HOBART teenager Jacob Despard upstaged a quality field to pull off the biggest victory of his young career by winning the prestigious 2013 Burnie men's Gift yesterday at West Park.
The 16-year-old St Virgils student was the youngest runner in the field and became one of the youngest ever winners. Despard claimed $9000 for the victory.
The Ray Quarrell-trained runner edged out former Stawell Gift winner Adrian Mott, with Victorian Mohammed Zeed third in a time of 12.7 seconds.
Despard ran off eight metres with Mott the backmarker off 4.25m and Zeed off 8.75.
He is the first Tasmanian to win the Burnie Gift since Luke Whitney in 2005, with mainland runners dominating the final for the past seven years.
"I'm stoked - it was a pretty strong field and the backmarkers, I could see them coming at the end and I just started kicking," he said.
"I can't believe it - actually it is crazy.
"It was pretty tough with Mott at the back who came third last year and I was a bit worried about him."
He intends to use some of his prize money to help out his mum who pays for his accommodation and, having just got his L plates, put some toward doing up his car.
Despard paid credit to his coach after his win. "He's had an amazing influence on me," he said. "I went to him just before Christmas last year and he has improved me so much."