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Stawell Gift Update: Pre-race favourite dominates the heats

Sun, Apr 16, 11:13am by Head Editor

Australia’s richest footrace looks to be in the clutches of the favourite, after 18-year-old Matthew Rizzo showed why he’s been at the top of betting all week with a dominant display in the opening heats.

The Langwarrin university student was the $3.25 favourite coming in and that price has shortened to $1.40 after his heat win in a slippery 12.10 seconds – the fastest time of the day by 0.22 of a second.

After finishing fifth in last year’s Gift final, Rizzo, who is off 7.5m, looked sharp and will be the man to beat on Monday.

Last year’s winner Isaac Dunmall, who won his heat in 12.47 seconds, is optimistic about his chances of chasing a bit of history but is not given much chance by Sportsbet, who’ve listed him at the big odds of $31. He’ll start off four metres.

If the reigning Gift champion can complete back-to-back victories, he’ll be just the second man in the 136-year history of the event after the legendary Bill Howard achieved the feat in 1966-67.

Second favourite is Will Roberts at $7, who ran a 12.32 in the 16th heat of the day while Nathan Riali won his heat, running a 12.31, which saw his odds come into $12. Mitch Williams-Swain, the 2011 winner, finished fourth in his heat and did not progress.

Ran over 120 metres, the semi-finals will be run just before midday, then the starting gun for the final will sound at 2:20pm on Monday.

Sportsbet Market

Matthew Rizzo (7.5) $1.40

Will Roberts (4.5) $7

Nathan Riali (4.75) $12

Daniel Sonsini (7.75) $15

Leigh Phelan (10) $18

Jayden Gilfillan (8.5) $21

Michael Romanin (4.75) $21

Michael Voumard (10) $26

Andrew Campbell (10) $31

Isaac Dunmall (4) $31

Kyle Grubnic (7) $41

Nick MacGibbon (7.25) $51

James Woodgate (6.25) $51

Cam Dunbar (9.25) $51

Dominic Mah (6) $51

Gary Finegan (5.5) $61

Thomas Moloney (7) $61

Ryan Camille (9.75) $61

Ryan Ilett (6.5) $71

Jojo Kwenin (5.5) $71

Conor Lughnan (7.25) $71

James Vine (7.25) $71

Tom Newman (7.5) $81

Jack Newman (7) $81

Timothy Delahunty (6.5) $101

Leigh Bennett (6.25) $101

Bryce Teo (6.5) $101

Leonard King (5.75) $101

Mitchell Pateman (5.5) $101

Lachlan Sheffield (8) $101

Liam Moss (5.5) $101

Aaron Leferink (6.5) $101

Evan Jarvis (8.5) $101

Ryan Bedford (3.5) $101

Nathan Livitsanos (8.5) $101

Matt Burleigh (9) $101

Andre Imlah (5.5) $101

Spencer Browne (5.5) $101

Mason Keast (9.75) $101

Tjimarri Sanderson-Milera (3.75) $101

Kristerfer Kardakovski (10) $101

Matt Carter (3.5) $101

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