Trainer Stephen Marsh has two attempts at group racing tomorrow - one he can have a large footprint in and one rating as mission impossible.
Thee Auld Floozie and Sofia Rosa give the Cambridge horseman a huge chance of a major share of spoils in the group one $200,000 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings.
A couple of thousand kilometres to the west at Randwick, stable stayer Chocante has a much tougher assignment in tackling Winx in the A$250,000 Chelmsford Stakes.
Even with a gun to his head, Marsh could not bring himself to claim Chocante has a winning chance against the world's best mare and the world's best racehorse on turf, but this is no throw-away race for this year's Brisbane Cup winner.
"Ideally, I'd like to see him run fifth or six, but actually I don't care where he finishes provided he's running on through the last 200m to 300m. We've waited all winter through wet tracks for the first decent spring raceday and, unfortunately, the weather is again going to play a part."
Showers are forecast late today for the majority of at least Hawke's Bay north with those being replaced by rain tomorrow, heavy in parts.
If that eventuates a number of main Tarzino chances are almost certainly going to be disadvantaged.
Principally among them will be the favourite Volpe Veloce. She won on a heavy track at Whanganui at her second race appearance - and won clearly - but group one racing is different. She has great class and even more importantly for tomorrow an enormous will to win. "I am very worried about the track condition," trainer Graham Richardson told the Herald yesterday. "If it got very heavy she may not even start.
"People look at that heavy track win at Wanganui, but I rated that track slow only that day. Heavy against a group one field is a lot different."
If Volpe Veloce gets anything like comfortable footing and luck in running she will be right in the finish and the same scenario presents for second favourite Kawi. He won this race last year on a slow 7 and after his enormous and luckless first-up run in the Foxbridge Plate he will be in it again in similar conditions, even though better footing would suit.
The potential for a wet track brings Thee Auld Floozie and Sofia Rosa into the frame. Both had nice, comfortable recent Taupo trials and according to their trainer have bounced through that outing in fabulous order.
"Honestly, both are thriving," says Stephen Marsh. "I was delighted with their trial runs because they were there for an easy outing and they had that."
For different reasons, this should be the best season for the stablemate mares. Thee Auld Floozie always looked better than average, but last season she went to a different level - and it took her to group one status.
Sofia Rosa always was going to be group one material, but a tendency to hang left or right under pressure hampered her. She won and lost the Oaks at Trentham then got a reward with victory in the Oaks at Randwick. "I think she has finally matured both mentally and physically," says Marsh. "Any rain brings her right into contention."
In for a big campaign: Francaletta, R3, Hastings. Won them in a row last preparation and has had three trials to fit her for this.
Four kilo claim: Bee Tee Junior, R2, Ruakaka. Won well last start and with a big claim can make it two on the trot.
Each way: Selfie, R5, Ruakaka, Very capable and will be competitive with 54kg.
1: Sofia Rosa
2: Thee Auld Floozie
4: Luna Rossa