Aaron Rouge-Serret, 0.25m: National champion and super talent, the Boronia Bullet meets some of his rivals a bit worse than MiRrOrZ would expect, but his performances in the Backmarkers Invitationals at Stawell put him in the mix. Preferred to run a 400 than the 100 yards at Zatopek, so the run here may be to blow out the cobwebs.
Daniel Martin, 1.25m: The Lancefield Lionheart also has his work cut out, with the tough mark relative to his regular rivals. Ran well to just finish alongside Mott at the Zatopek 100 yards, who meets him 2.5m better here. Stonnington Gift winner so is proven in the classics. Prefer others.
Sam Jamieson, 2.75m: Former Stawell Gift winner who has had his share of injury troubles since his big win. Getting back into the swing of things but has a very tough mark to progress beyond the semis.
Khan Marr, 3.5m: Controversial Marr has attracted unwanted attention early in the season with his unusual technique over the closing stages. If his body is right could do anything, but why oh why were there TV cameras at the HVC meet!
Adrian Mott, 3.75m: Former Stawell Gift winner and top level ammo runner has a mark rewarding him for his regular pro appearances since 06. Always runs to his ability and is always a final chance. Came a very close 2nd last year at Woodside. Monitor betting.
Alex Carew, 5m: The Camberwell Cannonball has good speed, but is much more suited to the quarter mile - with a 46.6 to his name. Would want a few more metres to be in the mix, but great to see him have a few races in the VAL this year.
Kevin Brittain, 5.5m: The Grovedale Goer is a class pro runner, and class pro runners always have themselves right for the big Gifts. Definitely semis, but MiRrOrZ feels it may be too early in the season for KB to salute the judges.
David Jones, 6m: The Woodleigh Wizard is an unknown threat of the novice mark. Hard to measure his chances, but prefer others.
Ben Weaver, 6m: Stawell Gift favourite after the 2011 Semi Finals, If the DreamWeaver is in any shape like late last season, he is up to his neck in this. Has had an interrupted pre season, but don't be surprised to see Ben take home the chocolates. 2.5m back from his Stawell mark, but he did run 12.1 at Central Park.
Matthew Wiltshire, 6.5m: If this year's Peninsula Gift winner didnt have the 1m pull, a small wager on Matt could pay handsome dividends. Rumours around that he's had an enormous winter and is in super shape - was Peninsula just the tip of the iceberg?
Corwin Pusch, 6.5m; Straight out of the 80s, "Pusch It" finalled at Woodside and Bay last season, so has some runs on the board. Body is right this year and could be a big show. MiRrOrZ is as interested in his race as MiRrOrZ is in what outfit "Pusch It" will unveil.
Bros Kelly, 6.75m: The Hastings Hercules wins Gifts and must come under consideration. MiRrOrZ likes the cut of this guy's gib, and would love to see Bros in the final.
Shaun Hargreaves, 6.75m: The Werribee Weapon is the most complete athlete competing in the VAL - a threat in any distance up to 800m. Sat out on Sunday at Northcote, to save himself for this? Also entered in Queanbeyan and with the trainer up there possibly answers any questions.
Michael Bolton, 7m: Not sure what the singer is doing in a Gift, but he runs like the lyrics he sings he's in trouble!
Simon Fitzpatrick, 7m: Reigning Stawell 400m champ trying his hand at short distances, unsuccessfully so far. A good chance, if they incorrectly measure the track 200m too long.
Dale Lyons, 7m: The Rocket from Research hasn't done enough yet for MiRrOrZ to include him in the main chances. Has been working a lot on his block starts and could find some yards over the next month.
Paul Tancredi, 7.25m: After such an amazing finish to the 08/09 season this Stawell Gift runner up can never be discounted from a bold showing. Pro running in his blood, one of the toughest competitors going around. A huge fan, but I think he'll find more as the season goes on.
Dean Dobric, 7.25m: The St Kilda Sizzler, or DDs as he prefers, is getting used to this Pros caper, so don't be surprised to see him figure in the future. Not this weekend though.
Clinton Gray, 7.5m: Rumours the Bannockburn Bullet has been lieing low for a possible crack at this one. Super impressive debut for the new stable at VRTA. Not without claims.
Edward Ware, 7.5m: Great mark for the Stawell finalist. Questions around about the winter training, but is in the group of 10-12 guys you can never write off in any Gift. More an easter bunny than a December warrior though.
Tim Eschebach, 7.5m: When T-Bone runs, he runs well and is an ultra-consistent competitor. A lot of talk around Easter last year, so would have to think has the ability to figure here. Can final.
Cam Dunbar, 7.75m: The type of bloke you never want to draw in your heat, and he'll make it hard for you to progress. Almost guaranteed to make the semis, but is he set for this?
Paul Cracroft-Wilson, 7.75m: Another of the pre-Stawell tips, and one black booked for the next episode of Central Park by many. Speed to burn, and MiRrOrZ has a sneaking suspicion he will win this as 20 blokes can't all win the big one.
Douglas Greenough, 7.75m: The East Bentleigh Belter is competitive in every distance, and MiRrOrZ will be interested to see which events "Pass the Dougie" actually runs in this weekend. Not yet, but soon.
Sean Law, 7.75m: The Mooroolbark Magician could pull something out the hat down in Traralgon. Sources tell me Sean is already down in Gippsland, and will be watching Rocky 3 and 4 tonight to fire him up for a big tilt. Will final.
Joel Fanning, 8m: The Tetoora Tornado - brother to surfer Mick - has plenty of sporting blood in his body. Liked his 2nd last run, but had some excuses when last out as he raced a bit greenly. Needs a yard more to be amongst it.
Isaac Dunmall, 8m: You don't make the trip down from Queensland to Traralgon unless you're moving well. You want to see a bit more of him before you make a judgement, but be wary of any plunges at the bookies.
Chris Hargreaves, 8.25m: Smooth mover Chris is starting to get noticed by many as his gradual improvement is getting him into a contender. Will he run in Gippsland or Queanbeyan? If he shows up in Traralgon, definitely one to look out for.
Augustine Carty-Cowling, 8.5m: The West Footscray Flyer is fast developing a cult following among the ladies of the VAL, but his performances on the track are as impressive. Final would be no surprise. One of 3 students ever to be in the state primary school football, hockey and table tennis teams in the same year - he did this in Grade 5!
David Tinney, 8.5m: Solid running last weekend from the Hamlyn Heights Hornet puts him in red hot form for this. Always runs well at the end of the season though, so is this too early to show his full ability. MiRrOrZ thinks he's on, top 3 chance.
Derek Collinge, 8.5m: The Canberra Crusher - the man who wears the same pair of 1994 Oakleys every race - always means business. Wont show up unless in shape, and one wonders if he will run at Queanbeyan instead of this one.
Peter Walsh, 8.5m: The Corio Cobra is surprising the masses turning back the clock with some great recent runs. Rumours some work with North Melbourne Footy Club has provided the inspiration for a huge go at this. Like the Roos in 2011, will be borderline for the finals.
Josh Tiu, 8.75m: The Doncaster Demolisher always finds a lot at the big meets. Does he rate Gippsland up with the Bay or Stawell? If so, place claims. Will the real Donny Demolisher please stand up!
Adam Parkes, 9m: The Colonel of Camberwell sneaks under the radar and has bucketloads of talent. Another coming with some gossip of a fantastic winter, so time will tell. A real weapon in the latter half of the season.
Christopher Eather, 9m: The Sandringham Slinger has been working hard at visualisation exercises ahead of this one, so maybe give him some space prior to the heat. Great top speed, how quick can he get to it?
Nick Magree, 9m: The Muscle from Mitcham will come home strong with very solid quarter mile form. MiRrOrZ expects his name on the semi final list, but not sure if Gippsland is his grand final.
Fabrice Melanie, 9.25m: A bit disappointed with the Noble Park Panther of late, but has the tools and ability to turn that around quickly. Want to see more before MiRrOrZ will throw some dollars on.
Adam Coote, 9.5m: The Electricity of Elwood is more suited to the quarter mile this year from early results. A few yards shorter than expectations, and rumours of injury troubles leads MiRrOrZ to look elsewhere.
Ryan Camille, 9.5m: The Whippet of Wheelers Hill has calves the size of a small country, and relies on early explosive speed. Said to still hold the record at Glen Waverley Tigers Football Club for the u16 vertical leap. The Whippet gets that mid race right, and he's a monty for a smaller gift.
Matthew Harvey, 9.5m: The Keysborough Komodo Dragon has a mark that he can win off. Some concerns over his fitness last season had him up and down, and consistency is key to the Komodo Dragon taking that next step. Look for at Keilor.
Matthew Eddy, 10m: "Steady" Eddy has already finalled this year so is thereabouts. The amount of time he spends on his Playstation is a concern though. If he can find some yards from his run at Peninsula, he will come top 4.
Adam Cabble, 10.25m: A budding pianist, AC is a multi talented man with a tremendous drive. Just hope his Mozart symposium tonight doesn't weaken him for tomorrow. With Piano season coming to a close, look out for AC later on in the season.
John Cara, 10.5m: The East Donny Dasher has the same mark as a runner who's clocked 12.28 for 100m hurdles. Can he match that? No. Does he have extensive pro experience? Yes. MiRrOrZ looks forward to seeing how John uses that experience tomorrow.
Sally Pearson, 10.5m: World champion, IAAF athlete of the year, the accolades could go forever. Thing MiRrOrZ wants you all to realise - Sally lost two races all season last year - one at the end of the year, and Woodside. A born winner and that will eat away at her. I expect a much, much bolder showing and predict she could be in this a long, long way.
Matthew Fisfud, 11m: The Coburg Crocodile has been sighted pumping out some great sessions at the Coburg Athletics track. MiRrOrZ likes the Croc and rates him off his mark, but will be no match for Sally unfortunately. MiRrOrZ has seen this man squat 180kg.
Nick Howard, 11m: The Tullamarine Taipan easily took out the quarter mile at Northcote last week so is obviously in immensely better shape this season. Does this convert to the Gift distance? Lock the Taipan in for a semi berth to complement his back-to-back 400m win.
Darren Whittaker, 11.25m: "Wildman" Whittaker has plenty of claims of the mark. Known for taking a few yards to get moving, one wonders how he will handle a fast starting Sally if drawn in the same heat. Monitor betting.
Travis Pike, 11.25m: The Hurstbridge Howler knows what it takes to final, and could very well be the frontie in the final. A great arm drive the first 20m, provides something for all to learn from. Nice new running shorts too!
Craig Foley, 11.5m: "Axel" Foley is one man that gives 100% on so many of his races, one that has to be admired. MiRrOrZ once helped carry him from the track and grabbed a quick feel of his pecs! Seeming to focus more on the shorter events this year, so will monitor his progress.
Ryan Hoffman, 12m: There are rumours that "The Hoff" has purchased 5 different pairs of spikes for this weekend, to see how the track is handling. Love the commitment, but think this one may be beyond him.
Charlotte Van Veenendaal, 12.5m: The Talent from Tullamarine is a very welcome addition to the Gift, and has a generous handicap to have her very competiive. MiRrOrZ thinks Sally can eat up that 2m too easily though, but both girls have to be a good chance to semi.
Kelly Sheldrick, 13.5: The Vermont Viper has a long history with the VAL, and wouldn't it be fitting for a veteran to get right amongst it? Love his new spikes and never say die attitude, but would want him a bit more ahead of Sally and CVV to have a show in this.
Jay Blake, 14m: The Preston Punisher has been spending a lot of time over winter on his foot strike and is rumoured to have it nailed. Stripped a lot fitter for this season than last, so this frontie causing a scare in the January races wouldn't surprise.
Gary Finegan, 3.5m: The Abbotsford Antelope is one of the smoothest movers out there, and just keeps finding the line. Want a few more runs under the belt, then he will be very dangerous.
Evan Pearce, 6.5m: The Mulgrave Master will have his work cut out from his mark. All about his drive phase and if he perfects that will be very competitive. Later on in the season.
Last edited by Smoke n Mirrorz on Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:39 pm; edited 1 time in total