Saddling a handful of stable minnows for $8000 stakes at Gisborne yesterday, John Bary wasn't the least bit concerned about the gravity of his assignment today.
The Hastings trainer says New Zealand's best galloper, Jimmy Choux, has thrived since his luckless last-start Cox Plate second-placing.
Bary is now just hoping the four-year-old's explosive acceleration inside the final 200m can do the rest in the group one A$1 million ($1.3 million) Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Unlike freakish sprinter Black Caviar in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on the same card, Jimmy Choux has failed to scare off any rivals.
The Emirates features a full field of 16, stacked with chances, including last year's Awapuni-trained winner Wall Street.
Bary, however, is confident that the Emirates trip is now far more to his liking than the Cox Plate's 2040m.
"I do think that essentially now he's a sprinter/miler," said Bary just minutes before his charge Jakob Gambino and Jimmy Choux's pilot Jonathan Riddell dead-heated for first at Gisborne.
"At Flemington if we can get a soft sit in behind the pace and get one shot at them with 100m to go I think he can out-sprint them. "His turn of foot is very underrated."
Bary said Jimmy Choux returned from the Cox Plate with "a bit of bark off his back leg" but described it as superficial.
He worked brilliantly on Tuesday morning and is at peak fitness in his bid to add another group one to the Rosehill Guineas he won in Sydney last prep.
Although a rich consolation for missing out on Cox Plate glory on October 22, Bary says the Emirates was always on the radar.
It gives Bary's $2 million earner five weeks lead-in to his main end-of-year assignment, the $3 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on December 11.
Champion Kiwi mare Sunline won the same race in 2000 after an epic final 100m duel with Fairy King Prawn.
"The Emirates always fitted in perfectly with our plans for Hong Kong and we knew it was a handicap," said Bary.
"We were just hoping that we weren't going to get nailed with weight.
"We're happy enough with the 58kg - at least that won't kill us."
That's half a kilogram more than Jimmy Choux carried into second over 2040m at Moonee Valley in his last start.
But this time Bary is confident that Riddell won't be left so vulnerable.
"The other day [in the Cox Plate] we got hung out to dry," said Bary.
"Helmet fell in a heap but if he'd dragged us a bit further into it and the other thing [Pinker Pinker] had got held up for half a second further we would have got home."
Kiwi Emirates rival Wall Street had an even bigger hard-luck story in the Cox Plate.
For one of the few times in his glittering career he blew the start and had the entire field to go around when the gas went on well before the final straight.
His effort for a fast-charging fourth out wide, just a length adrift of Jimmy Choux, who had enjoyed the perfect trip in transit, was a feature of the race.
Wall Street was withdrawn from the Mackinnon Stakes last weekend because of a minor bout of colic.
But trainer Jeff Lynds said this week that the seven-year-old has bounced back.
And he looks expertly placed to complete a rich double.
He drops from 59kg in the Cox Plate to carry just 56kg today under the handicap conditions, which means he meets Jimmy Choux 2.5kg better off than at Moonee Valley.
Hot pot So You Think was sensationally beaten in the Emirates two years ago when carrying over weight-for-age, run down late by All American.
Like Jimmy Choux, Wall Street is also arguably a better horse at 1600m with nine career wins over the trip from 17 attempts.
Dual Victoria Derby winner Hugh Bowman is back on the Montjeu gelding for the first time since the pair narrowly won last year's race over Dao Dao and Chasm carrying just half a kilogram less.
Bowman is shooting for the same group one double he won last year, having won the last two derbies aboard the Kiwi-trained Lion Tamer and Sangster respectively.