Two of the favourites for the $1million Karaka Million races at Ellerslie on Saturday are likely to miss their respective races.
And in the case of Wewillrock, equal third favourite for the Karaka Classic Mile, it is entirely by choice as his connections will target a race worth nine times less but potentially stronger.
Final entries for the glamour night of New Zealand racing were taken yesterday with fields to be declared Wednesday morning, the draws for the $1million two and three-year-old races being announced just after 11am.
It will only be then that punters and the connections of Time Flies will find out if he makes the final field for the two-year-old race as he sits 15th and last in the rankings with 14 runners.
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Auckland Thoroughbred Racing's racing manager Craig Baker says indications on Tuesday from all trainers were they intended to accept with their juveniles, which would leave a full field with Times Flies the emergency.
With two-year-olds only ever one gallop away from going shin sore or over the top, anything could happen before Saturday but those who placed futures bets on Time Flies, at one stage got into third favourite for the race, could be in for an uncomfortable few days.
More cut and dried but by design is Wewillrock pulling out of the $1million Karaka Classic Mile to start in the $110,000 Almanzor Trophy over 1200m two hours earlier.
Co-trainer Guy Lowry says after a very slight recent setback he and training partner Grant Cullen have been unable to get enough work into Wewillrock to set him up for a 1600m race.
"He is good enough to be there but he hasn't raced past 1230m yet and I don't think stepping up to 1600m after the prep he has had is the right thing to do," says Lowry.
"So he will head to the 1200m race, which looks very strong, as it just suits better at this stage.
"While we won't be starting Wewillrock to the Mile we still have The Stoney One in it and he is pretty good. I think they will know he is there," says Lowry.
The Almanzor shapes as a stunner and almost the ratings highlight of the twilight meeting as it sees last season's juvenile of the year Sword Of State having his first New Zealand start for the season but forced to carry 60.5kgs against a brilliant sprinting line-up.
Not only does he meet high class stablemates Imperatriz and Mohawk Brave but last season's dual group one placegetter and Boxing Day winner Bonny Lass and Rhinoceros, who is back from a successful Victorian campaign where he won at The Valley and Caulfield.
There is no real reason the sprint shapes as stronger than the far richer Mile, more of a case of eligibility, preferred distances and high-profile Mile contenders like Noverre (retired with injury) and Scribe (sold) being withdrawn.
That leaves On The Bubbles as the $1.80 favourite and a hard horse to bet against on his race day form, even if he had a below par outing at the Matamata trials last week.
He will be ridden by Opie Bosson who has confirmed Dynastic as his mount for the Karaka Million, that announcement seeing the colt firm into $5 clear second favouritism.
Quite remarkably three of the first four favourites for the Karaka Million will have new race day riders in Wolverine (Leith Innes), Fellini (Sam Weatherley) and Craig Grylls on third favourite Grace N Grey.
Should Times Flies make the field he will also have a new jockey Matt Cameron.
Where: Ellerslie Racecourse, Auckland.
When: Saturday, first race 4.29pm
What: New Zealand racing's richest meeting with $2.48million in stakes.
Who: The best NZB-sold two and three-year-olds as well open sprinting three-year-olds, mares, stayers and sprinters catered for.
What next: Fields drawn Wednesday morning.