The glamour horses of New Zealand harness racing will provide five hot feature-race favourites in 100 minutes in Australia this Saturday night. And three of them will be in group one races.
Smolda, Lazarus and Monbet will start either odds-on or close to it in their group ones at Melton, headlined by Smolda in the A$400,000 Victoria Cup.
In between the group ones Ohoka Punter will be a hot favourite for the Pure Steel, his lead-up to next week's Hunter Cup, while the incredible 100 minutes of power pacing and trotting starts at 10.23pm (NZ time) when Have Faith In Me is the $1.40 favourite in a group two race at Menangle.
That is his qualifier for the A$200,000 Chariots of Fire at Menangle on February 13 and after an important, successful first run at Menangle last Saturday, Have Faith In Me should be even more potent this week and cement his Chariots favouritism.
But it will be Melton that monopolises the attention, with Kiwi-trained horses favoured in all four major races.
Lazarus kicks off the likely New Zealand domination in the A$200,000 Victoria Derby and is rated a $1.40 favourite even after drawing four on the second line as the local crop is strong but lacking in star power.
Ohoka Punter wouldn't be out of place in the Victoria Cup but trainer Tony Herlihy has opted for the standing start Pure Steel over 2760m as he thinks it is a better lead-up to the Hunter Cup. Off the front line he will be very short after a track record Shepparton Cup win 12 days ago.
Smolda's big week has continued after his win in the Ballarat Cup as he will start from four in the Victoria Cup, most crucially inside key rival Lennytheshark (barrier six).
Whoever reaches the marker pegs first out of the pair is the one to beat and with Smolda having the draw to achieve that he opened the post-draw $2.30 favourite with the Australian TAB.
Not so lucky was fellow Kiwi pacer Mossdale Conner, whose winning chances look all but ended by drawing the second line.
And even though he faces a 20m handicap in the A$50,000 Australasian Trotting Champs. Monbet has been backed in from $1.60 to $1.40 after his ruthless display at Ballarat last Saturday night, where he smashed the track record winning by 19m.
He has been further aided by the big names from the other of last Saturday's heats drawing the second line, while pre-series second favourite Arboe has been withdrawn.