ST BERNARDS WRAP
Don Furness Memorial 70 metres.
Class was on display for the Don Furness Memorial at St Bernard’s as a quality field lined up for the final. Liam Dooley (3m) after registering the fastest heat time of 7.74 seconds strode away with the final to defeat Kevin Brittain (1.75m) by half a metre in 7.70, third was the ever consistent Chris Hargreaves (4m). Backmarker, Simon Greig (0.5m) ran a great race to finish fifth less than a metre from the winner. Liam is trained at Geelong by Trevor Beaton and earlier in the afternoon also made the final of the RACV 100 metres, finishing second.
The race is named in honour of the late Don Furness a champion Fitzroy footballer and former VAL sprinter.
North Suburban Club Womens and Veterans 800 metres
The Quilty/Beer training combination struck again at St Bernard’s when Sean Quilty (38m) won the womens/vets 800 metres for the second time in 1.59.7. Sean, the backmarker, steadily made ground to be in a striking position at the 200 metre mark, surging to the lead on the home turn to hold off a determined Martin Barrow (92m). Hanging onto third was Laura Yorke (146m), thus registering her first placing with the VAL. Lauren Crowe (138m), who had run a tenacious race to be clear at the 200 metres unfortunately fell in the home straight and lost a certain third place cheque. Lauren showed great courage to get to her feet and still finish fourth.
Although Sean’s win was meritorious it paled into complete anonymity when his young training partner Sam Beer donkey licked a quality field to win the St Bernard’s Boy’s sprint. Sam, who had to walk to St Bernard’s from his under age football match in Rowville (with slight concussion), answered all critics with a resounding win in a punishing finish. Sam’s mum, Martine, consented to give the youngster a lift home.
Keilor East RSL, Sandy Hurst Memorial 70 metres.
After running the fastest semi final of 7.68, Matthew Harvey (5.25m) defeated the other semi winner, Cam Dunbar (4m & 7.73) in the Sandy Hurst memorial in the time of 7.66. Matthew has been running with the VAL for three years and Sundays win was his third, all over 70 metres. He had previously won a novice 70 metres at Ringwood and an open event at the Melbourne Gift. Cam Dunbar continues to perform consistently and another win should not be far away. Craig Foley (7.75m) was third just ahead of Graham Verbunt (12.5m). Harvey, from Keysborough is self trained.
Civic Packaging and MGB Insurance Womens 70 metres.
Emma Doyle (4.25) secured her first VAL victory at St Bernard’s with a narrow win over Sonya Pollard (8.5m) and Jane Hubbard (6.5m) in the time of 8.78. Sonya’s time was also given as 8.78 but the finishing machine was able to give Emma the decision by a one thousandth of a second. Emma is in her first season with the VAL and improved on her final placings at Euroa, Noble Park and Avondale Heights.
Racv Youth 100 metres.
After a controversial hold up and re‐adjustment of handicaps Jordan Keast (9.25m) won the final of the RACV 100 metres from Liam Dooley (1m) and Tarryn Fisher (20.5) in the time of 10.86. As the runners gathered for the running of the heats of the event it was discovered that the handicaps in the program were for the distance of 120 metres and not the required 100 metres. Senior handicapper Mark O’Brien, ever vigilant, quickly made the amendments and the race was run and won by Keast. Jordan in his first year with the VAL is a Ballarat trained runner. The first four across the line were country trained, proving how keen runners were to gain a spot in the final in this the last round of RACV heats. The final is to be conducted at Stawell. The other runners to join Jordan at Stawell are Jack Lewis, Michael Gatt, Kate Jones, Stephen Mariner, Ellie Maguire, Jeremy Fernando and Darcy Hubbard. Andrew Campbell is first emergency.
100 metres Strathmore Bendigo Bank
Robert Lehmann (7.75m) enjoying his best season for years romped away with the 100 metres final in the time 10.61. Augustine Carty‐Cowling (6.75m) and Chris Diegan (7.75m) filled the placing in a blanket finish for second. The win at St Bernard’s was Robert’s third for the season, having won the prestigious Keilor Gift in February amongst his twenty final appearances this season. The Lehmann stable, small in numbers, have continued to collect sashes throughout the season with multiple wins by Patricia and Nathan Fox as well as Robert’s wife Narelle.
St Bernard’s school Girls sprint.
Joining in the party was youngest daughter Meg Lehmann who collects another victory for the stable with a gritty win in the St Bernard’s girls sprint. Young Lehmann was confronted in the final with a field of opponents that would draw huge crowds in the European Golden League. The out marker, Milla McManus, daughter of Olympian and Stawell gift winner, Andrew, was unable to hold out the flying Megster. Meg, always confident of victory, collected the first prize of a trip to Disneyland and unlimited spending money with a speech that would rank with Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”.
Bendigo Bank 800 metres Feature.
In an action packed 800 metres final Shane Woodrow (52m) came back “from the dead” to grab a last stride win from the backmarker Kaine Leech (26m) in the time of 1.52.27. Evan Rees (44m) ran a game race to hang onto third, clear of Cameron Yorke (36m) and Greg Hilson (90m). Leech looked to have the race at his mercy when he moved with apparent ease through the field to be running second at the bell on the back of Greg Hilson, the fastest heat winner. At the 150 metres Woodrow looked only to be a place chance as Leech swept to the lead and open up a good break. But as leech was being hailed the winner Woodrow, dug deeper, drove through and gained the win in the last few metres. Woodrow is trained at Ballarat by veteran
trainer Len Templar.
Young guns, Jack Lewis (44m) and Josh west (40m), showed in their heat runs that they will be a force in the VAL for years to come.
St Bernard’s Old Collegians 300 metres Womens and Veterans.
After a hotly contested series of heats Rick Dunbar (63m) cleared out in the final of the womens/veterans to record his second win in the event. Rick had a clear margin over place getters Megan McMahon (53m) and Kaitlin Adamson (35m) in the time of 35.81. Dunbar senior's durability was further emphasised with a quicker winning time than last year on a similar mark. Megan McMahon continued on with her consistent season to gain another placing. When interviewed, “off the record” after the event Rick was “allegedly” heard to say that he had the Bendigo Bank 800 metres in his sights for next season.
300 metres Montara Winery Open
After a narrow second in his heat to Chris Roche (31m), Nathan Fox (18m) was able to turn the tables in the final with a decisive win over Robert Keenan (26m) and Roche in the time of 34.22. On the home turn as Keenan was starting to get the better of Roche, Fox came with a solid finishing burst to hit the line full of running. Nathan, a member of the Lehmann stable, had previously won the 120 metre event at St Bernard’s in the 07/08 season. Sunday’s win was his fourth for the season having won at Movember, Terang and Ararat. The placegetters, Chris Roche and Robert Keenan have both had good seasons and will be definite chances to win
again before the season closes.
2000 metres Peter Nathan Gold Sponsors.
Jeremy Grey (170m) left nothing to chance on the home turn as he drove hard to the finish line to record a convincing win in the final 2000 metres event of the season. He defeated Matthew McDonough (60m), Harry Smithers (65m) and Mark Boxer (185m) in the time of 5.30.6. Michael Walsh (350m) and Emily Paulin (330m) maintained a good margin over the field early in the race but started to tire before the bell. Just as it looked likely that the backmarkers would take over, Grey sprinted hard and put the result beyond doubt. If the truth be known, his margin was increasing over the concluding stages. Jeremy has been competing with the VAL for five seasons and his previous win was the 1600 metres at Burramine in 2009. The St Bernard’s 2k race has always been a good guide to events at Stawell and the place getters as well as the winner should feature well at Easter.