Western Sonador resumes on his journey towards the new group one Regional Championship at Wagga on Sunday.
Originally transferred to Ellen Bartley looking to run in the Million Dollar Pace, there has been a slight change of tact with the four-year-old.
Western Sonador has won two of his three starts since being trained in the Riverina and needs Sunday's race and one more to qualify for the series.
Previously trained in partnership by Stephen O'Donoghue and Bartley's sister Rebecca, the Coleambally trainer admitted it has been some surprise with his form since moving interstate.
"Bec and Steve always had a pretty bit opinion of him but he's shocked them a little bit too," Bartley said.
Western Sonador hasn't raced since an impressive win at Coolamon on March 1 in order to remain eligible for the race and not accrue too many national rating points.
Bartley was pleased with his last performance.
"He is going to need the run but I have a pretty big opinion of him so he should be thereabouts," she said.
"He come from behind, was wide and did a fair bit of work so I was pretty impressed with the run.
"I don't think many came from behind that day.
"We thought we would give him a bit of a let up as it was still a long time to the regionals or what was then the Million Dollar Pace.
"I'm really happy with him at the moment."
The new series is restricted to Riverina-trained horses after initial plans to have the Million Dollar Pace series across the state were plagued by COVID-19.
Two Riverina trained horses were guaranteed a place in $1 million final, but now four regionals finals worth $100,000 each will be run for in May.
Bartley can see some advantages despite significantly less prizemoney up for grabs.
"It is definitely going to help him but even if he had of been racing the Sydney horses I think he would have been pretty competitive," she said. "This is definitely better for him as we know what the competition is already."
Western Sonador has drawn gate seven in the Trots TV Pace (2270m).
Only one runner, Alabama Ace hasn't won in their last four starts.
A strong field is assembled including five last start winners as trainers plot a new path to the region's first group one race.
Bartley also hopes A Kerry Man should be able to repeat his efforts after winning first up for the stable last time out.
He is ineligible for the upcoming series after missing the transfer deadline.
Bartley is also looking for Typerphinn to go one betteer.
She expects he will be fitter for a tough second last time after having two of his planned starts cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.