The power of Godolphin's all-blue colours, which can mesmerise punters most racedays, have bookmakers locked in for tomorrow's A$385,000 ($418,000) Hollindale Stakes on Queensland's Gold Coast track.
Godolphin's Hauraki, at $3, and Old North on $5.50, have completely dominated betting as the lengthy Queensland winter carnival begins with this feature.
New Zealanders Sakhee's Soldier and Volkstok'n'barrell are not exactly ignored by bookies on both sides of the Tasman, but at $9.50 and $14 they are being rated by the odds setters as moderate dangers at best.
Godolphin's glamour boy James McDonald said several weeks ago he has a lot of time for Old North, but will ride Hauraki tomorrow. An interesting sidelight is that the Gold Coast track rated a Slow 7 yesterday and neither horse has winning form on rain-affected footing.
There is reasonable expectation the track will improve on that rating by race time tomorrow.
Three starts back Hauraki finished third to Winx and Dibayani in the group one Chipping Norton Stakes, followed by second to The United States in the Ranvet with Criterion third.
He then finished seventh in New South Wales' richest race, the QE11 Stakes, but overall that's wonderful form for this race and justifies favouritism at weight-for-age's level weights.
Old North is a 3-year-old by Lonhro with only a handful of starts behind him. He quickly showed ability by winning the Tulloch Stakes before last start finishing second to recent New Zealand purchase He's Our Rokkii. He will be ridden by Tim Clark.
Sir Moments, rated at $8, has form in much lesser races, but his last start was better than useful when he finished a close third to two lightweights in a Doomben Handicap carrying 61.5kg. In his favour is he has won two from four on slow footing and is one-for-one in heavy footing.
Gai Waterhouse's Excess Knowledge forged his win into the Melbourne Cup last spring by winning the Lexus on Derby Day and finished seventh in the big race four days later.
More recently he was a close second in Sydney's Ajax Stakes and he has very good slow track form.
There is plenty of form there to oppose the New Zealand pair, but much can be expected.
Sakhee's Soldier last start finished fast to be beaten only half a length in fourth place in the 1600m Easter at Ellerslie. He resumed prior to that with a fast-closing sixth over a too-short 1400m at Te Aroha. "He looks like he's coming back to his late summer and spring form of last year," said co-trainer Murray Baker yesterday.
The jump to 1800m looks ideal and regular rider Matt Cameron is travelling to Australia to partner him.
Volkstok'n'barrell's form is difficult to assess. Two starts back he won by a nose in a field he probably should have beaten easier and survived a protest.
Co-trainer Donna Logan is not at all worried after his failure in the Doncaster during the Championships at Randwick.
"Corey Brown said he knew soon after the start the horse was in trouble in the rain-affected footing. The horse can manage a slow track, but he doesn't like it shifting under his feet and that's exactly how the footing was."
Volkstok'n'barrell looked in good shape when he worked in admirable style at Ellerslie two weeks ago, having a decent blow after running good time. At $14 he looks pretty useful each-way value.
Former New Zealander Puccini, now in the stable of champion Victorian trainer Darren Weir, is also in the field.