GUNDAGAI's own Billy Owen will get out of COVID isolation just in time to partner Handle The Truth in Thursday's $200,000 Wagga Town Plate (1200m).
Owen is set to be free of isolation on Wednesday, in the nick of time after testing positive to COVID last week.
It is a timely result for the Canberra-based hoop, who will be looking to go one better this year than last year's second placing with Handle The Truth.
Owen declared he will be right to go come Thursday.
"I'm lucky," Owen said.
"For a couple of days it (knocked me around). Thursday and Friday I think it was, I could hardly get out of bed. Sweating but at the same time shivering.
"One hundred per cent (I'll be right). Me and my manager, we spoke, and we only took three rides both days, not too much of a work rate so I can concentrate on those rides."
Owen plans to ride work and some jump outs at Canberra on Wednesday morning in preparation for Thursday's opening day of the Wagga carnival.
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He said he would do everything in his power to take the ride.
"Especially on him. I've had two rides on him, I won on him as an apprentice and then obviously ran second in the Town Plate last year," he said.
"To be honest, now after acceptances, he probably gets in better than last year."
The Mark Newnham-trained Marway was a dominant four-length winner in last year's Wagga Town Plate but Handle The Truth, carrying 61 kilograms, worked home strongly for second.
Handle The Truth has only had three starts since. He battled it out with the likes of Nature Strip and Eduardo last spring before running a close second to Art Cadeau in the $1.3 million Kosciuszko.
Owen has been riding Handle The Truth in a lot of work leading up to Thursday and is happy with how he's returned.
"I have. Everyone knows his credentials. I don't think in his career he's ever had a bad prep. Keith's always got him at that right level and he's just such a good horse, you know, nothing sort of worries him," he said.
"This prep he's come up lovely. He was obviously meant to barrier trial last week at Canberra and Keith decided against it so if anything, that gives me more confidence."
Handle The Truth has drawn barrier 14 but will come in considerably after scratchings.
"The good thing about him, he's so versatile," Owen said.
"Obviously I haven't spoken to Keith but I think it will just depend on the speed of the race. He came from nearly last, last year, and then he can race just behind the speed. He's so versatile and obviously gets in with a kilo and a half less than last year.
"Obviously Keith will give me a leg up as to how fit and how ready he is in that regard. We'll sit down and look at the speed map and go from there."
Owen would love nothing more than to add a Wagga Town Plate to his credentials.
"It'd be the best win in my career so far," he said.
"I haven't won too much but being a Wagga Town Plate, it's probably on a few jockey and trainers' bucket lists so it would be awesome, especially on a horse like Handle The Truth that I've had a bit to do with."
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