Reynolds wins classic thriller

ARARAT schoolteacher Andrew Reynolds admits to a casual approach to training, but that didn't stop him from storming to a surprise win in the eight kilometre Seppelt Cross Country Classic at Great Western.

Winner of the Seppelt Classic Andrew Reynolds, with placegetters Rhonda Rice and Nathan Bendelle.

Winner of the Seppelt Classic Andrew Reynolds, with placegetters Rhonda Rice and Nathan Bendelle.

Reynolds hadn't finished further back than seventh in his five previous starts with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club this season and had done nothing special preparing for the "race for wine."

"I enjoy the challenge and I guess I did it on sheer pig-headedness and stubbornness," he said light-heartedly.

Then he added, "I really haven't done much training because it's usually raining at lunchtime."

On a wet and muddy Great Western racecourse, the Seppelt turned out to be a triumph for club president and handicapper Neil Wilde whose astute calculations resulted in 0.27 seconds separating the winner from the tenth placed last start winner Jack Trounson.

Last year's Classic winner Rhonda Rice almost repeated the same monumental upset by coming off an eighth, a failed-to-finish and a 19th to fail by only 0.01 seconds to reel in Reynolds.

Third by the same narrow margin was rookie Nathan Bendelle whose maiden win now seems very close.

Fastest time, a sparkling 31.06, was recorded by sixth-placed Paul Fenn who, after a decade-long hiatus is nearing his first win since 1999.

The club has a school holiday bye on Sunday but returns the following week.

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