Davie and Leigh reach final of historic New Year Sprint

HAWICK may not have produced the winner of the historic New Year sprint handicap at Musselburgh racecourse, but the town was well represented throughout.

Former winner Leigh Marshall and David Rae both reached the final of the world famous sprint, which was shown live on national television. While teenage star Dylan Ali was a semi-finalist.

Rae and Marshall, off 5.75m and 8.75m respectively, both triumphed in their heats on the sea-side course track and booked a final spot by emerging fastest losers in the cross ties.

Also in the cross ties was Ali (9m), who had qualified for the semi-finals as a fastest loser, having been beaten by Marshall in his heat.

Speaking on behalf of the Teri three, Marshall said: “Davie, Dylan and myself all train together and we’ve been training hard for the past four months for the New Year sprint.

“We mainly train on the Hawick and Wilton cricket pitch and we’ve a lot to thank the cricket club for as they let us use their ground and facilities.

“Steven Riddell has also been a massive help as he’s our physio and gives us rubs.

“Davie takes charge of the training and because of this all three of us were very fit and in great condition.”

Winner of the New Year sprint four years ago Marshall added: “Davie and I were both chuffed when we won our heats. I’d been drawn in the same heat as Dylan, but he got into the semi-finals as a fastest loser which was great.

“It was a great honour to be in the final.”

Victory, and the £4,000 winning purse, went the way of Edinburgh’s Ben Robbins, who produced some powerhouse sprinting during each of his three outings over the two-day event to take the honours in great style.

The talented rugby player broke the tape in 12.14 seconds ahead of Edinburgh’s Kieran Reilly (8.75m) and Gemma Nicol of Dunfermline (16.5m), who finished third.

Also hoisting the Hawick flag by appearing in a final was Phillipa Robertson (12.25m).

A young runner of great promise and potential she finished third in the youths 60m handicap, coming in behind Josh Abbott of Kelso and Josh Dougal of TLJT.