Walker the toast of home town

NUMBER ONE: Stawell youngster Tom Walker celebrates as he crosses the line to win the backmarkers' 1600m handicap. Picture: Lachlan Bence.
NUMBER ONE: Stawell youngster Tom Walker celebrates as he crosses the line to win the backmarkers' 1600m handicap. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

Stawell student Tom Walker was the toast of Central Park on Saturday.

The 16-year-old became an instant hometown hero when he saluted in the backmarkers' 1600m handicap.

Walker grabbed the ascendancy when he jumped off the front with about 500m to go.

Up to that stage he said he had been happy to set just off the pace let others do the "dirty work".

He established a handy break and was never seriously challenged as he dictated terms to the line, although it was not until the last 50m that felt he had the event in his keeping.

Walker, who was a block boy at the Stawell Gift in 2015, trains under the guidance of Marcus Cooper in Ararat and Keith Haymes in Stawell.

The youngster won the final after starting from a 120m handicap.

The win comes after a successful run at the Australian Athletic Championships when he was the sixth Australian and second Victorian to cross the line in the 3000m race in Sydney last month.