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February 2024

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60 years ago - K Lyons 'Shows Them' to win Canberra Gift

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Report on the 1951 Canberra Gift - 60 years ago this year.

K. Lyons Wins Jubilee Gift Brilliantly
The Canberra Times
March 5th 1951

Ken Lyons, 23 year-old farmer from Mangoplah, won the Canberra Jubilee Gift of 130 yards at the St Patrick's Day sports carnival at Manuka Oyal.on Saturday.

More than 5,000 persons attended the afternoon and night sessions of the carnival, features of which were a procession from Kingston, and a calisthenics display by children of St Christopher's and St Patrick's schools.

First placing In the Canberra Gift, which was worth £200, to the winner, was a triumph for Lyons.

Racing in a heat of the Gift last year he was alleged to have not been doing his best and was disqualified by the N.S.W. athletic officials for three months.

Lyons said: "At that time", I was trying my hardest. I will show them. I will be back next year and they will be moving to catch me."

Interviewed in the dressing room after his win by a yard trom G. Aisbett of Sydney, Lyons said: "I told you I would be back and here I am."

Lyons ran the 130-yard course in the final in time equivalent to 2½ yards inside evens. He was on a handicap of 10¼ yards.

He praised his trainer, Mr. J. Bradley, of Mangoplah, end said that but for his consistent atten tion he would not have won the Gift.

Lyons was the first to get moving from the starting blocks, and was in front for the entire distance. At the 75 yards peg he led by inches from Aisbett and Irwin, but nearing the tape he flashed across the line with at least a yard to spare.

After his win in the semi-final a few bets of 6/4 on were offered about Lyons. These were quickly snapped up, and it was almost impossible, to back him for the final. He paid 9/- on the tote for 5/- invested.

A. O. Williams, of Sydney, who won the Commonwealth Sprint in 1950, again repeated title performance. The smallest runner at the carnival, Williams raced with courage and tenacity and won by inches. He too was quoted at 6/4 on, and paid 8/6 on the tote.

The most thrilling race of the carnival was the Shamrock Handicap. C. Skipperdene, off 40 yards, beat E Hill, of Corrimal, by inches in a gruelling finish.

Approaching the final 100 yards, Skipperdene trailed Hill by 50 yards. In a final burst he caught the tired Hill inches from the post and won by inches only.

Trainers and officials of the NSW. Athletic League, who attended the carnival, praised the running track, saying It was better than any in NSW, and compared favourably with the best tracks in Australia.

The floodlighting for the finals was excellent.

Some trainers and runners, however, commented that "automatic finishes" should be installed. They said that there were several doubtful decisions regarding second and third placlngs."

The "automatic flni&h" is in use throughout Victoria. When a runner breaks the finishing tape, a coloured disc is raised automatically, This eliminates any confusion in a close finish.

Presentation of Sash
After he had won the Canberra Jubilee Gift, Lyons was presented with a Jubilee Sash by the Ambassador for Ireland, Dr. T. J. Kiernan.

Congratulating Lyons, Dr. Kiernan praised the work of the St. Patrick's Day Sports Association in giving to the people of Canberra such an important footrunning carnival.

Lyons, acknowledging the congratulations, said: "I am happy I won. It is back luck for the other chappies, but they know there is always another time. The only thing I find wrong with Canberra is the bookmakers."

Detailed Results

Eden-Monaro Handicap - 130 yards.
First £10, second £3, third £2.

Heat 1
1 B. Manahan (Randwick)
2 A. Trengrove (Wagga)
Time: 12.3s.

Heat 2
1 C. Mann (Queanbeyan)
2 P. Patterson (Cootamundra)
Time: 12.7s.

Heat 3
1 R. Kennedy (Sydney)
2 R. Parr (Sydney)

1 B. Manahan, 10yds.
2 R. Kennedy, 10yds.
3 A. Trengrove, 9yds.

Commonwealth Sprint - 75 yards.

First £30, -second £8, third £4.

Heat 1
1 A. O. Williams (Sydney)
2 B. McNamara (Sydney)
Time: 7.1s.

Heat 2
1 A. F. Hill (Corrimal)
2 J. F. Gogan (Wagga)
Time: 7.3s.

Heat 3
1 S. W. Rath (Wagga)
2 A. S. Smith (Quenbeyan)
Time: 7.4s.

Heat 4
1 J. Pritchard (Sydney)
2 K. Motley (Sydney)
Time: 7.3s.

Heat 5
1 R. Dalla (Cootamundra)
2 A. C. McNamara (Sydney)
Time: 7.3s.

Heat 6
1 J. McLean (Bowral)
2 E. G. Banner (Sydney)
Time: 7.3s.

Heat 7
1 P. McKeown (Melbourne)
2 J, Keane (Sydney)
Time: 7.2s.

Heat 8
1 E. H, Potts (Lithgow)
2 C. Bowring (Sydney)
Time: 7.4s.

Heat 9
1 R. Jolly (Sydey)
2 E. Richardson (Canley Vale)
Time: 7.3s.

First Semi-Final
1 A. Williams
2 J. F. Grogan
Time: 7.1s.

Second Semi-Final
1 J. McLean
2 E. Banner
Time: 7.2s.

Third Semi-Final
1 E. H. Potts
2 J. Keane
Time: 7.3s.

1 A. O. Williams, 6 yds.
2 J. F. Grogan, 6¼ yds.
3 E. TI, Potts, 5½ yds.

Canberra Jubilee Gift - 130 yards.
First £200, second £35, third £15, fourth £5.

Heat 1
1 K.'Lyons (Wagga)
2 J. Keane (Sydney)
Time: 12s.

Heat 2
1 G. Aisbett (Sydney)
2 J. McLean (Bowral)
Time: 12s.

Heat 3
1 R Burns (Narromine)
2 B. McNamara (Leadville)
Time: 12.1s.

Heat 4
1 N. Irwin (Albury)
2 KrEedy (Sydney)
Time: 12.1s.

Heat 5
1 A. 0. WiWilliams (Sydney)
2 P. McKeown (Melbourne)
Time: 12s.

Heat 6
1 E. Banner (Sydney)
2 A. Steadman (Sydney)
Time: 12.1s.

Heat 7
1 R. Boots (Sydney)
2 , J. Newman, (Sydney)
Time: 11.8s.

Heat 8
1 E. Potts (Lithgow)
2 C. Bowring (Sydney)
Time: 12.1s.

Heat 9
1 D. Ettihghausen (Sydney)
2 J. R. Jolley (Sydney)
Time: 12.9s.

First Semi-Final
1 K. Lyons lO¼ yds.
2 G. Áisbett 8¼ yds.
Time: 11.8s.

Second Semi-Final
1 N Irwin 9 yds.
2 K. Eedy ll¾ yds
Time: 12s.

Third Semi-Final
1 E. Potts 9¼ yds.
2 J. Newman 7½ yds.
Time: 11.8s.

1 K. J. Lyons lO¼ yds.
2 G. Aisbott 8¼ yds.
3 N. Irwin, 9 yds.
4 K. Eedy, ll¾y ds.
Time: 11.7s

Shamrock Handicap- 880 yards.
First £25, second £6, third £4.

Heat 1
1 E. Hill (Corrimal)
2 C. Leal (Sydney)
Time: 2m-2.8s.

Heat 2
1 V. O'Sullivan (Lithgow)
2 C. J. Skipperdene (Auburn)
Time: 2m-5.7s

1 C. J. Skipperdene 40 yds
2 E. Hill 55yds
3 V. O'Sullivan 40yds
Time: lm-58.3s.

Federal Handicap- 220 yards.
First £25, Second £6, third £4.

Heat 1
1 J. Pritchard (Sydney)
2 K. Dowling (Sydney)
Time: 21.2s.

Heat 2
1 N. Richardson (Sydney)
2 R. Kennedy (Sydney)
Time: 21.8s.

Heat 3
1 J. Keane (Miranda)
2 L McAleer ( Sydney)
Time: 21.4s.

Repercharge Heat
1 J. O'Brien (Sydney)
2 K. Dowling (Sydney)
Time: 22s.

1 J. Keane 16yds.
2 J O'Brien 12yds.
3 J. Pritchard 30yds.



The only thing I find wrong with Canberra is the bookmakers."

Didn't know JH & Les have been bookmaking that long!



200 Pounds first prize would have bought you plenty in 1951 I would think. What would a house have cost back then ?

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