Zahli Drummond races to 3200m Melbourne Cup Day win

TALENTED teenager Zahli Drummond joined the list of Melbourne Cup day winners in Tuesday night’s athletics contest at the Flora Hill track.

POWERING AWAY: Teenager Zahli Drummond wins Tuesday night's annual 3200m Athletics Bendigo Melbourne Cup Day race at the Flora Hill track. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

POWERING AWAY: Teenager Zahli Drummond wins Tuesday night's annual 3200m Athletics Bendigo Melbourne Cup Day race at the Flora Hill track. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

A field of 21 lined up for the ninth running of the Hilson Builders-backed classic.

The 3200m race is one of the most sought-after on the Flack Advisory Bendigo Region’s track calendar and just like the bigger race at Flemington, run under handicap conditions.

Drummond had eight runners start before her and conceded a two-minute start to frontmarker Frances Walsh from Bendigo University.

Contenders for the 2017 edition of the eight-lap duel at the Latrobe University Bendigo athletics complex in Retreat Road included previous winners Scott Baxter, 2016; Mick Hobson, 2015; and Trevor Kelly, 2011.

Walsh led at 1400m to go, but Drummond surged to the front and kicked clear of the chasing pack.

Drummond led Harriers clubmate Alice Wilkinson by 70m at two laps to go as South Bendigo’s  Darcy Nelson kept powering on.

The cool and windy conditions tested all runners.

Most of the field slowed down approaching bell lap, but Eaglehawk’s Trevor Kelly and University’s Ingrid Douglass lifted their rate.

At 300m to go, Drummond upped the pace as she rounded the turn at the discus cage and went on to cross the line about 11 seconds clear of Wilkinson, who recently competed in the Melbourne Marathon.

Nelson put in an impressive performance to be fastest male.

The Cup action for athletes was part of the Adam Parker Electrical-backed Tuesday Night Series at LUBAC.

Next Tuesday’s race will be the Leigh Purtill 10,000m Championship at Flora Hill from 7pm.

• Tuesday night’s Hilson Builders Melbourne Cup, 3200m:

Zahli Drummond 15, Bendigo Harriers 2.00 handicap mark, 12:19.49; Alice Wilkinson 31, Bendigo Harriers 2.20, 12:10.17; Darcy Nelson 16, South Bendigo 3.30, 11:02.91; Trevor Kelly 58, Eaglehawk 2.50, 12:01.94; Ingrid Douglass 47, Bendigo University 1.50, 13:03.51; Craig Feuerherdt 42, Uni. 3.40, 11:20.60; Rick Ermel 56,BH 2.20, 12:43.89; Matt Sullivan 23, Invitation 3.30, 11:39.09; Aaron Norton 38, SB 2.20, 12:52.50; Frances Walsh 54, Uni. 0, 15:15.01; Tony Vlaeminck 51, BH 2.10, 13:05.21; Scott Baxter 42, Inv. 3.00, 12:15.89; Kade McCay 14, BH 2.20, 13:01.18; Peter Curtis 23, SB 2.40, 12:52.52; Charles Chambers 63, Uni. 1.40, 13:55.16; Maree Platt 43, Uni. 10, 15:29.69; Leanne Healey 52, BH 1.40, 14:03.02; Yvette Tuohey 26, BH 1.10, 14:41.21; Mick Hobson 45, BH 3.10, 12:44.07; Lachlan Feuerherdt 12, Uni. 1.50, 14:29.59; Luke Feuerherdt 10, Uni. 1.10, 15:37.63.