John Dickie thinks tonight's Alexandra Park meeting could be a profitable calm before the storm.
Tonight's card is short on numbers in the pacing races, as is often the case leading into premier meetings the next two Friday nights at the Park.
Dickie has more reason than most to look forward to the Rowe Cup meeting next week, with stable star Speeding Spur set to resume his rivalry with Monbet, the pair clashing in two group ones at the carnival.
"Our fella is doing great and will head to the workouts on Saturday, where he will need a good hitout," says Dickie. "We are really looking forward to taking on Monbet again and I reckon it might come down to draws and luck. But it should be fun and good for the game."
Without the two trotting superstars, tonight's main trot has a far more even look, especially with early favourite Yagunnakissmeornot having been scratched.
The Dickie stable not only has tough mare Paramount Dream in the race off 30m but newcomer Never Fear, who has joined the stable from the South Island for the winter.
"We are still working her out but she has a good turn of foot and if she does everything right then Paramount Dream might struggle to give her 20m," says Dickie.
The race could be a tough one for all the chasers, with Djokovic, Bobby Breen and The Almighty Johnson hard to run down if they all step and run.
Earlier in the night, manners look the biggest stumbling block for the Dickie-trained Isa Smiling in race three. She is hard to follow from standing starts but has won two from five behind the mobile so tonight's conditions suit her.
"She just got too far back from the standing start last time so the mobile will really help."
The small fields in the main pacing races can often lead to tricky, tactical racing in which being even one place further back than expected can make a horse's task near impossible.
But that shouldn't deter punters with Ideal World in race six, the second leg of the $40,000 Pick Six.
He raced in the Derby behind Lazarus two starts ago and has generally taken on good 3-year-olds so looks perfectly placed tonight.
Bettor Dream has the gate speed to make his own luck from a wide draw in race nine while the battle between Killer Queen and Take To The Sky in race eight could be won at the start so both are needed in your Pick6.
• Further afield, the All Stars stable is looking to continue its clean sweep of Australasia's major pacing derbies this season with Chase The Dream in the $200,000 WA Derby at Gloucester Park in Perth at 12.30am (NZ time).
His stablemate Lazarus has already won three derbies and another one in Waikiki Beach has won the NSW Derby but Chase The Dream faces a tougher task as he has drawn wide on the front line.
He still deserves favouritism for a rare group one win in Perth by a New Zealand-trained horse.
And yet another stablemate in Piccadilly Princess is the filly to beat in tomorrow night's A$150,000 Victoria Oaks at Melton.
• Best bet: Ideal World (Alex Park, R6): Coming out of tougher races so this looks ideal.
• Each way: Concorde (Alex Park, R5): Got pushed back last start but has tidy junior driver on board tonight.
• Newcomer: Love The Moment (Alex Park, R10): Showed enough in the South to threaten in weak maiden.