A menacing line-up on the outside of the front row has served up a tantalising Wagon Apollo Trotters Free For All this Saturday night, but having been there done that so often the confidence and comfort in Team Gath is high.
McLovin will stride from gate 5, directly outside Group 2 winner Maori Law and inside multiple Group 1 winning champs Big Jack Hammer and Kyvalley Blur, a prospect McLovin's reinswoman Kate Gath was relishing.
"We'll go forward and hopefully he takes a pretty forward position," Gath told RSN 927's One Out One Back. "It's got a little bit of depth in the race. I'm really looking forward to seeing Big Jack Hammer back and obviously Maori Law is a quality horse as well.
"We'll just have to see what happens when we get out there, but I'm really looking forward to it and I have no doubt (McLovin) will run really well."
Confidence in trainer Andy Gath's camp is well-founded with McLovin's record of 12 starts for the stable for seven wins and four placings coming on the tail of stablemate Tornado Valley's dominant 12 months at the head of Victorian trotting. The biggest beneficiary of this success has been Norm Jenkin, owner of both.
"Andy's trained horses for (Norm) for over 20 years I think, a few years back he had a couple of years break where Andy wasn't training for him and then he came back and is really interested in buying going horses from New Zealand," Kate said. "Lucky for us and lucky for him Andy's done a terrific job in picking them out and finding them and it's really snowballed from there."
McLovin returned to the winners' list with victory in last Friday's Bendigo Bank Trotters Cup, which drew the final curtain on the Trots Country Cups Championship's season. Kate said it was pleasing to get her hands back on some silverware after McLovin had to settle for placings at her previous four starts.
"I knew he would have to make a move at some stage to be able to win it and we were able to do that," Kate said. "It was a field that didn't have a Savannah Jay Jay in it or a real stand out, so I think that helped, but it was a terrific run. It just showed how strong he is, the way he finished the race off on the line it felt like he could have kept going.
"It was just really good to pick up a feature race because a few starts prior he's just been a little unlucky, he's run terrific but just got nabbed on the line."
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