GREAT FINISH: Bendigo’s Mitchell Hocking (black),
takes out the novice 400m from Mitchell Palmer (green).
Strathfieldsaye teen adds to family's winning run at Maryborough carnival
By NATHAN DOLE
03 Jan, 2011
STRATHFIELDSAYE teenager Mitchell Hocking added to his family’s winning run in Maryborough Highland Gathering history by taking out the Sports Biz novice 400m on New Year’s Day.
Just five-hundredths of a second separated Hocking and New South Wales athlete Mitchell Palmer at the end of the one-lap dash at Princes Park.
Hocking (34m) crossed the line in 47.70 seconds, with Palmer (31m) diving to the finish in 47.75.
The victory meant Mitchell joined his dad, Steve, and grandfather John Knott as a Maryborough Highland Gathering winner.
“Winning this race means a lot to me,” Mitchell said after being presented with the silver tray and cheque.
The talented teenager has great support from dad and grandad as they team up trainers.
Steve Hocking was a dual 800m winner at Maryborough and also won the backmarkers mile (1600m). Knott won the backmarkers mile at the 1980 carnival.
For Mitchell the plan on Saturday was to attack the race from the gun and finish as strongly as he could.
“The advice from dad and grandad was to relax and enjoy the race,” Mitchell said of being in the 400m final which was closely watched by his mum, Kerrieanne who also raced on Saturday.
Mitchell started strongly and by the scoreboard and less than 200m to go was quickly gaining on the leaders.
“My finishing burst is a strength,” Hocking said of the last 10m.
It was to be as the young star in the black singlet won the sprint duel from the fast-finishing Palmer as Jessica Farrugia fought on to be third.
The Hocking-Knott stable had a memorable day at Princes Park.
White Hills athlete Greg Hilson continued his excellent form on the VAL circuit to be runner-up in the Harvey World Travel backmarkers 1600m.
Racing off 225m, Hilson and Eaglehawk’s Peter Noden (240) led the race as the bell sounded for the final lap.
Highton’s Matthew McDonough overtook Hilson in the shadows of the post.
Another runner from the Hocking-Knott team, Kathryn Heagney from White Hills was fourth in the women’s 400m final.
Mitchell Hocking’s week began teaming up with Strathfieldsaye Jets clubmate Fergus Payne to win the Cricketers Challenge during Monday’s lunchbreak of the Fourth Test between Australia and England at the MCG.
Mitchell ran the 400m leg and Payne the 50m sprint to take the lucrative prize.
The in-form Hocking will head across to Shepherds Flat for today’s Daylesford Gift meeting on the Cricket Willow ground.