Day At The Track

McLovin grinds out extraordinary Group 1 win

07:30 AM 13 Oct 2019 NZDT
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McLovin,Harness racing
McLovin
Stuart McCormick photo

McLovin sent a hearty warning shot across the Tasman with a gritty, brilliant victory in the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters' Sprint.

With most of Australia’s trotting heads of state in the field McLovin sat three-wide for the bulk of the 1720-metre sprint and still proved too good, saluting by a head from Big Jack Hammer.

“He’s a great horse, we were debating whether we trial him or race him in this race first up and decided to bring him here,” trainer Andy Gath said. “We were disappointed during the week when we had to scratch a good horse in Tornado Valley, but to have a back-up horse like this perform like that, we are fortunate to have a couple of great trotters in the stable.”

While there was some predicted early burn as Big Jack Hammer challenged Red Hot Tooth and Tough Monarch also went forward on their outside, the pace eased when Kima Frenning dropped anchor on Big Jack Hammer to take Red Hot Tooth’s back and Chris Svanosio settled in the breeze.

The 7.3-second lead time eased into 30-second and 30.5-second first and second quarters and reinswoman Kate Gath, who had eased back out of the gates on McLovin, had to get on her bike.

“The first quarter come up and then the second quarter and I thought I have got to go now, if I don’t go now I’m just not going to get into the race,” she said, having launched three wide down the main straight with more than a lap to go.

“I got going when I got going just to get up there and he’s one of those horses who just drops the bit a little bit on the corner but I just knew he would keep coming and he was bloody terrific.”

At the turn McLovin still had two lengths to make up on the leader, Red Hot Tooth, while Big Jack Hammer threatened via the sprint lane, but amid a 56.7-second final 800 metres Andy Gath’s former Kiwi had all the answers and nosed clear in the final 50 metres.

“He come back this time and felt a million dollars at home, it’s a terrific win and I’m not entirely surprised though,” Kate said.

It was an encouraging return fresh off a three-month spell and ahead of an ambitious campaign, with Andy Gath outlining that McLovin would fly to New Zealand November 7, contest a free-for-all on November 12 and then the famed Dominion on November 15.

“Hopefully he can do everyone proud,” Andy said. “It’s a great experience, a great day to be there and a great day to be a part of it.”

 

Michael Howard

HRV Trots Media

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