McLovin starts NZ build-up

By Adam Hamilton

THIS is a big week for top Aussie trainer Andy Gath.

Not only does his stable star Tornado Valley step-out at Melton, but McLovin starts to get serious in his preparation for an NZ raid later this year.

McLovin graduates from jogging to fast work, but it still “about six weeks away” from a racetrack return.

“He seems well and it’s time to get a bit more serious,” Gath said.

“His whole preparation has been based around being spot-on for a crack at the Dominion. Then, if he’s going well, a trip up to Auckland for the Inter Dominion after that.”

McLovin hasn’t raced since winning at Melton on July 5. It took his record with Gath to nine wins and four placings from just 14 starts.

Gath genuinely thinks there is very little between McLovin and reigning Inter Dominion champion Tornado Valley, hence the strategic timing of their racing in the back half of this year.

“You want to keep them apart as much as possible and we’ve got the chance to do that with McLovin being the better suited of the two to those races in NZ,” he said.

“Aside from the travel issues with Tornado Valley, I think McLovin is a better stayer and the NZ races are more to his strength.”

Tornado Valley, an impressive winner of both runs this campaign, returns from an unintended freshen-up in the Group 3 Maori’s Idol free-for-all at Melton on Saturday night.

“There just hasn’t been a race for him with the focus being on Breeders Crown over here for the past month or so,” Gath said.

“This is a good race for him on paper, but it won’t be easy drawn the outside (gate seven) against some nice trotters and with plenty of early speed draw inside him. Save Our Pennys (gate three) is quick out, so is Big Jack Hammer (six).

“He’ll just go through the free-for-alls here until the first of the features, the Bill Collins Mile, in late October.”

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