DAYLESFORD Gift champion Shane Woodrow is taking an alternate route to Maryborough compared with coach Rod Mathews.
The 28-year-old has decided to take time out with a trip to the coast ahead of the first major gift race of the year.
“I’ve done a few meets, at Northcote and Terang, but Maryborough is the serious start to the season,” Woodrow said yesterday.
“I didn’t go too flash (in those earlier races). You’re still in a heavy training mode so it is hard to get up.
“I’m having a little relax over Christmas to freshen up.”
Electing to not compete at Ararat, Woodrow described the Maryborough Gift as “one of the big ones”, along with the Ballarat Gift on February 9-10, and Stawell Gift at Easter.
He said his own preparation would be timed to peak for Ballarat and Stawell, though, and that his 9.75m mark would make it tough to claim victory on New Year’s Day.
“There are plenty of competitors who are wanting to win the Maryborough race, for sure,” he said.
“It is one of the prestigeous races, so there will be some runners who are focussed on it.
“I won my first sash as a novice at Maryborough, and I’ll be looking at the 400m as well as the gift. It will be interesting to see who has a real crack at it.
“Towards the end of last season I could get into the running with that (9.75m).
“I was fortunate to win at Daylesford but for the bigger races, like Maryborough, Stawell and Ballarat, I’ve still got a way to go.”
Woodrow is also entered in the 400m at Maryborough off a mark of 20m, which he said gives him his best chance.
“That’s getting to the stage where I’m reasonably competitive, although there are plenty of blokes out a bit further who will also be looking at that event,” Woodrow says.
“I’d hope to make the final with that.”