HUON sprinter Lee Forrest has been compared to former Albury Olympian Robert Ballard after taking out the rich Stonnington Gift in Melbourne.
Forrest backed up his Maryborough Gift win on New Year’s Day with a sensational performance in the $10,000 race with trainer Marcus Arnold predicting big things.
“He’s a work in progress,” Arnold said yesterday.
“His aim is to represent Australia and he’s on the upward path.
“I would rate him in the same class as a young Robert Ballard when he was making his way up.”
Forrest, who started off 4.25 metres, won the final in a blanket finish after finishing second in his heat and semi-final earlier in the day.
The young gun said it was difficult to separate his wins at Maryborough and Stonnington.
“Maryborough was my first win and this was pretty good too,” Forrest said.
“It felt pretty much the same.
“I thought I had won but I wasn’t sure.
“It was really close.”
Forrest took up running seriously three years ago but has been forced to miss eight months after being struck down by glandular fever and then injuring himself in a motorcycle accident.
Arnold said Friday night’s win underlined Forrest’s class.
“It’s a tough race to win,” he said.
“All the Melbourne sprinters are there and he was off 4.25 metres.
“They all crossed the line together and he won by .001 of a second.
“He’s a terrific kid.”
Forrest finished third in the recent Albury Gift and is likely to run the 63rd Burramine Gift Carnival at Yarrawonga’s JC Lowe Oval on March 15.
The gift winner will take home $5000 with further information able to be found at val.org.au.