Talented three-year-old Sweet Leader faces a moment of truth at Te Rapa today.
He will be coming back from surgery when he resumes against a competitive age group line-up in the Inglis Sales Cambridge Breeders' Stakes.
"He's had a wind operation since his last run," said Lance O'Sullivan, who prepares the son of O'Reilly with Andrew Scott.
"He looks extremely well and he's forward enough to go a big race."
While all the outward signs are positive, O'Sullivan said the true test was yet to come.
"The operation went well, but you never really know with these things until they are put under the pressure of a race."
A trial had been considered for Sweet Leader ahead of his return, but such was his progress at home that it was decided go to straight to Te Rapa.
"We thought about it a few weeks ago, but he was looking good and we decided he didn't need to trial and we're quite comfortable with that decision."
Placed in his only two-year-old appearance, Sweet Leader won on debut at Taupo this season before he again beat the older horses in a Rating 65 contest at Te Rapa.
The colt was then an early favourite for the 2000 Guineas, but his campaign was halted after he ran fifth in the Listed Barneswood Farm Stakes at Ashburton. His connections weren't satisfied with his work subsequent to that outing.
- NZ Racing Desk