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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Miracle Moose was a $1.45 favourite when he finished a close-up but somewhat disappointing third behind Bracken Sky and Space Junk five weeks ago.

He should bounce back to his best form and return to the winning list when he contests the 2130m Vili’s Gourmet Pies Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon.

“He was affected by a virus,” explained trainer Nathan Turvey. “He is working really well, and he will lead easily (from the No. 1 barrier) and should win, though winning is never easy.”

At his most recent appearance Miracle Moose enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before Emily Suvaljko sent him forward, three wide, to move to the breeze at the bell. But the five-year-old lacked his normal sparkle and finished third.

A week before that, Miracle Moose resumed after a spell and impressed when he raced in the one-out and one-back position before finishing solidly to be second to Magnificent Storm.

This week Miracle Moose, a winner at 11 of his 43 starts, should prove too strong for eight-year-old Fanci A Dance and seven-year-old Burning Rubber, who finished powerfully from the rear to win over 2130m last Friday night.

“It was a good run last week and Burning Rubber will be suited from the inside of the back line this week, following out Miracle Moose,” said champion reinsman Chris Lewis.

Chris Voak has decided to drive The Barry Howlett-trained Fanci A Dance from the No. 2 barrier ahead of Ross Olivieri’s good mare Queen Shenandoah, who will start from the outside of the back line and will be handled by Gary Hall jnr.

A new drive for Hall will be the Stephen Reed-trained Lord Rosco, who will start from barrier four in the 2536m Happy 80TH Birthday Joan Compson Pace.

Lord Rosco, a noted frontrunner, will be making his third appearance after a spell, following a close-up third behind Medieval Man and Carrera Mach over 2536m (when he led) and an out-of-character eighth behind Shadow Roll when he started out wide at barrier eight and raced at the rear throughout.

One of Lord Rosco’s main rivals is likely to be nine-year-old Major Stare, who will be driven by Voak from the prized No. 1 barrier. Major Stare, who has a losing sequence of 28, is a good frontrunner. He has started from barrier one only once from 49 starts in Western Australia — and that was when he led and finished a head second to Runrunjimmydunn in January 2018.

It was a week after that when Major Stare set the pace and won the 2683m Albany Cup, beating top-flight pacers Galactic Star and Handsandwheels. He has not won since, and he has excellent prospects of ending the drought this week.