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PROTRACK » Pro Running HISTORY » 1961 Maryborough Gift - Veteran wins on 'flooded' track

1961 Maryborough Gift - Veteran wins on 'flooded' track

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50 years ago the Maryborough Gift was run on Monday 2nd January 1961. Following a storm on the Saturday, the track was flooded and the Maryborough organisers brought in a bulldozer to drain the track.

Footballers May Fight Out Maryborough Final
By Ron Carter
The Age
Monday 2nd January 1961

Maryborough, Sunday: Two footballers, Hawthorn’s Ray Yeoman and former Geelong full back Bob Gazzard, appear likley to fight out the final of the £300 Maryborough Gift tomorrow.

The race could develop into a repetition of last season’s Bendigo Thousand final, in which Yeoman defeated Gazzard by one yard.

However the Maryborough final could be much closer than the Bendigo race.

Gazzard had a 2½ yards advantage in handicaps at Bendigo, but in tomorrow’s race he meets Yeoman with a 3¾ yards advantage. He will run from 6 yards and Yeoman from 2¼.

Yeoman, second in the Ararat Gift on Boxing Day, has little opposition in the 13th heat, but is likley to strike a tough fourth semi-final.

In his semi, he is likley to meet Frank Penlerick, winner of the Ararat Gift and Alan Goodlett who was second in the Echuca Gift last weekend.

Penlerick has been handicapped on 8¾ yards but he faces a penalty for his win at Ararat.

Although the Princes Park track was flooded by up to three feet of water following yesterday’s sudden storm, the ground was being repaired today and should be in fair condition for tomorrow’s Gift.

A bulldozer was used to make canal for the water to be drained from the oval.

Gazzard should have little trouble qualifying for the third semi-final, but in the semi he may meet highly rated John O’Donnell whose recent form marks him as a big danger.

The other three finalists should be Ron Sandilands from 8¾ yards and outmarkers Cyril Ogier and John Hope both from 11½ yards.

Scratchman Terry Clarke, Australian professional sprint champion, who has not yet raced in Victoria this season is a doubtful starter in the ninth heat of the Gift.

Clarke has not been running well at training and will not decide until tomorrow morning whether he will start at Maryborough.

“I would like to run, nut I will not start unles I feel I can put up a worthwhile performances, Clarke said today.

The backmarker’s mile handicap carries a first prize of £50, may develop into a battle between John Chisholm off 90 yards and John Pryor off 45 yards.

Although both are in top form they can expect serious opposition from other low markers in Peter Sheales, John Toleman and Alan Ferguson.


Paez Wins Gift Despite Collision Near Finish
By Ron Carter
The Age
Tuesday 3rd January 1961

Maryborough, Monday – Veteran professional runner Ernie Paez gained an inches decision in today's £300 Maryborough Gift after colliding with second-placegetter Bill Freyer 15 yards from the finish.

Paez and Freyer collided shoulder to shoulder when Freyer, who had been leading, veered to his right.

“We apologised to each other as we hit”. Paez said later.

Paez added that the incident did not affect his chances to any great extent. On the other hand Freyer said: “I think the collision cost me the race because I lost balance for a few strides.”

However he did not lodge a protest.

No Action
Stewards were not sure what caused the collision and they took no action.

Although the track was heavy, it recovered remarkably well after being flooded in Saturday’s storm.

The £200 first prize gave Paez, a 31-year-old textile worker his richest race win in 14 years of professional running. He won his first race at Benalla in 1948.

After his win Paez paid tribute to the people of Maryborough who repaired the track after the storm.

He said he started training two months earlier this season after finishing third last year.

Although he was off 8 yards – 2 more than Freyer – Paez did not begin well but finished strongly to clock 12.1 seconds.

Hawthorn footballer, Ray Yeoman, did not get away well and was struggling under pressure at the finish. Yeoman rocketed to favourtism for the final after an impressive run of 6¾ yards inside even time to win the semi-final.

All five finalists, Paez, Freyer, Yeoman, John O’Donnell and John Hope recorded 12.1 seconds in winning their semi finals.

Bendigo middle-distance runner Ian Colston proved too strong for his opponents in the £75 back-markers mile. He won by six yards from John Pryor and John Chisholm.

Iron Maiden

A great read, keep the historical articles coming!



G'day IM

Thanks for that. I was speaking to quite a few people at Maryborough and it was pleasing to hear the positive feedback with Protrack.

Bruce Gulliver, coach of Matt Carter and a very good runner in his own righ back in the 1980's, said he refers to it quite a bit as it gives him an idea what's happening in the sport. In particular he liked the 'reviews'.

Others were complimentary about the historical content such as the Prahran Gift thread and the Team of the Century discussion (which I will probably finish after the season is concluded).

I did get a request for some 'flashback' reports on events of yesteryear. That was the 'inspiration' for this 1961 Maryborough Gift item.

I will look at adding one about meets coming up - maybe 20 years ago, 50 years ago, etc.

£ or $

I'm interested to know what the prizemoney was like back then in comparison to todays money. Like, how far would the £300 get you back then and how does it compare to $6,000 last year and $8,000 this year?

Any financial gurus out there want to share their wisdom?

I've heard that in days gone by you could buy a house with cash if you won a Stawell gift. These days you've only got a healthy contribution to your deposit.


Win Stawell in 1961 and you had a 40% deposit towards a house.
Win Stawell in 2010 and you have about an 8 to 10% deposit, towards an average house in the suburbs.
Value of cash prizes in 1961 was a lot more than today.


Houses are comparatively more expensive now than back then so this isn't a fair comparison.


houses are relatively more expensive today as well.

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