IT'S the week leading up to Easter, and in a sporting sense, the countdown to the Stawell Gift is on.
Running stables from all over Australia are preparing to descend on Stawell for the three-day athletics meeting, which begins on Saturday and runs through until Monday.
And it's Ballarat's Joel Bee that will carry the honour of backmarker in the 120m feature event.
Bee will run off 0.75m, with past Gift champion Matt Wiltshire, also from Ballarat, to start from 3.75m.
Australian 100m record holder Melissa Breen will run from scratch in the women's gift, 120m.
Breen, who will also run against the men in the Stawell Gift this weekend, will start ahead of Ballarat's Tara Domaschenz, who is the Ballarat backmarker off 7.7m.
And while Stawell Gift week goes into overdrive, football and netball prepares to take a backseat ride.
The Central Highlands takes a break until round three kicks off on Anzac Day (April 25), while the Ballarat competition has just one fixture - between North Ballarat City and Bacchus Marsh - on Friday.
Maryborough and Mininera leagues also go on hold this weekend.
Meanwhile, Ballarat gallops trainer Dan O'Sullivan will still be celebrating Gottino's Terang Cup, 2150m, win yesterday.
Under the riding of jockey Dean Yendall, Gottino took the straight to reel in Haylaman, with Fieldmaster third.
O'Sullivan is now expected to send Gottino to the Warrnambool Cup in May.
While on racing, Ballarat's regular Monday afternoon greyhound timeslot returns today.
The Ballarat club will hold a 12-race card, with the first to jump at 11.36am.