Tornado Valley will make his return to the standing start this Friday night as he continues the pursuit of the magical million-dollar barrier.

The Andy Gath-trained star was bidding to become just the ninth Australian or New Zealand-bred trotter to reach the seven-figure mark at Geelong on Saturday, but was narrowly thwarted by Big Jack Hammer in a thrilling finish to the Jack Rabbit Winery Sundons Gift Trotters Free For All.

Tornado Valley is one of nine horses set to line-up in Friday night's $25,000 Aldebaran Park Bendigo Trotters Cup, where he will start off the 30m handicap alongside John Meade's Sparkling Success.

It will be the first time Tornado Valley has raced in a standing start event since late 2019, when he placed third at Yarra Valley off the 50m backmark. In total, the nine-year-old has won eight times from 20 goes at the stand.

The runner-up placing on the weekend lifted his career prizemoney tally to $993,897.

If triumphant at Bendigo, Tornado Valley would join fellow greats Lyell Creek, I Can Doosit, Sundons Gift, Speeding Spur, Take A Moment, Stent, Keystone Del and One Over Kenny as those from this part of the world to reach $1million in earnings.

Gath also has stablemate C K Spur in the Group 3 feature on Friday night, with Di Li (Brett Shipway), Chief Runningcloud (Maree Caldow), Norquay (Chris Svanosio), Jackson Square (Mick Blackmore), Nephew Of Sonoko (Leigh Graham) and Hatchback (John Justice) making up the field.

The Bendigo Trotters Cup caps off a big Friday of racing in Victoria, with the Tabcorp Park Melton afternoon meeting featuring two heats of the Australian Pacing Gold four-year-old series.

Quality fields of six have been assembled for both the mares and colts/geldings divisions.

Racing then returns to Melton on Saturday night, with the nine-race card headlined by the TAB Sapling Stakes for the two-year-old colts and geldings and the Allied Express Ian Daff Memorial for the NR 70 to 99 mares.

>> READ MORE: APG Series: Melton ready for six-week Gold rush