It is moving day for the country's elite three-year-old gallopers at Te Rapa but maybe the best of them won't be moving in the direction punters expect.
The Sarten Memorial is not just a top group two with a $110,000 stake but traditionally a crucial pointer to the $500,000 Two Thousand Guineas at Riccarton in 12 days.
Guineas entrants who run well in the Sarten, and most importantly hit the line strongly over the 1400m, may book themselves a ticket on next week's plane south.
But those who struggle today will almost certainly do so over the 1600m of the Guineas on the testing Riccarton track and their trainers often reset their goals, either for shorter summer races or waiting for them to develop the maturity to handle 1600m.
More intrigue has been added to the myriad of three-year-old pathways by some trainers only finding out this week that the late entries for the Guineas at Riccarton actually closed last Wednesday.
For a trainer like Tony Pike who was using today's race as a trial to see whether Pareanui Bay should go to Riccarton that option has now been taken away by the very early cutoff, with Riccarton officials admitting they need to change that for next season.
Ironically the horse to beat today is Hawkes Bay Guineas winner Mana Nui and trainer Chad Ormsby says while he could win the Guineas at Riccarton he may be allowed to bypass it even if he wins today.
"His owner Tony Rider is keen to take him to Aussie next campaign, maybe even for a race like the Australian Guineas," says Ormsby.
"So I think Riccarton is doubtful for him.
"But he has thrived since his win at Hastings and I think he will be even better today."
That assessment coupled with a handy barrier makes the son of No Nay Never a deserved favourite over a group of horses who have won one race from just a couple of starts, with any one of five or six rivals capable of taking that next step today. One who is on the improvement curve but may still not be a natural 1600m horse for the Guinea is Palamos.
Like many today he will need to show he is in for the fight in the last 200m to have any chance of going to Riccarton, especially after his stablemate Noverre rocketed to the head of the 2000 Guineas market when very strong to the line in his lead-up at Riccarton on Saturday.
The other highlight today is the return of the talented Gold Watch in race 7, in which he has to carry his full 62kg as trainer Cliff Goss has dropped him back to R74 grade to find a suitable race.