Matthew Rizzo and Liv Ryan crowned Stawell Gift champions

Stawell Gift favourite Matthew Rizzo has been crowned the 2017 winner of Australia’s richest footrace.

Rizzo, who was trained by Maitland’s Bruce Gulliver, collected the $40,000 prize check.

It was a teenage double with Rizzo, 18, joined by 16-year-old school girl Liv Ryan who held off a hard-finishing field.

Ryan, 16, was a $31 outsider with the bookmakers on Friday night but had plunged to a $2 favourite by Saturday afternoon.

Papua New Guinea’s Toea Wisil who is trained by former Maitland-based coach Tony Fairweather failed to qualify for the final.

Largs twin Jack and Tom Newman, trained by Maitland’s Bryan Gulliver, were unable to progress from the semi-finals of the Gift.

Jack was a narrow second in his 200m semi-final to Leigh Bennett who finished third in the final in a photo finish behind winner Ryan Bedford and Kendra Hubbard