A TEENAGER from Huon is about $8000 richer after claiming the Maryborough Gift yesterday.
Lee Forrest, 18, stunned a strong field of contenders in the final to claim around $8000 worth of prizemoney.
Running off a seven-metre handicap, Forrest edged out rivals Noddy Angelakos (12m) and Dean Scarff (5.5m) to win a tight final at Maryborough’s Princes Park.
It was just the third race of Forrest’s career.
“I just can’t believe it,” he said in the moments after his win.
“I’m absolutely stoked.
“It was probably my best run ever.
“I was so nervous and excited before the final and it all just happened for me.”
Forrest won both his heat and semi-final races to get into the final, something he admits was enough to satisfy him.
“I definitely didn’t think I’d win,” he said.
“I was happy enough just making the final.
“I really only went there for the experience — it’s crazy.”
After being knocked out in the heats at Stawell last year, and in the semi- finals at South Australia’s Bay Sheffield Gift a few days ago, yesterday’s race was the first gift final of Forrest’s now promising career.
Forrest said the prizemoney would help him enormously.
“I’ve got a gap year coming up and this will go a long, long way to helping,” he said.
Forrest now has his eyes on an appearance in the Albury-Wodonga Gift at Albury Sportsground at the end of the month.
“I missed out two years ago because I was injured and ran in the 400 last year,” Forrest explained.