Ray Micallef and his committee provided a great day of racing at the Tea Gardens with an inviting
corporate area and a jumping castle for the kids entertainment. At the close of racing “Black Magic”
performed in front of large crowd who stayed to enjoy the music and the pleasant Saturday evening.
Well done to all the local helpers that ensured that the day was a success. One of those to stay behind
for the music was the VAL’s very own Disco Bill Sutton who changed the rather drab VAL attire for his
more customary velvet flares, buttonless satin shirt and platform shoes. Bill maybe stuck in a time warp
but he still has all the moves that ranked him with John Trovolta in the seventies.
A great team effort by the VAL officials especially Nila who faced the day without any computer
software, which meant all results had to be done manually. Many thanks to the athletes for their
patience and also the Avondale Heights Sports Club for the use of their copier. Special thanks to John
Henry who stepped in as check time keeper over the weekend for both Avondale Heights and St
Once again the packing up was made easier for Ian Cox with the terrific assistance of many of the
Athletes and officials. It would be greatly appreciated if this could continue whilst Coxy malingers and
continues to draw every inch of sympathy from his recent injuries. This Friday night at Stonnington is
going to be a tough one as Coxy has to be at Ballarat for the Little A’s by 8am on Saturday morning.
Runners please don’t be frightened to grab some of the equipment or help dismantle a tent.
Clipsal 70 metres Open Handicap
The day began with a very close finish when Queenslander Paul Cracroft‐Wilson ( 5m) inched out Carl
Morehouse (2.5m) and Marcus Cooper (7.25m) in 7.90. Cracroft‐Wilson, a 2011 Stawell Gift finalist, has
been a regular visitor to Victoria this year and Saturdays win follows on from his victory in the Warragul
Gift late last year. The win was a start of a big day for Paul as he completed the double in the 120 metres
before he was finished for the day. Place getters Marcus Cooper and Carl Morehouse are both running
particularly well and should pick up a win in the near future. Paul is trained in Queensland by Ryan
Hoffman, who has developed a stable of quality athletes.
Des Sheridan Memorial Open 800 metres Handicap.
After a recent run of injuries Cameron Yorke (40m) decided to have a few weeks off from competition
and it paid dividends when he held on strongly to defeat Mark Andrews (40m) and Mark Hipworth
(70m) in 1.56.96. With only two heats of the event, Cameron’s second to Mark Hipworth in the fastest
heat was always going to be enough to get him a run in the final. In the final he turned around the result
with a determined surge at the 300 metres point of the race to clear out and never look in danger. Mark
Andrews battled on strongly with Hipworth running another serviceable race, coming on the back of a
couple of recent wins. Cameron is trained by Nick Fielder and has shown great versatility over all
distances in his long career, although is yet to have an attempt at the 3200 metres. Surely Easter
Monday afternoon is an ideal opportunity for Cam to join those miss guided “poor souls”.
Congratulations are also in order to Cam and his wife Laura on the pending arrival of baby Yorke.
Phil Hart & Family 800 metres Women’s and Veteran’s
In the women’s and veteran’s division of the 800 metres Ashley Sandison (46m) came from a clear last at
the 250 metre mark to storm over the top of Dennis King (114m) and Tony Moran (86m) in 2.06.42.
After the three heats there was little between Sandison (2.06.61) and Peter O’Donnell (2.06.06) on times
with the other heat going to Ellie Tossol (170m) in 2.11.30. In the final, out marker Ellie, cleared out with
a good break and was still a winning chance before the turn until she was claimed by King who then
looked the winner. At this stage Sandison was only a place chance but continued with his barnstorming
finish to win running away over the final 20 metres. Ashley is trained by Mark Hipworth and is enjoying
his best season with a recent win in the Ringwood 1600m.
Sims Sports Store 100m Women’s
Classy amateur Katherine Clarke (3.25m) continued on with her hot vein of winning form by running
over the top of Melissa Howard (4.25m) and Julia Boatman (9m) in the final of the women’s sprint in the
time of 12.29. Katherine, coached by Manny Lewandowski, has had a very successful history in the VAL
and Saturday’s win followed on from her double at Warragul before Christmas. Melissa Howard also has
a very good strike rate and rarely misses a final.
Cardno ITC 100 metres Novice
Former Eltham high student, Andrew Campbell (8.25m) from the Dixon stable converted his recent
good form into an impressive win in the 100 metres novice. Andrew defeated Jake Robinson (10.5m)
and Jordon Keast (10m) in the time of 10.85. Andrew, although only in his second season with the VAL,
has become a regular competitor and rarely misses a carnival.
Rexel Electrical Wholesalers 120m Open
After the two semi finals of the 120 metres, the final looked a very even affair with Marcus Cooper
(11.25m) winning his semi in 12.90 and Paul Cracroft‐Wilson (7m) bettering that mark slightly with a
win in 12.87. The slight advantage won through in the final as Cracroft‐Wilson overcome Cooper in the
last few strides to run out a narrow winner in 12.74. Benjamin Weaver (6.25m) ran well from the back
mark to finish third. Cracroft‐Wilson, a beach sprinter, is making a habit of visiting Victoria and making
his way back to Queensland with plenty of cash.
Racv 100m under 20’s
The RACV series continued at Avondale Heights with another excellent turnout with four heats. The final
went to Chloe Barnard (28.5m) from Michael Gatt (12.5m) and Luca Ranellone (9.25m) in the time of
13.22. The finish was the closest of the day with Kasey Moore (23m) finishing fourth in the time of
13.26,less than half a metre from the winner. The grand final promises to be great event with a regular
group of runners gaining valuable points by consistently turning out for all these events . Chloe is trained
by long time VAL supporter and former class athlete Brett Hayes.
Lawson Lodge‐KLM Group 400 metres Gift.
The main event on the program, sponsored by former VAL sprinter Greg Jinks, was the 400 metres Gift
where a classy field lined up for the sash and $3000 in prizemoney, The heats were evenly contested
but on handicaps it certainly looked like a race between Adam Coote (22m) and Dominic Hoskins(22m).
In the final the front markers Jay Blake (45m), Richard Norris (60m) and Tom Hecimovic (60m) open up a
handy lead down the back straight but Coote put in a solid burst of speed coming to the home turn to be
well placed as the field straightened for the finish. Adam quickly collared the leading bunch and drew
clear for a convincing win in 48.52. It was left to Dominic Hoskins to make any impact and he finished
very well to pip Norris for second place. Coote who runs the boundary for the AFL during the winter has
developed in to a very versatile athlete in his time in the VAL. His victories include a 2 mile cross country
race at Cricket Willow, a Stawell 800 metres win as well as the Bendigo Black Opal. Adam has also had
good results up the straight track, narrowly missing a place in last year’s Stawell Gift final. Several
runners claim to be Adam’s coach but one would imagine that Mark Hipworth is the “oil that makes the
wheel roll”. Richard Norris put his stamp on any front markers 400 that he wishes to enter in the next
few weeks. Another to show out in the heats was Robert Spencer, who only ran out of steam in the final
fifty metres. Robert has been off the scene for a few years but should open his winning VAL account
before the season ends.
Midland Roofing & Full Balance Fitness Women’s 400m
The ladies 400 metres final was one of the best events of the day as the two backmarkers traded places
for most of the race. Katherine Clarke recorded the fastest heat time of 57.87 with Alice Platten a very
comfortable 58.83. Alice (6m) made up her leeway on Katherine (11m) early in the race to take the
initiative and looked as if she had the better of Clarke. But Clarke was equal to the challenge and wore
Platten down over the final thirty metres in the time of 57.12. Kasey Moore (31m) stuck to her task to
finish third. The win completed a double for Clarke, her second double with the VAL following on from
her recent Warragul wins.
Sims Sports Store 300m Veterans.
The veterans veteran Bob Wishart (52m) scored a clear win in the 300 metres final from George Saouma
(29m) and Julie Torrini (78m) in 37.36. Bob, who’s been competing since “before granny was an apple”
has won some of the best races on the VAL calendar . His greatest win was the 1963 Bendigo Thousand
when the main event at the Bendigo carnival was considered the equal of the Stawell Gift. When you
think that his Bendigo prize was in pounds rather than dollars, Bob has been an incredible and enduring
competitor. In the final George Saouma ran on well from last to run second and Julie Torrini once again
battled hard to the line for the minor prize.
Leader Access Hire Somerton 1600mts
As in 2011 Luke Searle (100m) made light work of the 2012 edition of the 1600 metres event on the
program and cleared out over the final 200 metres to run to the line an easy winner from Phil Noden
(155m) and Michael Tuhan (170m) in 4.21.61. Luke, with his best form over the longer distances than
1600 metres, carried the red colour with distinction and was never in danger. By the time he went
through the finish line Luke looked like he could have kept going up Milleara Road and home to
Werribee. On present form Luke will be very hard to beat in the 3200 metres at Ballarat this weekend.
Notes of interest
We have another bumper weekend coming with two excellent Classic meetings,Stonnington on Friday
evening and then Ballarat Saturday and Sunday. Stonnington, not only has two $15,000 classic gift races,
but also has excellent 1600’s and a 550 metres event in the group 1 and classic category. Also another
round of the RACV and Broo series. Ballarat has their marquee event, the $25,000 Ballarat gift and a
complete range of quality support events, including a 3200 metres. Another round of the Sportzbiz 400
metres novice and the all important VAL relay to add a little interest. Both these carnivals will be
conducted under lights (Ballarat Saturday night only) which gives the clubs the opportunity to showcase
professional foot running at its best.
Both Noble Park and Burramine are conducting a wide range of under age athletic events for the kids
but entry must be made before the day.
To enter for Noble Park, as follows below
email@example.com; b.0402 083 699 c. Fax: 03 9794 5371
Action starts at 9.30am and lunch is provided for the competitors.
and for Burramine;
Mr. Chris Whitelock: 8 Steneker Cresc. Yarrawonga 3730. Ph: 03 5744 2648
catering for distances 100m,200m and 400metres and ages from 8 year old with a special under 21’s
event. Free entry.