New Zealand's dwindling hopes of feature-race success in Brisbane on Saturday could receive a huge boost by a shock move on Wednesday morning.
None of the Kiwi trainers in Queensland for the rich winter carnival are looking forward to the Doomben 10,000 meeting this weekend being run on what could be a very heavy track but they could dodge that if the meeting is moved across the road to Eagle Farm.
Queensland racing officials have publicly stated the move is being considered because of the heavy rain forecast for Brisbane later this week, with Doomben expected to be very heavy if that arrives.
But the Eagle Farm track which is directly across the road from Doomben would be expected to handle the rain far better, its main criticism since it was re-opened three years ago being that the track surface gets too hard.
The superior drainage at Eagle Farm would suggest if the meeting is moved before acceptance time in Queensland on Wednesday morning, it could even play in the slow range, which would suit New Zealand stars like Entriviere and Pinarello far better than a Doomben bog.
"They are talking about the move over here and I'd be all for it," says Pinarello's co-trainer Roger James.
"Eagle Farm would almost certainly be drier than Doomben and it would also suit our horse better because it is a bigger track.
"So while we have no control over that I'd be happy with the move." James does have control over whether Pinarello starts and he says that is almost certain even if his race, the A$250,000 Rough Habit Plate, is held on a heavy Doomben track.
"His main aim is the Derby on May 28 and while he won really well last time out at Pukekohe over ground when he hadn't raced for seven weeks he did race quite keenly that day.
"With the Derby being 2400m I'd really prefer him to have a run this weekend for his fitness and to take the edge off him for the Derby.
"So while I will speak to the owners on Friday when the weather and track conditions picture is a lot clearer, we will accept with him on Wednesday morning."
Pinarello is one of the favourites for the Derby after being as long as $51 in the markets two weeks ago and James admits if he starts on a heavy track this week the results may not comfort those who took the early Derby odds.
"It could be a case of him going around this week and us learning about how he handles wet tracks and then being fitter for the Derby."
Pinarello is likely to be joined in the Rough Habit Plate by fellow Cambridge three-year-olds Ruach and Tutukaka while Matamata gelding Dark Destroyer is second favourite for the 2000m race, all four potentially on a Queensland Derby path.
Entriviere is rated equal second favourite for the A$1million Doomben 10,000 on Saturday but trainer Mark Walker has already expressed his concern about a fresh up 1200m at group 1 level on a heavy track so she would also seem better suited by a move to Eagle Farm.
Relief for jumps jockeys
Racing bosses will increase the weights for jumps races for the remainder of the month to try and boost dwindling jockey numbers.
The first hurdle race of the winter season at Te Rapa last saw two forced scratchings because of a lack of available jockeys.
While that is due to various factors one will be jockeys making the weight early in the season, especially as many jumps rider are not full-time race riders.
NZTR will therefore boost the usual weights for jumping races 1kg at withdrawals time for the remainder of May and then review the change in June.
The next two jumps races of the season, including the first steeplechase, are at Whanganui on Thursday.