The men’s field for this Sunday’s inaugural WesTrac Bunbury Geographe Gift is arguably stronger than the famous Stawell Gift the race is modelled on.
Featuring two Commonwealth Games sprinters and this year’s Stawell Gift champion, the 120m handicap is guaranteed to produce some of the most exciting racing ever seen in Western Australia.
Fresh off the Gold Coast track is national 100m champion Trae ‘quadzilla’ Williams.
It’s his first professional handicap race, but with a PB of 10.10 and the fastest start in the world, Williams has born the wrath of the handicapper and will start from scratch tomorrow.
Commonwealth Games teammate Jack Hale fared better and managed to scrape a 0.75m head start on Williams.
Hale has plenty of experience in this style of racing which coupled with his mark may give him the advantage he needs to win the $14,000 prize.
A couple of metres ahead will be Jacob Despard who three weeks ago took home the $40,000 Stawell Gift. Running off 2.25m and fresh from his win, Despard has to be a race favourite.
Paralympian and race commentator Brad Scott has been watching the form and rates 70m runner up William Bailey (9m) as a chance alongside WA sprint star Aaron Bresland (1.5m) and local boy Dylan Panizza (7.25m)
“The real battle will be Trae and Jack, Trae’s fast turnover will help for the first 20m but Jack has more purchase when he runs and is my pick over Trae,” Scott said.
In the women’s 120m young Commonwealth Games sprinter Riley Day will have a hard task to chase down the field, but the 200m specialist should have the legs to do so.
Australian number two heptathlete Kiara Reddingius has plenty of experience in professional races. She won the recent Parkdale Gift on the East Coast and went into Stawell as a favourite and starts tomorrow from 3.75m.
Both will be hot on the heels of Kobi Nichols who starts from 6m and is another frontrunner.
The 120m finals start at 3:25pm at the Bunbury Recreation Ground.