The annual Club 5000 Handicap race was run on Saturday April 27 at the well-established Bennettswood course adjacent to Gardiner’s Creek. Meeting at Hagenauer’s Reserve, a small group departed 20 minutes before the planned starting time and were pleasantly surprised at the number of others on course waiting to start.
Ultimately 26 starters materialized, several of them vying for the honour of coming up with the most inventive excuse for leniency or producing the most agonized facial expression upon hearing the news of their allocated mark. Notable efforts came from Dave Cross, Tom Waters and Dale Bickham. A special novice attempt from Cameron Baker was adjudged outstanding. He nearly knocked off more experienced campaigners such as Wes Windsor, a perennial high achiever in the annual efforts to extract a more lenient handicap, and again this year’s star performer. Previous race winner, Jocelyn Keage, showed she will be difficult to beat in future years with an impressive and impassioned effort to convince the handicapper that there had been a serious mistake made in her case. Cameron was somewhat lucky not to have an additional time penalty, as the handicapper had calculated his proposed time assuming that he would be running the course with pole held aloft in the vaulting position. Maybe with the additional adrenalin such a penalty might have induced, he might have shaded his opposition – perhaps next year?
Sam Hassett and Dale Bickham both qualified for the “Time Mismanagement Award”, literally arriving when the race was about to start or when it had actually started. Certainly this was a novel attempt to persuade the handicapper that they deserved different treatment in forthcoming years.
Enough of the preliminaries, and on to the main event. Haley Tomlinson ran a superb race, and won clearly in the outstanding time of 17 m. 44 s. She started like a rocket and overtook everyone else in front of her, crossing the finishing line 11 seconds clear of Dominic Macken, an experienced athlete set to resume his running career with Box Hill after a break from the sport. Haley’s time on this tested course was extremely impressive, and as many of us who have watched her improving know, suggests that she will continue to create new standards of achievement as she gets older and stronger. Well done Haley and we look forward to seeing you continue to improve. Chris O’Connor nearly outfoxed the handicapper, resorting to being sighted recently riding a bicycle along the Yarra Trail with an alleged injury. Well, the sympathy has come to an end with the revelation in the race of his excellent form, untroubled by the previously cited injuries. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say.
Our two leading distance athletes, Graeme Olden and Marcus Tierney, who both started in the absence of John Meagher, performed well, and had probably their best chance to win this year (the Year of the Backmarker), had not several others excelled themselves on the day. Other notable efforts came from the punctual David Ayers, Patrick Kelly, who forgot to start at the right time, the battle between Adam Pepper and Tony Bird, adding to their recent rivalry, and one unnamed starter who removed part of her running costume which should have remained where it was intended to stay.
Sam Hassett probably should really have been the winner as he ran exactly to the time predicted by the handicapper, and Marcus Tierney also gained Brownie points for his acuity in pace judgement.
Thanks to Graeme Olden for setting up the course and Julie Milner and Stewart Livingston for providing the post-race victuals.
|Place||Name||Elapsed Time||Handicap||Act. race time|
|1||Haley Tomlinson||20 m. 49||3:05||17 m. 44|
|2||Dominic Macken||21 m. 00||2:30||18 m. 30|
|3||Chris O’Connor||21 m. 02||4:00||17 m. 02|
|4||Cameron McIver||21 m. 05||3:30||17 m. 35|
|5||Graeme Olden||21 m. 23||6:20||15 m. 03|
|6||David Ayers||21 m. 33||3:25||18 m. 08|
|7||Patrick Kelly||21 m. 47||4:20||17 m. 27|
|8||Sam Hassett||21 m. 50||5:50||16 m. 00|
|9||Marcus Tierney||21 m. 51||6:35||15 m. 16|
|10||David Cross||21 m. 58||2:15||19 m. 43|
|11||Tom Waters||21 m. 59||5:10||16 m. 49|
|12||Alice Baquie||22 m. 16||2:20||19 m. 36|
|13||Dale Bickham||22 m. 18||5:50||16 m. 28|
|14||Amanda Harper||22 m. 20||0:30||21 m. 50|
|15||Fiona Turner||22 m. 23||1:35||20 m. 48|
|16||Tony Bird||22 m. 24||4:50||17 m. 34|
|17||Adam Pepper||22 m. 26||4:50||17 m. 36|
|18||Matt Slater||22 m. 43||4:40||18 m. 03|
|19||Luke Yeatman||22 m. 45||5:40||17 m. 05|
|20||Dave Featherston||23 m. 06||2:30||21 m. 36|
|21||Cameron Baker||23 m. 18||2:15||21 m. 03|
|22||Carly Carmody||23 m. 25||Go||23 m. 25|
|23||Beth Bird||23 m. 35||1:50||21 m. 45|
|24||Amy Zagato||24 m. 30||2:20||22 m. 10|
|25||Wes Windsor||25 m. 37||2:10||23 m. 27|
|26||Jocelyn Keage||27 m. 01||4:25||23 m. 27|
|Previous Winners||Fastest Time|
|1992||Leigh Miller||17 m. 06||Graeme Olden||14 m. 56|
|1993||Nick Luxton||16 m. 48||Graeme Olden||15 m. 09|
|1994||Dale Bickham||17 m. 16||Scott Jackson||15 m. 08|
|1995||Sam Hassett||18 m. 38||Graeme Olden||15 m. 17|
|1996||Michael Bourne||24 m. 40||Graeme Olden||15 m. 27|
|1997||Michael Bourne||20 m. 50||Glenn Tooze||15 m. 58|
|1998||Ashley Boyd||20 m. 11||Graeme Olden||15 m. 07|
|1999||Tom Waters||15 m. 38||Marcus Tierney||14 m. 34|
|2000||Jocelyn Keage||17 m. 40||Graeme Olden||15 m. 21|
|2001||Liam Rourke||17 m. 40||Scott Jackson||15 m. 36|