Jack Lacey and Chloe Mannix-Powell win Stawell Gift, Peter Bol comes second in Adidas Invitational


“I just had the people around me (as she waited hours for the delayed race and the rain was sheeting down) telling me that this suits us and we’re gonna get it done and we’re gonna win. So we did.”

Lacey, running in the men’s event from a mark of 9.5m, won in 12.27s, just shading Jake Ireland in 12.28s with the favourite Endale Mekonnen coming in third in 12.33s.

Jack Lacey celebrates.

Jack Lacey celebrates.Credit: AAP

“It is a strength of mine to run into a bit of the rain. The track held up really well, it was still quite hard,” Lacey said.

Lacey, who made the semi-finals last year in his first attempt at the Gift, admitted that as racing was suspended and the start time was pushed back several times he feared the event would not be run at all.

“I heard something that, like, we will run it tomorrow. Like, I don’t want to run it tomorrow. But I knew we were probably going to run it tonight. We just had to wait it out,” Lacey said.

The Penguin Books storeman had just bought a house with his partner in Bayswater North in Melbourne’s east and was now planning to plough the $40,000 winners cheque into his mortgage for relief on his house payments.

Flooding around the track at Stawell.

Flooding around the track at Stawell.Credit: Luke Hemer

Earlier, Tokyo Olympics star Bol had to deal with a field that started up to 32 metres ahead of him and a race in heavy rain to come second in the 1000-metre handicap.

In driving rain and with thunder rumbling overhead, Bol folded in all but one competitor in the Adidas Invitational Handicap.

Bol came second, just on the shoulder of the winner Riley Bryce, who had started 10 metres ahead of him in the 1000 metres.

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Bol, who started from scratch, overtook eight runners en route to second place. The winner gets $5000 and second place $2500.

“Crazy weather, but what a great event. I haven’t raced in rain like that since I was a kid,” Bol said.

“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.”

There was controversy on Sunday in the men’s Gift heats when a NSW runner was disqualified following a huge plunge on him into favouritism on the eve of the race meeting.

His odds dropped from $201 to $1.75 before the heats began and his form in the heat was dramatically better than his recent form.

Tom Pellow from Sydney had been given a handicap of 10 metres. He then ran second in one of the quickest heats of the day on Saturday, finishing in 12.25s.

The Victorian Athletic League promptly disqualified him for inconsistent performances.

That is, his form at Stawell was deemed by the stewards to be too significantly better than previous efforts this year when he was running at 13.5s or better in country races.

This masthead is not suggesting Pellow deliberately underperformed to fix the outcome. The stewards’ decision to disqualify Pellow was not related to betting.

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