Henry's stable to target big races

ASTUTE Victorian running trainer John Henry will again target the major races at the Christmas carnivals after announcing his line-up to come to Tasmania.

Victorian sprinter of the year Matt Hargreaves and Burnie Gift winner Laura-Jane Hilditch head his list of athletes as they attempt to build on an already impressive record at the carnivals.

"We have been able to win the Latrobe Gift three years in a row and took the Burnie Gift on our last visit," the Altona-based coach said.

"Last year we won $37,000 in prizemoney, and we're prepared to go wherever the big races are held."

Henry ran at the carnivals during the 1960 and 1970s and since turning to coaching has brought runners to Tasmania in five of the past six years.

Matt Hargreaves has been one of the stable's leading lights, winning his first classic race in the Latrobe Gift in 2007, and he has been judged Victorian sprinter of the year for four of the past five years.

His younger brothers Chris and Shaun are part of the Henry line- up, along with Hilditch and her father John and 400-metre runner Rhyce Parkinson.

Hilditch claimed the 2012 Burnie Gift when she beat Olympian Melissa Breen and Latrobe Gift winner Carmen Oakley to complete a unique family double on New Year's Day.

Earlier her father, John, 50, had beaten local runner Edward Gates in the Burnie 90m handicap.

Hilditch said she enjoyed the atmosphere of the Burnie carnival.

Chris Hargreaves was third behind Robinson and his brother in the Latrobe Gift and also ran third in the backmarkers sprint at Burnie behind Joshua Ross.

Shaun Hargreaves showed he was a sprinter of the future by making the Stawell Gift final on Easter Monday before finishing fourth to Matthew Wiltshire.

Parkinson made the final of the 400m at Latrobe and is considered a middle- distance runner of the future.

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