Speedy five-year-old Golden State has recovered from a virus and looks set to make a bold bid for victory when he starts from barrier No. 6 in the 2130m Allwood Stud Farm Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
This will be his first appearance for six weeks since he set the pace and finished third behind Just Rockon Bye and Our Alfie Romeo.
“He’s got gate speed,” said trainer Mike Reed. “We can either go forward or go back. He worked well the other morning and I expect him to run a good race; he’s definitely got a good chance.
“The whole camp has been affected by the virus. They’ve all had it. I’ve had blood tests done and all is okay.”
Golden State has a losing sequence of 13. He showed his liking as a frontrunner when he began fast from barrier seven and set the pace before winning from As Happy As Larry and Jimmy Mack over 2536m late in January this year.
Golden State, to be driven by Michael Grantham, has drawn inside his likely main rivals in the Greg and Sky Bond-trained Taroona Bromac (barrier seven) and The Bird Dance (No. 8).
Those talented four-year-olds will be resuming after a let-up and are sure to prove hard to beat. Leading reinsman Ryan Warwick will handle The Bird Dance, who has won at 15 of his 23 starts. Dylan Egerton-Green will drive Taroona Bromac, whose 19 starts have produced 12 wins.
Reed is looking forward to watching his smart four-year-old mares Arma Indie and Countess Grace in action in the 2130m Seven West Media Pace.
Arma Indie, a winner at nine of her 27 starts, will be making her first appearance for eight weeks and faces a stiff test from out wide at barrier eight. She will be driven by Mark Reed and certainly is capable of figuring in the finish.
“Arma Indie is a really good mare,” said Mike Reed. “But she has had a few little problems, and whatever she does this week she will improve on. She’s a little bit underdone but she will run a good race and will be kicking home at the finish.”
Countess Grace, whose 57 starts have produced six wins and 14 placings, will be driven by Grantham and is handily drawn as the only runner on the back line.
Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri holds a strong hand in this event, with Chris Lewis driving Just Makemine Diamonds from the No. 2 barrier, and Chris Voak in the sulky behind Queen Shenandoah, who has solid each-way claims despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line.