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Published Mon 01 Apr 2024

Chloe Mannix-Power from the Gold Coast and Jack Lacey from Melbourne claimed the crowns at a rain delayed Powercor Stawell Gift Carnival today.
Torrential rain and lightning sensationally meant that all races in the 142nd running of the famous Easter carnival after the 1.25pm adidas Invitational 1000m were stopped for over two hours due to a flooded track. The action resumed with the two main finals of the day - the Powercor Stawell Gift and the Change Our Game Womens Gift.
23 year old Mannix-Power took home the $40,000 prize in the Change Our Game Womens Gift with a winning time of 13:417 off the backmarker handicap of 4.25m, ahead of Chloe Kinnersly 13:526 (9.75m), Jemma Pollard 13:544 (8.75m), Jennifer King 13.692 (11m), Angelina Windshuttle 13.697 (9.25m) and Layla Watson 13.919 (7.5m).
Newly crowned Poweror Stawell Gift champion Jack Lacey was one of the favourites after clocking the equal fastest time in the the semis with 3rd placed Endale Mekonnen. Lacey’s time of 12:272 was off the front mark of 9.5m. A very close 2nd was Jake Ireland in 12.281 (5.5m), son of Stawell Gift finalist Todd Ireland, Mekonnen clocked 12.329 (7m), 4th was Maki Loukeris in 12:430 (7.75m), 5th Brad Hunt 12:434 (6.75m) and 6th Jerome Lugo 12:567 (9.25m).
Chloe thanked her coach Brett Robinson and teammates from Viking Athletics. 
“They all helped me along the way and I couldn’t ask for a better team to win this with.” The Northcliffe Surf Club Manager is already a two times Australian beach sprint champion and will attempt a third title in two weeks time.
“Chloe has put in a massive season,” said 6 time Stawell Gift winning trainer Robinson. 
“We felt very confident going into today especially after her heat time on Saturday. We’re used to delays in beach sprints so the wait today didn’t bother us. Our next goal is to win the Australian Beach Sprints in two weeks then we’ll sit down and make a plan for the future.”
Jack Lacey thanked the Stawell Athletic Club for getting the track ready to race after the torrential rain and thought the wet track might suit him. He also thanked his coach Nick Fiedler, who has trained five Stawell Gift winners now.
“Nick has been an inspiration to me and he has done it again. He told me I could do this and I didn’t believe it. I sacrificed a lot but he was right,” said Lacey.
“Jack’s team partners have been instrumental in turning him into a new and better athlete this year,” said an understated but clearly delighted Nick Fiedler. 
Both Jack and Nick complemented runner up Jake Ireland on an outstanding race, which required a photo finish to split the pair on opposites sides of the track.
The adidas Invitational 1000m Handicap saw Australian middle distance legend Peter Bol take on a slew of the next generation of runners including winner of the 2019 Herb Hedemann 1600m at Stawell Riley Bryce and Michael Ryde who won that same event yesterday to win a place in the Invitational against Bol.
Bryce was able to just hold off backmarker Bol take the inaugural adidas 1000m event and was thrilled to pip Peter at the finish line. 
“To come first against one of Australia’s greatest distance runners was so great,” he said.
Not to be put off by the weather, a gracious Bol reflected on the race.
“Crazy weather but what a great event. I haven’t raced in rain like that since I was a kid! We’ll be back next year, the crowds and kids have been unreal. Congrats to Riley, I left just a little too much to do off the last bend.  I felt I had a chance to catch him but he was just a bit strong,” said Peter.
Halle Martin, the winner of the SYPAQ Lorraine Donnan 400m Handicap in 51:810 was thrilled to take home her first sash earlier in the day after competing at Stawell for 10 years. 
“I’m so grateful to the squad and to win my first Stawell sash, just so glad to be a  part of it all.” Halle is the sister of 2016 Strickland Family Womens Gift winner Talia Martin from the POD Squad in Ballarat.

Rain continued throughout the afternoon, with officials on hands and knees at some stages working to dry out the hallowed turf.  
In a dramatic Stawell Gold Mines Bill McManus Backmarkers 400m final, leader Aidan Green fell metres from the finish line leaving the way open for aptly named 16 year old Dashiel “Dash” Muir to take the win in 45:690.
Lachlan Kinnersly, another member of the POD Squad in Ballarat won the Deakin University Under 18 400m in 46:996 to take home the first sash of Easter Monday.
The Powercor Little Athletics Victoria Handicap 400m was won by Cooper Tudenham in 49.328.
The Dalkeith Computer Solutions Hank Neil Masters Handicap 100m final was won by Aaron Downs from the Vikings Squad on the Gold Coast in 10.993 who also thanked his previous Victorian coach Mark Hipworth.
Among the races cancelled was the prestigious Furphy Chris Perry Memorial Backmarkers Invitational Handicap 120m which would have included a field of strong sprinters including 2023 champions Ryan Tarrant and Bella Pasquali.

By Stawell Gift
Posted: 1/4/2024