Several in running for major trophy

TODAY'S men's and women's Burnie gifts are the most wide open for a number of years, according to the experts with a number of runners in with a chance to add their names to the prestigious trophy.

Carnivals athletics commentator Brian Paine has opted for North-West runners in Wynyard's Jordan Englund and Sheffield's Latrobe Gift winner Ashleigh Corbett as his favourites, while carnival's athletics co-ordinator Rod Walker, who successfully predicted both Devonport Gift winners, has picked Victorian Simon Fitzpatrick and Hobart's Kimberley Geelan.

"Jorden is running a couple of metres quicker this season under the guidance of his coach John McLaren and even though he has been rehandicapped three- quarters of a metre he is my choice to win," Paine said.

"The John Henry-trained Victorian teenager Luke Stevens has been winning races at Devonport and I was impressed with his run in the 200 metres at Devonport and Luke Whitney is capable of winning his second Burnie Gift."

Rosebery and Latrobe men's gift winner John Howe will go back two metres but should be another with a good chance to make the final along with a quartet of Damian-Lawler trained Hobart runners in Jarrod Gilroy, Russell Taib, Jesse Usoalii and Max Waldron.

Paine also rated the chances of two Victorians in the Mark Hipworth-trained Adam Coote, who recently ran second in the Bay Sheffield Gift, and the John Henry-trained Matt Hargreaves who could add to his impressive record.

"It's difficult to see Andrew Robinson getting up from his mark of 1.25 metres but as usual Robbo will give it 100 per cent and could make the final," he said.

"In the women's gift Ashleigh Corbett won't be rehandicapped for her Latrobe win and I think she is capable of making it a Latrobe-Burnie double."

Paine thought home-town runner Sandy Loring was a good chance to repeat her 2010 victory off 10.25m and in-form Victorian runner Cara Boustead, who finished third in the Bay Sheffield, will be hard to run down off 12m.

"Michelle Davis will be pulled one metre for winning the 200 metres at Devonport and should be thereabouts and I also like the chances of Ulverstone's Abbey Chapman, Hobart's Lily Castle and Cambridge's Kiara Chambers."

Walker also rated the chances for success of the Tasmanian runners but liked Victorian Simon Fitzpatrick the most for taking out the title.

"He ran second in the Devonport 200 metres, which was a race he wanted to win so I think he will be pretty hungry to have a go at the Burnie Gift," he said.

"I thought Jorden Englund would win but I heard he was pulled a metre I think for winning the 70 metres at Devonport.

"Jarrod Gilroy always runs a good race and I think he will be there."

Walker thought Luke Whitney could be a dark horse after running places in big races on the mainland the week before Christmas but failing to fire so far in the carnivals and Victorian Mohamad Zeed was another with a chance to do well after finishing fourth last year and winning the 200m at Devonport.

"I think Kimberley Geelan is a red-hot favourite in the women's after running well on the mainland too and she has been foxing along over the carnivals and won a few placings so I think she is ready to go," he said.

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