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John Stoney wins 1950 Warrnambool Gift from scratch

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Warnambool Gift To Stoney
The Daily News
7th January 1950

MELBOURNE, Sat: Australian sprint champion John Stoney, running for the first time from scratch, clocked eight yards inside evens to brilliantly win the 130yd Warrnambool Gift today.

Stoney Wins Brilliantly
The Sporting Globe
Saturday 7th January 1950

WARRNAMBOOL. — Australian sprint champion John Stoney, running for the first time from scratch, clocked eight yards inside evens to win the 130 yards Warmambool Gift brilliantly this afternoon. Stoney conceded yards to last year's winner, George Merriman. In one of the most thrilling sprints seen in the Western District. He gathered up the joint leaders, Merriman and Emery, at 110 yards and won by one foot with an effective throw at the tape. He was given a prolonged ovation. Stoney ran five yards inside evens in his heat and seven inside evens in his semi-final.

John Stoney Wins Warrnambool Gift
Hobart Mercury
9th Jan 1950

MELBOURNE, Sun,- The 1950 Warrnambool Gift was won yesterday by Australian professional sprint champion John Stoney, of St. Kilda.
Starting from scratch, Stoney was 8¼ yards behind George Merriman, the 1949 winner. Stoney threw himself at the tape to win by one foot from Merriman, with L. Emery third. In both his heat and semi-final Stoney ran inside evens, and went out as 7/4 on favourite for the final.
Final: J. Stoney (scr.) 1; G. Merriman (8¼) 2; L. Emery (8½) 3; H. Bell (7¼) 4. Time: 12.2s.
Betting: 7/4 on Stoney, 2/1 Merriman, Emery.

John Stoney (Scratch) Wins At Warrnambool
Border Watch (Mt Gambier)
Tuesday 10th January 1950

Australian professional sprint champion, John Stoney, ran eight yards inside even time to win the final of the 130 yards Warrnambool Gift from scratch on Saturday.

He conceded last year's winner, George Merriman, eight and a quarter yards and defeated him by a foot in "12 2/10 seconds. This year's Port Fairy Gift winner. L.Emery (8½ yards), was inches behind Merriman in third place.

Running in an outside lane, Stoney caught the joint leaders, Merriman and Emery, about 20 yards from the tape. He "stole" the race from Merriman with his throw at the tape.




The Daily News
11th January 1950

MELBOURNE, Wed: John Stoney's win in the Warrnambool Gift last Saturday has set a problem for the Victorian Athletic League board of handicappers.

Stoney started from scratch and, following his win, will have to be penalised at least one yard. It is likely that Stoney's next start will be from behind scratch, and he will have to run more than the 130yd.

The easy way out for the handicappers would be to put the whole field forward for Stoney. This would deprive many runners of a chance of winning a major gift, as the maximum mark a runner can have in a Gift with a first prize of £100 is 12yd.

If the field is moved forward 1½ yd to leave Stoney on scratch, it will mean that the runner who is handicapped at present on 11yd or more will have to give away portion of his mark to be eligible to compete. At Stawell last year 17 runners were on marks from 11yd to 12yd.

Barney Ewell, who has won a race at Maribyrnong from the scratch mark, is also liable to a penalty.



John Stoney - Athlete Extraordinary:
Can He Win 1951 Burnie Gift?

(By A. J. Donnelly, Publicity Officer for Burnie Athletic Club)
Burnie Advocate
16th December 1950

SINCE joining the professional ranks two years ago, John Stoney has put up some remarkable runs. At his first start as a pro., he won the Bendigo Thousand off 5½ yds. He was third in the 1949 Stawell Gift, 10 ins. away from the winner, off 2 yds.

At Burnie last December, Stoney ran 3 yds in for 100 yds; and early in January this year he won the Warrnambool Gift off 2 yds., running the 128 yds. in 12 2-10 secs. equal to 8 yds. inside.

Many old-time runners say Stoney is the greatest runner in the world, despite his defeat by American negro, Barney Ewell, in the 1950 world sprint championship and some declare him to be a better runner than the late Jack Donaldson.

Stoney is a well-built athlete. He is 6 ft. 1 in., weighs about 12½ stone, and has a wonderful finishing burst.

In the world sprint championship at the Melbourne Showground in February this year, Stoney finished a foot behind Ewell in the 75 yds. (Ewell clocked 7.4 sec.); l½ yds. behind the negro in the 100 yds. (Ewell registered 9.6/16 sec.), and 1 yd. behind the American in the 130 yds., in which Ewell was timed at 12 2/16 secs.

In the 220 yds. Stoney was almost up with Ewell 50 yds. from the tape, and was fighting on strongly. Then, with the race almost in his grasp, Stoney tightened his action, began to reach and pitched to the ground.

Stoney's explanation of this sensational incident was: "When within a foot of Ewell I made an extra effort to pass him, but I gave myself too much forward lean. I toppled over. That is about all that can be said about it. I was terrifically disappointed because at that stage I thought I had a chance of winning."

Stoney has not run competitively since the world championship series, but he has been in training several months now for the forthcoming season.

One of his main missions will be the 1951 Burnie Gift, of £250. Stoney will start off the three yard mark.

Last April in the final of the Stawell Gift, Stoney, from the 2 yard mark, finished third, only 10 inches behind the winner, Jack Cann (8¼). The official time of 11 13/16 secs, for the race made Stoney run 9 yds. 21½ inches inside evens. That performance by Stoney was only 18½ inches behind Jack Donaldson's record.

Take these factors into consideration as the basis of an argument that Stoney’s Stawell run was better than Donaldson's 1911 epic.

Donaldson ran on a near-flat track in almost still weather. The Stawell Gift track rises 3 ft. 2'inches over the 130 yds, and Stoney had a heavy side wind.

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