New Zealand training elite could find out tomorrow whether they are any chance of being part of Australia's mega-rich spring carnivals.
Some of the country's top thoroughbred trainers spent part of yesterday on a conference call with Australian racing authorities and an immigration specialist based there attempting to get their staff admitted to Australia.
But trainer association president Tony Pike says the reality is some horses are going to have to head across the Tasman regardless and could end up with new or caretaker trainers.
The spring carnivals and New South Wales and Victoria give our best horses the opportunity to race for 10 times what they might in New Zealand but with Covid-19 numbers jumping enormously in Victoria getting staff permits to get into Australia has understandably become more difficult.
"The immigration expert who is working on it for us is the same lady who works on getting vets and staff in for the European horses so she understands the racing demands very well," says Pike.
"She told us today that applications that might usually take between 48 hours and up to five days to get cleared can go unanswered for up to two weeks now because the new Covid outbreaks.
"So that is making it really hard for us to get answers over whether or not we will be able to get staff in.
"After our conference call they are going to try and get some clarity around it all in the next 24 hours so all we can do now is wait."
Complicating the matter further are restrictions on travel between states, meaning horses can move between New South Wales and Victoria so once they fly into one state they could end up having to stay in the state the first land in.
"It has got very complicated but we are confident we have the right people working on it," says Pike.
"I am sure plenty of the horses will go but it could be a case of some of them going to other trainers short term or just to be looked after.:
Pike is thinking exactly that with his stable star Bostonian, a proven group one winner in Australia who heads to Sydney soon.
"A horse like him simply has to go to Australia because he might be able to race for A$500,000 to a A$1 million every race.
"But I might send him to trainer like Bjorn Baker and he can keep him ticking over before his first start on August 22 because I can get staff there and through quarantine."
Bostonian was originally going to trial on the huge card at Te Rapa today but will instead gallop between races at Hastings tomorrow.
"I have a few racing there so I am going to take Bostonian, Loire and Sacred Elixir there for a gallop between races and a trip away."
While that Pike trio won't be trialling today there are still plenty of equine elite heading to the 30-trial meeting likely to be run on a Slow 7.
Jamie Richards is taking 42 horses to the trials, a record even for the Te Akau juggernaut including Avantage, Pris De Fer and In A Twinkling.
"They won't be put under any stress, it is just their first outing for the new campaign," said Richards.
"But I am happy with how they are coming up and Avantage and Pris De Fer will probably both kick off in the Foxbridge Plate."
That $100,000 weight-for-age 1200m is later than usual this year on September 5.
Richards is one trainer who already has a staff member in Sydney looking after Melody Belle and Probabeel, both of who were to trial today but they were called off so they will instead trial on Friday.
He still intends sending other members of his superstar stable to Australia but admits those plans are very fluid, especially around Victorian races.
Avantage, the late season star of the weight-for-age ranks here, could contest the Hawkes Bay triple crown before she is asked to return to Australia.
Also rolling of the big guns today are Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman who have The Chosen One, True Enough and ATC Derby winner Quick Thinker trialling.
Another also starting his new campaign today is the Antony Fuller-trained Auckland Cup winner Roger That.