http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/star/keilor-taylors-lakes-sydenham/284/story/128464.htmlWilliamstown's Chris Diegan, in yellow,
wins the 70m open event at St Albans last month. Gift Field to ShineBy Michael Esposito
Star News Keilor
15th February 2011
PREVIOUS champions and budding young stars are among a season-high list of entries for Saturday's Keilor Gift.
Ninety-five runners have entered for the prestigious race, making it the most popular race of the Victorian Athletics Season so far.
Among the entries are last year's winner Cam Dunbar and 2009 champion Daniel Sammut.
VAL starter Matthew Webster, who has an unsurpassed knowledge of the Keilor Gift's history, said there were more potential winners than starting blocks this year.
Mornington Peninsula's Bros Kelly will certainly be among the favourites, particularly as training partner Matt Carter, who won Peninsula and Maryborough gifts this season, decided not to enter.
Williamstown's Chris Diegan won the 120m and 70m open sprints at Avondale Heights on 5 February, and also won the 70m open at St Albans the week before. He is expected to feature prominently.
Werribee has this season been represented with distinction by three brothers – Christopher, Matthew and Shaun Hargreaves.
They have all nominated for the Keilor Gift
Matthew won the Woodside Gift late last year, but Webster prefers Shaun's chances.
Shaun has won open races ranging in distance from 70m to 550m this season, and will start off a kinder handicap of 6.25m.
There are also big wraps on East Bentleigh's Doug Greenough. His form is as good as it was last season, when he won the Rye and Ararat gifts and made the Stawell Gift final, but he will be running off a reduced handicap of 7m.
“I reckon he'll make the final. There are unofficial whispers he's good enough to win Stawell, but whether it's this year or next year I'm not too sure,” Webster said.
Greenough has not made a gift final this season but is steadily improving – as his sixth place in the Avondale Heights 120m open suggests.
And then there are the dark horses.
“My sleeper would be Josh Tiu,” Webster predicted. “ He's a young kid from Doncaster who trains with the powerful Nick Fiedler stable at Ringwood.
Tiu was a Stawell gift finalist last year, but jarred his knee in the semi-final, virtually eliminating his chances of winning the prestigious foot race.
“He could have won Stawell if he hadn't had that jarred knee,” Webster said.
Rye Gift winner Craig Rollinson, who trains under Wally Meechan, is considered a fighting chance, while two years ago winner Daniel Sammut, of NSW, is in good enough form to make the final.
The day's events will begin at 12.20pm with the 70m open heats, and conclude with the Keilor Gift at 8.45pm. Fireworks will follow the presentation.
The popular woodchopping events will be held in the main arena at 7pm.
Keilor Recreation Reserve will have a strong police presence to ensure the Gift remains a safe, enjoyable family event.