Bruce sprints to final spot but can’t catch flying Fifer Lister

HAWICK-trained Colin Bruce, of Selkirk, did himself proud in reaching the final of the 143rd New Year Sprint Handicap at Musselburgh Racecourse last weekend.

From the Ross Weir school, Bruce (14m) won his heat on the opening day of the two-day event, which earned him a cross-tie spot for the following day.

Come the semi-finals Bruce (pictured) was beaten but qualified for the final nevertheless by being the fastest loser.

In the final, however, it was Fife flier Graeme Lister, of Kirkcaldy, who hit the high spots to win the £4,000 first prize.

Odds-on favourite Lister won by a clear five metres and was the most convincing winner of the historic sprint in modern times.

Lister’s triumph, however, wasn’t well received in certain areas, with many complaints that his mark of 12.5m was too generous.

Better known for competing in the 400m and 800m events rather than sprinting, Lister was laughing all the way to the bank.

Talking of his own performance, Bruce said: “Considering I had been bothered with niggling injuries I was happy with my running.

“I felt good in winning my heat and was then involved in a very fast cross tie.

“Although I got beaten, I thought I had a chance of getting into the final as a fastest loser as I knew it was a very quick time.

“And while I knew I had no chance of winning, I was thrilled just to be in the final.”

Hawick’s David Rae (10m) soared to a win in his heat, only to be eliminated in the cross ties.

He said: “Although I missed a lot of training in December due to injury, I managed to win my heat and this really pleased me.

“In the cross ties I knew I was right out of contention but it was good to be in them.

“Nobody was going to beat Graeme after the way he won his heat on the first day.

“He was head and shoulders above anyone else in the sprint and could have run off eight metres and still won well.”