FLORA Hill's Jack Dooley is determined to etch his name on to the Bendigo Bank Maryborough Gift winner's list at the New Year's Day sprint classic.
The 153rd Maryborough Highland Gathering has drawn a class field to chase the glory and riches at Princes Park.
Dooley will start the year by racing the blue riband 120m sprint, the open 70m, 200m and 400m.
The first of eight Gift heats will be run shortly after 1pm.
Dooley will start his attack on the 120m by running off 9.75m in heat six at 1.20pm.
He will pit his skill against Williamstown's Sam Jamieson, 4.5m; New South Wales athletes Shaun Fletcher, 6, and Brady Lehmann, 8.25; and St Kilda's Dean Dobric, 8.25.
Runners starting ahead of Dooley are Mitcham's
Nick Magree, 10.25; Craig Mair from Kangaroo Ground and NSW athlete Vic Sharm off 12m.
Dooley kicked off 2013 by winning the Blue Ribbon Foundation novice 120m.
His first victory on the professional athletics circuit was later followed with a hard-fought second placing in the Sportz Biz novice 400m.
A year on and the Peter Barrett-trained athlete steps up to open company.
Dooley's marks at Maryborough are 16m in the 200m and 24m in the 400m.
The lead-up for this meet has included racing at Warrnamboool, the Zatopek Classic meeting at Albert Park, and the Northcote Gift.
Dooley has run strongly at Athletics Bendigo's track and field meets on Saturdays at the Flora Hill track.
He has contested some heats of the Flack Advisory Distance Series at Bendigo's Tom Flood Sports Centre.
Dooley is one of many Bendigo-based athletes bound for Maryborough. There will be a strong Bendigo presence in many runs from 70m to 1600m.
Peter Noden and his sons, Jess and Tom will compete at one or several distances, as will Greg Hilson and his sons, Kyle and Jake.
Strathfieldsaye's Mitchell Hocking and Michael Preece started 2013 by winning at Princes Park and will be aiming to repeat the feat.
Admission prices are $14 adults, $7 aged pensioner, $28 family ticket two adult children under-16, $5 12-16 years.