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Burnie Gift Review by PY

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1Burnie Gift Review by PY Empty Burnie Gift Review by PY Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:06 pm



2012 Burnie Gift review

Well we're back from Tassie and it's time to review the Burnie Gift.

Firstly, what needs to be done is to publish the marks as is at least 10 days before the meet. This annual consultation/negotiation/badgering that goes on with the handicapper in Tassie each year has to cease. By the time I get to Devonport, I want to know exactly what the marks are, not have to get into lengthy debates about the pulls for the Bay Sheff or negotiate "WH" marks. I've never seen anything like what I had to put up with in Devonport. You are forced into the discussions because the handicapper has failed to do his basic research. There were some ridiculous anomalies that needed addressing, especially in respect to local athletes. Eg: 2011 Runner-Up Charlie Leek is worse off than the 2011 winner and only 0.25/0.50 in front of Stawell Gift winners who have run 10.43/10.6.

The Latrobe Gift winner was slaughtered in the marks and failed to get out of his heat.

And as this is a Burnie review, I won't start on some of the rubbish I saw & heard at Devonport.....

Anyway it needs to addressed so there is some uniformity with the mainland marks.

120m Gift

Heat 1
Woodhams was ill at Devonport and unable to take his place in the heats of the Devonport 200m. Hargreaves was coming off a Queanbeyan win. Feeling better, Woodhams ran marginally better than his Bay Sheff heat but couldn't match Hargreaves who is in good nick, while Josh is still on the way back and probably in around 10.6 shape. Hargreaves won by about 8cm from Woodhams and Ross a 1.5m away in 3rd place.
1 C Hargreaves (7.25)
2 D Woodhams (7.25)
3 J Ross (Scr)
Time: 12.43s.

Heat 2
Good heat where Robbie James was chasing Brendan Cole. James got to him, but Cole looked in control and just did enough to win by 3/4 metre with James 2nd and Brendan Smart, about 10cm away in 3rd place.
1 B Cole (5.25)
2 R James (3.25)
3 B Smart (10.50)
Time: 12.57

Heat 3
Only three athletes turned up so all three qualified. Max Waldron took some time to catch Mohamad Zeed, but in the end, the young Tassie quarter miler ran solidly to the line to win by over a metre from Zeed (2nd) and Nichols (3rd) almost locked together.
1 M Waldron (6.00)
2 M Zeed (8.25)
3 M Nichols (10.00)
Time: 12.79

Heat 4
Before the heats started I felt that Mott, Stubbs & Coote looked to be the best placed on current form to fight out the Burnie Gift. Predictably, Mott took out this heat comfortably in the fastest heat time, with little Eddie Gates (2nd) running on well about 1.25m away and another metre to the very promising Ross Lovell.
1 A Mott (4.75)
2 E Gates (8.00)
3 R Lovell (7.00)
Time: 12.38

Heat 5
The very next heat featured 2009 Stawell Gift winner and perhaps the pre-race favourite Aaron Stubbs. Stubbs had recently run 10.6 for 100m and looked to have this heat at his mercy. However while he got to Latrobe Gift runner-up Matt Hargreaves early, he never quite headed him. He ended up easing off for 2nd, a half metre behind Hargreaves with local Cameron Cranfield a long way back in 3rd place.
1 M Hargreaves (6.50)
2 A Stubbs (4.50)
3 C Cranfield (8.25)
Time: 12.40

Heat 6
This heat included the dual Bay Sheffield winner, 18 year old Jordan Caldow. Caldow was too sore to run at Devonport and needed to work hard off the back mark of 1.75m. He was cautious off the blocks and mid race appeared to surge but was beaten into 4th place and missed the semis. The heat was won by 2011 Burnie 3rd placegetter Jarred Gilroy in a slowish 12.73, narrowly from Matt Callard and Sam Henley. There was only 3/100ths sec betyween the first three.
1 J Gilroy (6.75)
2 M Callard (10.25)
3 S Henley (7.50)
Time: 12.73

Heat 7
The much anticipated last heat featured 5 chances including the Hipworth trained Adam Coote, Latrobe Gift winner Andrew Robinson, 2011 Burnie runner-up Charlie Leek and YGTS pair - Tronnolone & Sclanders. Coote ran solidly to the line and was never really challenged, winning by 1.5m from Tronnolone with Sclanders only inches away in 3rd place. Leek ran a close 4th but still qualified for the semis with his 12.72 heat time.
1 A Coote (10.25)
2 J Tronnolone (7.00)
3 T Sclanders (6.50)
Time: 12.54

One thing I do appreciate with the three 'grand slams' of Stawell, Bay Sheffield & Burnie is the six semi finals format. There should always be cut-throat semis for the majors. The Burnie gift with its six semis of four gives one a chance to see all four runners work their way through the race. The problem with Burnie was there were so many athletes uncompetitive that the semis (like some of the heats) were lacking real depth and therefore were won 'too easily'. That's not the format's problem but the handicapper needs to ensure there's more athletes in the contest and not out of it.

One thing which the TAL should be applauded for was the efficiency with which the semis were made available. Basically with 30 minutes of the last heat the semis were on the notice board on the gound. The fastest six from the heats were seeded. If you weren't in the fastest six you were slotted in at random. Well drawn with the spread in the semis of 12.36 to 12.51.

With Dale Woodhams down on form, Adam Coote looked the winner in this and he didn't disappoint, winning easily by 2m plus in the fastest time of the heats & semis - 12.36s. Local long jumper Same Henley was 3rd while Matt Callard, another recovering from illness and injury was in 4th place.
1 A Coote (10.25)
2 D Woodhams (7.25)
3 S Henley (7.50)
4 M Callard (10.25)
Time: 12.36

Defending Burnie Gift winner Robbie James was given some chance in this semi however the John McLaren trained Eddie Gates got a fantastic start and put it out of the backmarker's reach, winning by nearly 2m. Gates was the only Tasmanian to emerge as a contender and this semi stamped him as a real chance to be the first local Burnie winner since Luke Whitney in 2005. This semi had the first three from the 2011 Burnie Gift and they finished in the same order as 12 months ago. Behind Gates was James (2nd), Charlie Leek (3rd) and Jarred Gilroy (4th).
1 E Gates (8.00)
2 R James (3.25)
3 C Leek (5.25)
4 J Gilroy (6.75)
Time: 12.41

Chris Hargreaves (12.43) had the fastest heat time of the 4 semi runners. However Brendan Cole lifted a notch and worked hard to overcome Hargreaves and took the heat. The two Tassie outmarkers, Brendan Smart and Mark Nichols were not in the race and finished a few metres away.
1 B Cole (5.25)
2 C Hargreaves (7.25)
3 B Smart (10.50)
4 M Nichols (10.0)
Time: 12.45

Adrian Mott had over 3m up on times in this semi and accordingly won it easily by the best part of 3m. Jordan Tronnolone ran OK to be the best of the others with Max Waldron and Gareth Jubb in 3rd & 4th. The semi looked faster than the time suggested and I was anticipating a low 12.3 time however the official time was 12.42. It is difficult to clock the Burnie Gift because the starter positions himself in front of a white fence and holds the gun down by his side. Couldn't catch a flash or the smoke so had to rely on the electronic times.
1 A Mott (4.75)
2 J Tronnolone (7.00)
3 M Walddron (6.00)
4 G Jubb (8.00)
Time: 12.42

Like the heats, Stubbs followed Mott in the semis and like Mott, with a solid buffer on heat times, Stubbs did it comfortably, easing up to win by about 2m. Ross Lovell finished 2nd and he looks a very promising type. Tall and moves well for a novice. Box Hill amateur 400m hurdler Zeed wasn't far behind while Sclanders was well back in 4th place.
1 A Stubbs (4.50)
2 R Lovell (7.00)
3 M Zeed (8.25)
4 T Sclanders (6.50)
Time: 12.38

They didn't do Josh Ross too many favours putting him in with the 2nd fastest of the heats. Matt Hargreaves had too much up on them and he beat Ross by over a metre, with Cameron Cranfield holding out James Boden for 3rd.
1 M Hargreaves (6.50)
2 J Ross (Scr)
3 C Cranfield 8.25)
4 J Boden (7.75)
Time: 12.51

2012 Burnie Gift FINAL
Final field:
Red - Aaron Stubbs (QLD) 4.50. Coach: Brett Robinson
White - Adrian Mott (VIC) 4.75. Coach: Nick Fiedler
Blue - Brendan Cole (ACT) 5.25. Coach: Matt Beckenham
Yellow - Matt Hargreaves (VIC) 6.50. Coach: John Henry
Green - Eddie Gates (TAS) 8.00. Coach: John McLaren
Pink - Adam Coote (VIC) 10.25. Coach: Mark Hipworth

It was a cracking final and like a few I thought Mott, Stubbs and Coote would fill at least two of the placings. Certainly if a bookmaker was present, either of those three would have opened as favourite with perhaps Gates the outsider of the field.

When the starter, Mr Bellchambers went bang, Gates took off like a scalded cat and quickly got to Coote, hitting the front inside the first 50m. Stubbs appeared to get Mott but couldn't quite get in front of him. Mott seemed to have done enough to cover Cole and Hargreaves and midway he was looking good to challenge Gates. As they got to the 90m mark, Cole seemed to be making up ground and had worked his way to 3rd ahead of Coote, Hargreaves & Stubbs. It looked like Gates had held them off but Cole kept coming and a stride from the line it appeared the blue and green were level. They hit the line as one with the white of Mott only centimetres behind. It took about 10 minutes before the decision was confirmed and the blue colour was placed first on the hoist. Three thousandths of a second separated 1st and 2nd.

At 30 years of age, Brendan Cole finally won a professional handicap 120m Gift after being favoured for a few over the years. It was a well-deserved win because he stood up when it counted and saved his best run for the final. He is the first Burnie Gift winner from the ACT and the first winner for Matt Beckenham.

Winning Time for the final was a quick 12.13s. Track was 'bowling green' brilliant, quick and with a tail wind - perfect conditions for sprinting.

Gates nearly gave his Burnie based legendary trainer John McLaren his first Burnie Gift winner since Gary Wescombe won in 1978. McLaren, a life member of the Burnie Athletic Club first joined the BAC committee in 1969. Now well into his 70's, McLaren has about 70 pairs of sweeney spikes in pristine condition kept in a chest of drawers at home. It was the 20-year-old Eddie Gates fifth 2nd place this season including runner-up in the Devonport Gift. He also ran in the 90m heat & final earlier in the day. Just wonder what effect that had on the final outcome.

While Motty (3rd) is running better than in recent years he is couple of metres shy of his best. In 10.43 shape and Mott probably wins. My guess he is in around mid 10.7 shape. Promising result for him And good things to come for the remainder of the season.

Adam Coote (4th) is hit and miss with the blocks and once again his start let him down. When he nails it he is very difficult to catch, but when he doesn't he loses too much ground to those behind him. Would be difficult trying to sprint in a squad that doesn't have sprinters to offer the intensity one needs to compete at this level. But he is getting closer to a good Gift win. Coote is the first finalist for the 1986 winner Mark Hipworth.

Matt Hargreaves (5th) put in another solid conssitent run. Perhaps just a fraction close to the backmarkers in this event to build a buffer. Another finalist for John Henry after having three in the final in 2010.

Aaron Stubbs (6th) came with big raps and had a huge chance at the published marks, but failed to deliver. Disappointly a fair way back in last spot. Not sure if he was injured or not, but seemed to walking around OK later on.

If the TAL can get the marks done properly and published 10 days before hand with the potential re-handicaps for the Bay Sheffield & Latrobe fixed so we don't have to spend time & effort 'negotiating' them, then they could easily run a successful calcutta on the Burnie Gift. There were seven heats and I'm sure with the chances on offer in each heat, they would go for hundreds of dollars. Seven heats would take about 30 minutes to sell and it would add another interest to the event.

Another thing they should introduce is a scorebaord that tells the time of each heat. When the announcer gets the chance he only announces the time once and if you miss it, you don't get a time. A board like the SAAL would be handy.

Great race and hopefully we'll see a few more entries in 2013.

2Burnie Gift Review by PY Empty Re: Burnie Gift Review by PY Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:56 am



You are a funny man JH. Great review Paul and I agree with you on every point made. There are a lot of problems with the way the handicapper goes out and gives the marks. I don't think much will change because he was absolutely ecstatic with the way the final panned out for him, pumping the air etc..

If you look at MOB or Leon and how they approach things compared to Andrew it is worlds apart. Leon had a fantastic Bay Sheff across the board from 70m to 1600m, MOB is a extremely capable handicapper that has a lot of logic and is also quite fair. Andrew will not only like to debate with athletes and coaches on marks but does not have any pattern for his choice in marks... he will give some people their VAL marks, he will give people random lifts or pulls or not touch some other people.

Interestingly enough there were a few unhappy Tasmanian officials after the race because Gates copped a pull in the 120m for his 2nd place in the 400m at Devonport. They believe that he shouldn't have copped the pull because it was for the 400m and not a 120m...

Oh well... I am just hoping that Matty B releases the signed photographs of Breen, Boden and Cole to the public so I can buy one.

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