A change of plan with superstar three-year-old Catalyst is set to add even more glamour to what has become New Zealand racing's biggest day of the year.
And it raises the possibility he could give Te Rapa race fans a taste of his talents come February in another bonus for the local industry.
The freakish 2000 Guineas winner will be allowed to bypass the group one Telegraph at Trentham next month with trainer Clayton Chipperfield opting for Ellerslie a week later as his main New Zealand target before he heads to Melbourne for the Australian Guineas and All Star Mile.
So Catalyst will make his Auckland debut in the Mr Tiz Sprint for three-year-olds on Karaka Million night January 25.
The meeting has already grown so rapidly it is now New Zealand's most important racing fixture, with its two $1 million races complimented by an outstanding support card. Adding Catalyst to that show will provide even more Australian focus on the meeting as he is already equal favourite for the A$1 million Australian Guineas, his every step now being followed over there.
Chipperfield has handled Catalyst and the pressure of training one of the country's most exciting horses like a veteran even though he is still establishing himself as a fulltime trainer rather than a breaker and preparer.
The Telegraph was never set in stone for Catalyst and the Mr Tiz will mean a far shorter haul to the race, likely an easier race and possibly a perfect lead-up to Melbourne. But with it being a week after the Telegraph that could see a reshaping of his plans, with his initial Victorian debut on February 1 not possible.
"So after the Mr Tiz he could go to Autumn Stakes in Melbourne two weeks later or there is still a chance he could go to the BCD Sprint at Te Rapa," says Chipperfield.
If, and it is only an if, Catalyst turns up at Te Rapa on February 8 for the group one 1400m it could set up a clash with some of our best older gallopers.
Trainer Tony Pike has ruled Bostonian out of the Railway at Ellerslie on January 1 but is likely to send Endless Drama and three-year-old filly Kali there. "We think the weight-for-age conditions of the Telegraph suit Bostonian better," says Pike. "But the other two are very likely for the Railway."
Avantage is also likely to miss the Railway in favour of the Telegraph but could head to Ellerslie for a lead-up in the Hallmark Stud Sprint on December 26. "She has come up really well and feels happy to be home," says trainer Jamie Richards. "She will trial this week."
Another high-class mare coming off the back of a disappointing Sydney campaign is Volpe Veloce and trainer Graham Richardson says she is aimed at the Railway fresh-up.
"She trialled well last week and I am thinking Railway and then maybe the Telegraph because it is weight-for-age. But that decision won't be made until after the Railway because she also has the Westbury Classic up here and the BCD Sprint at Te Rapa as options."
• Superstar three-year-old Catalyst is likely to have his next start on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie next month.
• Trainer Clayton Chipperfield will bypass the Telegraph at Trentham.
• Bostonian and Avantage are high-class gallopers like to head to the Telegraph while fellow group one winner Volpe Veloce is targeting the Railway on January 1.