McLovin to return home

by Adam Hamilton

THERE might not be a Kiwi-trained runner in Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix, but NZ fans have some crucial reasons to watch it closely.

And it goes beyond the obvious of the appearance of former Kiwi and now reigning Inter Dominion trotting champ Tornado Valley. 

In exciting news for Auckland officials, Tornado Valley’s emerging stablemate McLovin – another former Kiwi – is on trial for a trip to Alexandra Park for the Anzac and Rowe Cups. 

“I’d say Tornado Valley will go for a spell after this, but we’re certainly looking at Auckland with McLovin,” trainer Andy Gath said. 

“He’s really pleased us since coming across from NZ and on raw ability, we don’t think there is much at all between him and Tornado Valley. 

“In saying that, Tornado Valley has lots of experience and is a perfect racehorse, while McLovin still has a few quirks. 

“You’ve got to say Tornado Valley is our best hope this week and Kate’s driving him, but If McLovin gets some luck from the wide draw I’d expect him to be right in the finish.” 

Young gun Zac Phillips has picked-up the drive on McLovin, who has looked ultra impressive winning all three starts for Team Gath. 

Gath still thinks Tornado Valley has this one big run left in him despite a gruelling past 12 months. 

“The signs are good at home, albeit he’s not the best trackworker,” he said. “I am mindful he’s been with us 12 months and the longest break he’s had is 12 days off,” he said. 

“I’d love him to go out for a spell with another Group 1 win this week.” 

Gath didn’t hesitate in declaring Great Southern Star winner Dance Craze the main threat to his two runners at Melton on Saturday night. 

“I’ve always been a fan. She can run serious times and seems to do it easily,” he said. 

“This could be a bit different though. Most of her best wins have come when she’s dropped back early and stormed home, but I think they’d have to try for the front from gate five this time. 

“Whatever leads, Tornado Valley will be around to get into the action early from the back row.”

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