Bandaged veteran Sandra Barwick rubbed shoulders with last-start winner Sue Blizzard for half of the 10km Logan Memorial Handicap at Stawell last Sunday and reckons that was instrumental in her overdue win.
Barwick hadn't won since the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club's season finale in 2016. She crossed the line with more than two minutes to spare from 658-run club stalwart Jack Trounson, with Chris Barwick third.
With Blizzard and Barwick re-handicapped after their wins, Trounson is a hot favourite to break through in the 8km Peter Gibson Handicap at Ararat this Sunday.
The unprecedented run of success being enjoyed by first-season runners with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club continued last Saturday when Brad Robinson won the 5km Rupanyup Garden Centre Handicap to become the sixth rookie in the past eight races to break through.
Robinson had intended only to support his son, Dale, in the 1km sub junior race but was talked into running.
Skirting around trail-wide puddles through the heathlands at Nuggety Hill near Stawell, Robinson surged to the lead with 800 metres run and reached the line with 12 seconds to spare from Michelle Dunn and David Hunter.
Dale couldn't emulate his dad in the sub juniors, but was a creditable fourth behind Ethan Jones, Jerome Baker and Lenny Field.
The club travels to Rupanyup this Saturday for the Tyler's Rural Handicap on a user-friendly 8km course. Fun runners welcome.