Gift win a long time coming
By CHRIS MITCHELL
19 Mar, 2012
IT was sixth time lucky for Melbourne’s Fabrice Melanie on Saturday, with the veteran finally breaking through for a win in the Burramine Gift at J.C. Lowe Oval.
The 35-year-old from Noble Park put a season of near-misses behind him to win the $8000, 120-metre event, beating former winner Peter Walsh and Matt Hargreaves to the line in the 61st running of the race.
Running off a handicap of 9.25 metres, Melanie continued where he left off after winning his heat, getting off to a good start to clock 12.52 seconds and edge out Corio’s Walsh (12.544 seconds) and Tarneit’s Hargreaves (12.545) in a close finish.
Melanie, a finalist at Burramine in 2010, said he was relieved to win the event at his sixth successive attempt.
“Last night I said to a lot of people I’ll come back and try to win back-to-back,” he said yesterday.
“So I’ve got 12 months of training to do it.
“I want to be the fifth person to do it (consecutive wins).”
Melanie has enjoyed a consistent Victorian Athletic League season, making gift finals at Maryborough, Ballarat and Gippsland.
Part of Bruce Gulliver’s stable, Melanie entered Burramine in strong form after winning the 70 metres race at Noble Park three weeks ago.
“I got off to a flying start and that put me at ease,” he said.
“You can relax a little bit more and go on with it.
“I had a look at the photo finish and it was a clear win so I was happy with that.”
“I was relieved. I’ve been in three finals already this season.
“It was just good to take one out after making a lot of big finals.
“Yesterday was just my day I guess.
“I really like going there, Burramine,” he said.
“It’s a highly regarded event so it’s good to take it out.
“The location on the Murray is great, the track is always in good condition and the weather is great.
“The whole event is run really well.”
West Australian Tenneille Trigwell won the $1250 70 metres sprint and $1000 women’s gift (100 metres), while Carl Morehouse, of Chelsea Heights, won the 120 metres backmarkers.
More than 100 school children also competed, while the footballers relay was won by the boys team from St Monica’s College in Epping.