Craig Grylls admits there is somewhere he would rather be than Te Aroha on Saturday.
But that doesn't stop him being thrilled to pick up the ride on Coventina Bay in the $200,000 Breeders Stakes, the last Group 1 of the domestic season.
Grylls has secured the ride on the high-class Central Districts mare as regular rider Sam Collett has elected to stay with Levante in the weight-for-age 1600m for mares, which thankfully looks set to be run on a decent track.
So Grylls finds himself on a $5 chance in Coventina Bay, a horse he has never sat on, trained by Robbie Patterson, who Grylls thinks he has ridden for only once or twice before.
"I haven't had a lot to do with her but she is a good chance and I am thrilled to be on her," he offers.
But Grylls, who sits fourth in the national premiership, would also like to not be on Coventina Bay and instead be in Sydney riding Rocket Spade in the A$2 million ATC Derby at Randwick. Grylls has been Rocket Spade's rider in his two Guineas and ultimately his New Zealand Derby triumph this year but has been replaced by Kerrin McEvoy for the Derby.
This is more or less standard practice for leading New Zealand horses heading to major races in Australia these days, with Opie Bosson one of the rare Kiwi jockeys to get the Sydney call-up.
"That is just the way it goes and I totally understand it," says Grylls.
"Sure, I'd love to be there riding him and if they had asked me to go I would have, but the top jockeys over there do this every week and I understand why they would stick with a local.
"The horse and the connections obviously have been very good to me so I hope he goes over there and smashes them. I'll be yelling for him."
So can Rocket Spade win the Derby?
"I don't see why not. The way he won his 1600m race last start after the Derby here, when clearly it was too short for him, suggested to me maybe he is an even better horse than we think.
"He might be a really good horse," the top hoop says.
Before he gets to yell at Rocket Spade on television, Grylls has a solid book at Te Aroha and says Coventina Bay's barrier four in the nine-mare field could give her the chance to settle handier than she used to in her races.
"I'd like to think I could be midfield on the outer with her and in front of Levante at least and close enough to Avantage," says Grylls.
"She has been settling handier recently and that would be a big help. She is a really good mare, whether she is up to Avantage and Levante we will find out."
Grylls starts his day with Highlighter (R1, No 11) and rates her chances after running on well in both her starts this campaign.
Memories (R2, No 9) is a new ride for Grylls but comes out of a good field at Ellerslie last start and has barrier one so looks an each-way chance.
"I thought one of my best chances for the day was All Black Bourbon (R4, No 2).
"He comes out of the Wellington Guineas last start where he ran fifth and this is a lot easier so he might be my best of the day even from a wide draw."
Rocket Fuel (R6, No 5) finds herself in the right type of race after contesting races like the Concorde and the Counties Bowl so adds to Grylls' firepower for the day.