With three in-form runners in tomorrow's Group One feature at Riccarton, Jamie Richards is finding it mission impossible to tip the stable's leading prospect.
With training partner Stephen Autridge, the Matamata horseman will be represented by Embellish, Te Akau Shark and Age Of Fire in the Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
"It's very, very hard to split them," Richards said. "They have all done nothing wrong and they are all fit and happy and working well."
The Savabeel colt Embellish is the pre-post favourite after consecutive wins at Ruakaka and Trentham, beating race rival Ever Loyal the first time and downing the older horses at his latest appearance. He will be ridden by Opie Bosson.
"I know that Opie just loves Embellish and the horse isn't a brilliant trackworker, but he is up to the mark," Richards said.
Te Akau Shark is yet to be tested with an unbeaten record after wins at Te Rapa and Matamata.
"He's still quite new and having his third start in a Group One, but he deserves his place," Richards said.
The son of Rip Van Winkle will be partnered by Michael McNab, while Matt Cameron has the ride on Fastnet Rock's son Age Of Fire.
"Age Of Fire is probably the smokie in the race and he will love the mile at Riccarton being out of a Galileo mare," Richards said.
"We're sure they will all run very well. They are lightly-tried horses and Embellish was the only one to run at two so they are still yet to peak."
● Michael Dee has no doubt his success during the spring carnival has led to him riding Gingernuts in the A$2 million Emirates Stakes.
And the 21-year-old is hoping to make his latest opportunity count.
Dee notched his first Group One win in The Metropolitan in Sydney on Foundry in late September. He then added another on the Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh in last Saturday's Myer Classic at Flemington.
A suspension to Australia's leading Group One rider Hugh Bowman on Tuesday led New Zealand's Te Akau Racing to book Dee for Gingernuts in tomorrow's 2000m Group One weight-for-age race at Flemington.
"It's been a good spring. Almost a breakthrough spring for me," Dee said. "If I hadn't won those Group Ones I would have probably been no chance. Now that I have won two Group Ones, they realise that and it probably made it a bit easier (to give me the ride)."
Gingernuts is prepared by Te Akau's co-trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and is a Group One winner in Australia and New Zealand.
Dee, who hails from New Zealand, moved to Australia just under three years ago having spent three months during his apprenticeship on loan to then Te Akau Racing trainer Jason Bridgman.
Gingernuts is the $6 second favourite. "It's a good pick up," Dee said.
"I knew my manager was trying to get the ride once Hugh Bowman was suspended.
"I've seen pretty much all of his races and I know he's a good horse and a decent ride in the race.
"We'll just need a bit of luck from that draw (barrier 12)."
The Charlie Appleby-trained international visitor Folkswood is the $5 favourite for what is his main Melbourne spring carnival target.
Folkswood won the Listed Cranbourne Cup last month and then finished third to champion Winx and Humidor in the Cox Plate.
The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Odeon is set to back up after winning a Listed 1800m race impressively at Flemington on Tuesday. "He has pulled up really well," Zahra said.
● Gai Waterhouse has trained her first VRC Oaks winner as Pinot outstayed her rivals in the A$1 million race at Flemington yesterday.
Ridden by Stephen Baster, Pinot ($5.50) led home a rough result in the three-year-old fillies Classic in beating Bring Me Roses ($31) and Hiyaam ($21).
"It is special, it really is," Waterhouse said. "She came to Melbourne a maiden. She came here with no accolades or anything ... and not looked back since then."
The race was delayed as the odds-on favourite Aloisia was reshod after losing a shoe on her way to the barrier. She finished sixth.
- NZ Racing Desk, AAP