De La Terre won the biggest fillies race in the country but it was Tinker Mcphee that won punters' hearts in the countdown to the 1000 Guineas.
Today was the most crucial day for both fillies and the boys looking to head to the three-year-old classics at Cup week in Christchurch, and plenty stood up to be counted.
Need I Say More led throughout to win the $100,000 Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa, earning $3.20 favouritism for the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 7, his claim enhanced by the fact the pre-race favourite for the Guineas — Not An Option — dropped out to last in the Sarten.
But while Need I Say More dominated the boys division, the fillies heading to the 1000 Guineas on November 14 spread their talents far and wide.
De Le Terre took the glory in the $70,000 Waikato Stud Soliloquy Stakes at Te Rapa, her early speed helping her lead from where she held out the late lunge of Kahma Lass and Tokorangi, both of who were fantastic and look set to relish the 1600m of the Guineas at Riccarton.
De La Terre is part-owned by multi-millionaire Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti but even after her Group 3 win she was an $18 chance with the TAB to win the Guineas.
Both Kahma Lass and Tokorangi were a lot shorter as was Bo Vitesse, who picked a classy way to leave maidens winning the Group 3 War Decree Stakes at Riccarton.
The half-sister to last season Guineas placegetter and subsequent Group 1 winner in Travelling Light, Vitesse Bo kept up a sustained run to wear down the more favoured geldings in Marine and Unition and that was enough to see her rated a $10 Guineas chance.
Miss Tycoon Rose, who bolted away with the first race at Riccarton, also looked a serious Guineas contender but even after all those impressive performances the day still finished with a dominant favourite for the classic.
That is diminutive Matamata filly Tinker Mcphee, who stormed into third behind Need I Say More in a race she couldn't win a long way from home.
Taken back from her wide gate she made up 10 lengths and ran past some high-class male gallopers to do so, and she will head to Riccarton the $2.80 favourite for the Guineas over Bonham ($6) and Cornflower Blue at $8.
Whatever happens at Riccarton it will be Tinker Mcphee's last start in New Zealand as she is scheduled to join the Chris Waller stable in Sydney immediately after.
Other major market movers on a busy day for bookmakers included northern mare Karolino, who overcame missing a gap in the home straight to win the Couplands Mile Trial at Riccarton, shot up the markets for that feature on November 11.
She is into $6 second favouritism behind Hypnos, who now leads betting at $5 after being $31 just over a week ago.
A brave but blunted Probabeel had to settle for seventh in a rain-soaked Cox Plate in Melbourne.
The Kiwi mare looked a huge chance when she poured pressure on the leader at the 800m mark in the A$5 million race at The Valley but ultimately she struggled on the waterlogged track.
She fought doggedly, only losing fourth in the last few strides, but her winning chance had in reality disappeared when heavy rain fell in Melbourne overnight on Friday.
The most important weight-for-age race in Australasia was won by former Irish galloper Sir Dragonet.
Good enough to finish fifth in the English Derby at three, Sir Dragonet wouldn't have come cheap but earned A$3 million with his win and rider Glen Boss said he was hitting the line so hard he could be a genuine contender for the Melbourne Cup in nine days.
Boss only got the ride on Sir Dragonet when Hugh Bowman, who was booked for Sir Dragonet, was suspended.