As much as trainer Steve Telfer is looking forward to getting back to Alexandra Park tonight, he is also pleased to have his no-so-secret weapon back as well.
For the last two weeks, Telfer has been sending teams to Cambridge requiring horsepeople from that region to assist in getting them ready for the races, and using Waikato drivers as Aucklanders couldn't leave the region.
He still had plenty of success, with the bonus of being able to call on David Butcher to drive many of his Cambridge horses, but Stonewall Stud head trainer Telfer's No1 stable driver is Butcher's son Ben, who like his boss has been trapped in Auckland.
"We are really looking forward to having Ben back driving even though we have been very fortunate with the standard of drivers we have been using at Cambridge," said Telfer.
"Ben is a big part of our success. It is really valuable to have a senior, professional driver like him able to drive horses in work every day.
"They can help with feedback, get horses out of bad habits and you notice the difference with them working and then to drive them in races."
The pair will have some talent at their disposal, too, with Mitch (R4, No7) and Riverboy Ben (R5, No8), a handy support team and winning chances at Addington as well.
"Mitch was good last week at Cambridge when not much went right for him early but I like the way he fought right to the line," said Telfer. "He will improve with that and while he has a tricky wide draw he will still be hard to beat. He is a smart horse."
Riverboy Ben is one of those constantly-improving horses trainers love, the type always stepping up to the next challenge, which he will need to do in the race of the night.
"He is a horse we really like but is in a nice field with some gate speed inside him. But he is worth following."
Telfer will also endeavour to keep Dance Time in the north in coming weeks to support the two open-class races programmed as lead-ups to the New Zealand Cup.
He and sister/training partner Amanda have a strong presence in the South Island where Stonewall Stud owners Steve and Jill Stockman are setting up a second training establishment with the Telfers.
"The team down there are going really well and it is going to be great having that southern base when we have horses who need to travel there for carnivals as well."
Among those already in the south are high class mares Enjoy Me (who trialled well on Wednesday) and Darling Me, who starts in a mares race at Addington.
Darling Me is up against her own stablemate Kerri Maguire and more imposingly Miracle Mile mare Stylish Memphis, but Telfer expects a bold showing.