel Maghamez (50m) in 36.88. Noel Maghamez looked a great winning chance when he kicked for home but Carney and then Wright gradually wore the leader down in a close finish. Brian finished last season with a win and placing at Euroa and has started this season with a double at Maryborough and a win at Daylesford. He must be heading for a certain win in the VRTA veteran points award. Tony “the explosion” O’Shea shows signs of the future when he was narrowly defeated in his heat run, his first for a few weeks. Tony is sure to be prominent when next he appears in a similar event. Simon Fitzpatrick, who awards the weekly “Fitzy’s run of the meet”, has given the nod to Leigh for not only the win but for the authority that it was carried out.
400 metres Broo Series
The third round of the Broo series was decided at Wangaratta and the win went to home town girl Anna Pasquali (29m) from Stephanie Lockhart (33m) and Kim McDonough (37m) in 55.77. Anna was the fastest heat winner in 56.2 with the other heat going to Susan Sinclair (29m) in 57.84. In the final, full marks must go to Stephanie Lockhart who decided to “go for home” right from the gun and opened a good lead before being overpowered by Pasquali in the home straight. The result was that the final field was strung out over a fair distance by the time the finish line was reached. The final of the Broo series will be conducted once again at Burramine and Anna , placed second last year, will once again be a winning chance. Anna is coached by husband Wally, although his contribution to 400 metre running must be minimal. Wally, in his running career, got tired driving around bends,let alone running them. Frances Connell would like to remind all VAL runners that it is only 46 days to Burramine and the track is in perfect condition for the Broo final.
George Underwood 400 metres Open
The 400 metres final, named in honour of a great VAL contributor for many years, was won by Martin Barrow (49m) in a close finish from Nick Magree (22m) and Matthew Hargreaves (11m) in 48.47. Barrow (49.15) ran the second fastest of the heats behind Hargreaves (48.6) and was able to open up a good break on the field before the home turn and hang on for a solid win. It was Martin’s first win of the season following on from his successful season in 11/12 with three wins. The field was a quality final with many of the runners likely to be prominent in the big 400’s in the next month. Martin’s training mate and VAL stalwart Alan Dinsdale is recovering from a health scare but has assured everyone he will be back and expects to be running in the next week or two.
800 metres Open
Jonathon Glasson (62m & 1.56.6) recorded the fastest heat time in the 800 metres but it was the ease of wins by Tom Kelly (76m and 1.59.7) and Cameron Bishop (40m 1.58) that was to guarantee an open final with many chances. In the final Craig Harris (82m),Tom Kelly, Peter Noden (68m) and David Woods (78m) set a solid pace in the first lap with Kelly taking the lead down the back straight. Cameron Bishop set out after Kelly before the home turn but was unable to make significant ground in the home straight with the result that there was still a four metre margin on the line. Justin Murphy (28m) ran on well from his difficult mark to finish third. The winners time was 1.54.28 and makes up for an unlucky defeat at Rye earlier in the month.
Phil Noden 3200m
The 3200 metres, once again generously sponsored by Phil Noden, has historically been a highlight on the Wangaratta program and Saturday night’s event continued on with the tradition.With the field spread out over more than a lap it took a fair part of the race before the chances began to appear. Up with leaders Stefan Catalano(540m) at his first attempt at 3200 metres was setting a pace to survive the journey whilst Andrew Patten (60m) last year’s winner attempted to gradually pick up his rivals. With four laps to travel Sean Beer (560m) still had the lead from Ian Burrows (260m), Charlie Brooks (290m), Michael Low (190m) and Phil Noden (270m) looking dangerous. The colour runners were not in the picture at this stage. At the 1200 metre mark Beer was collared by Burrows from Noden, Low and David Spence (180m) moving into a prominent spot. Michael Marantelli (130m) was a distance off the leaders in tenth place with the backmarker Patten only starting to tack onto the third group, a long way off the front.With 800 metres left the lead group started to thin out with Burrows leading from Noden Spence and Marantelli passing Low to sit within stricking range. After the bell with only four chances remaining Marantelli surged to the front only to be tackled strongly by Burrows down the back straight. In the final section Marantelli dropped Burrows again with Spence running on for second and Noden cutting Burrows out of third money. The winner is coached by Mark Hipworth and the winning time was 9.06.1. In his acceptance speech Marantelli thanked his chief tactical adviser “Jonesy” who finally reappeared from the Wangaratta “all you can eat for $25’ luncheon for the presentation.
The Noble Park 2000 metres event is definitely on again this year with a 200 metre limit. The entry fee is $18.
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Attention runners; please read VAL rules below
11.14 It shall be the duty of each athlete to ensure that they start from the proper allocated handicap and if in default may be disqualified from the race in question. An Athlete, on being disqualified, shall forfeit any fees they may have paid or participation money won along with any other tangible gift presented to them
14.3 An athlete who starts off an incorrect handicap may be disqualified and forfeit all prize money. The onus is on the Athlete to start from the correct handicap.
The short answer is, if you have won an event recently make an effort to find out your new handicap.
Announcement for all distance competitors. The VAL board have decided that for the 1600 metre events at Avondale Heights,Dandenong, Euroa and Maribyrnong the following conditions will apply;
(a) The winner will only be penalised in group 3 & 4 events for the remainder of the season. ( no penalty for classic, group 1 & 2 for wins in group 3 or 4)
(b) The penalty for the winner in group 3 & 4 events will be minimal ( 5 metres ).
(c) The winner will not carry a penalty into season 2013/14 for any wins in those events.
(d) The winner of a group 3 or 4 will still lose any accumulated "ticks"