Andy Gath is blessed with a couple of the sport's star squaregaiters in his stable and is ready to welcome one of those back to the races tonight, the last of the scheduled morning and night dual meetings at Tabcorp Park Melton.
Group 1-winning trotter McLovin will make his first appearance at the track since February and, while he hasn't been sent to the trials to prepare for the first-up assignment, there's plenty of confidence from connections that he can return in winning fashion.
The Long Forest-based horseman has opted for the fresh approach with the seven-year-old, who last competed in the Great Southern Star when well beaten by champion stablemate Tornado Valley.
"We could have trialled him but then our theory was that last time we raced him first-up he virtually sat three-wide the whole way and won a Group 1 race (2019 Bill Collins Trotters Sprint). So he does go pretty well fresh and he has had a fair bit of work.
"He is well advanced in his preparation. I would expect that he would (win). I know you never just turn up and win - you have still got to earn it - but there is no doubt he is the best performed horse in the race and he can make his own luck.
"He is in really good order and we expect a really good performance will be there (tonight)."
McLovin was sent to New Zealand for a tilt at the Inter Dominion series late last year, but a mystery illness saw him never compete in the heats. He returned to Australia and had three runs through the early part of the year before being sent out for a break.
"He had about two or three weeks off in New Zealand and then I got him back here and had the three runs," Gath said.
"He's had six weeks off and now he's back. He never had any injuries, he just got quite sick."
McLovin will go around as a short-priced favourite in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-120), which comes up during Saturday's evening card at Tabcorp Park Melton.
The Gath stable also has Moonlight Dream engaged in the race, while other threats might come from first-up pair Doug and Egee Money for Jess Tubbs and Anton Golino respectively.
Saturday will see the third installment of the Melton double-header, with the early morning card kicking off from 8.55am before the second program fires up from 4.49pm.
While Gath felt McLovin was clearly his best winning chance on the night, he said Hit The Sky was probably his next best chance at more generous odds in the Benstud Standardbreds Pace (1720m, NR 50-59).
TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK:
Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong.