STAWELL - Josh Ross will return to Central Park this Easter with his eye on an unprecedented third Australia Post Stawell Gift crown.
Ross will join former world record holder Asafa Powell on the start line for one of the most anticipated Gift's in the long history of Australia's richest and most famous footrace.
The current Australian 100 metre champion, Ross will seek to become the first man in 132 editions to win the Gift three times.
It's no shallow claim, with Ross already creating history by taking the Bay Sheffield Gift in December off scratch.
Given the entry of Powell in the field, Ross can expect a lift and could start with as much as two metres - a luxury mark for a two-time winner who runs his best races on grass.
Ross will return to Central Park for the first time since 2009.
Having been run out in the semi finals that year, Ross entered a brief retirement before returning to competition in late 2011.
Promising 2013 results have him bursting with confidence ahead of the Easter showdown.
"I'm really excited about going back to Stawell. I haven't run there for a while and it is my spiritual home in athletics," Ross said.
"Going for my third Stawell Gift is special and certainly achievable because I am in the best shape of my life as shown by my 200 on Saturday night in Sydney."
"It was my fastest 200 metres of my career and to do it so late in my career shows that I am still improving - I think I can get down to 20.40 and after all it is only my second event."
Earning the nickname 'Ross the Boss' after his first Stawell win in 2003 off a handy seven metre handicap, Ross went on to become the fourth Stawell winner to compete for Australia at the Olympic Games when he made the 100m semi finals in Athens in 2004.
Returning to Central Park the following year, Ross created history by becoming the first Australian to win the Gift off scratch, joining Madagascan Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa (1972) as the only other man to do so.
In the process Ross joined Bill Howard (1966 and 1967) and Barry Foley (1970 and 1972) to win the Gift twice.
Ross, 32, said Stawell was like his second home and he would relish the opportunity to write a new chapter of Stawell history this Easter.
"To win a third Stawell Gift would give me living legend status and I'd love to create history once more."
The 132nd Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival will be staged during the Easter long weekend.