Golden State Ready to Salute

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Golden State has been unplaced at his four appearances since resuming from a spell, has finished sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth in four attempts over 2536m, he has led in eight of his 12 wins in a 34-start career and has drawn awkwardly out wide at barrier seven in the 2536m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

These are hardly the credentials one is seeking when assessing the horse’s winning prospects.

However, astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is confident that Golden State will bounce back to top form and give punters a flying start in race one on an interesting ten-event program.

“He’s going good but has had no luck at all since resuming from a spell,” said Reed. “A couple of times he didn’t get clear (runs) and last week he was most unlucky when seventh behind Im Full of Excuses (when he trailed the pacemaker Talktomeurmattjesty and Michael Grantham was unable to obtain a clear passage in the final stages behind the wilting Talktomeurmattjesty).

“Michael said that Golden State definitely would have run second if he was able to get into the clear. He said the horse was bolting on the line.”

This week Golden State meets weaker opposition than he has met at his four runs since a spell and Reed declared that racing over 2536m would not be a problem, saying: “The distance won’t worry him; he relaxes in his races.

“Golden State has good gate speed and can also come from behind. I’ll leave the tactics up to Michael and Albert (owner Albert Walmsley). Over 2500m, Michael can get Golden State to settle before sending him forward.”

Though Golden State will appreciate not having to contend with quality pacers of the calibre of Caviar Star, Bill Haley, Herrick Roosevelt, Convert Denario, Im Full of Excuses and Ideal Liner, he is sure to meet strong opposition from in-form pacers Pick My Pocket, Jimmy Mack, As Happy As Larry and Quick Stride.

Chris Lewis has given punters a good lead by opting to drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Jimmy Mack (barrier eight) in preference to the Justin Prentice-trained Pick My Pocket (barrier six).

Lewis has driven Pick My Pocket at her past two starts for a fast-finishing second to Fake News over 1730m and an all-the-way win at a 1.56.8 rate over 2130m. Gary Hall jnr will handle Pick My Pocket this week, with Prentice engaging Dylan Egerton-Green for the polemarker and last start all-the-way winner Quick Stride.

Thirteen-year-old Maximum Demand will start from barrier three but faces much tougher opposition than he did at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when he finished strongly from last at the bell to win easily from the pacemaker Donegal Art Chokin over 2536m.