It is looking increasingly likely the flying fillies will tackle next week's Vodafone Derby but in a surprise twist Te Akau boss David Ellis says that may not mean sacrificing the Oaks with Amarelinha.
Amarelinha is the $2.50 TAB favourite for the $1 million classic at Ellerslie on Saturday week even though she isn't nominated for the race, but $1.90 to win the Oaks at Trentham two weeks later.
No decision on whether she starts in the Derby will be made until Monday at the earliest and possibly not even until Wednesday after Ellis and trainer Jamie Richards discuss their options.
But the other filly well in the Derby market, Tokorangi, looks likely to start with co-trainer Pam Gerard saying that is her preference and one that just needs the tick of approval from senior partner Mike Moroney.
"I'd like to go to the Derby and her time when she won the Waikato Guineas was quicker than Amarelinha winning the fillies race that day so we can't afford to be scared of her," says Gerard.
The Amarelinha question is more complex because if she goes to the Derby she will miss the Sunline Vase the same day, victory in which could secure her at least a share of the Filly of the Year title, which she leads.
The equation is if Amarelinha goes to the Sunline Vase and the Oaks (Trentham, March 20) she will be red hot to win $470,000 worth of races as well as the Filly of the Year and is about a $1.50 chance to be a Group 1 winner this time next month before heading to Australia.
The Derby is worth almost twice as much as those two targets and is also a Group 1 but is significantly more challenging because while the male three-year-olds are not daunting, a rival like Montre Moi got close and was making ground on Amarelinha over 1600m in the Karaka Classic Mile.
So there are probably four or five boys and Tokorangi who could beat Amarelinha if things went their way and not hers in the Derby. If she turns up in the Oaks at her peak she might win by five lengths.
But Ellis is not discounting starting in both races.
"It is possible," says the Te Akau boss.
"We honestly won't make a decision until Monday or even a few days later and I don't have a set preference yet.
"If she races in the Derby she will miss the Sunline Vase that day but she might still be able to race in the Derby and then got to the Oaks two weeks later.
"So we have a bit to think about."
That classic double has rarely been attempted since the Derby and Oaks both moved to their time slots two weeks apart so the question for Ellis and Richards is whether a possible Derby win, which would be huge on all levels, outweighs the triple treat of a highly probable Oaks and Filly of the Year title as well as a Group 1.
A betting man would suggest the Derby is the more favoured path right now but with Te Akau's model so linked to Group 1 wins and the enormous future breeding value that guarantees, turning down what looks a near certain one in the Oaks would be a break from their usual methodology.
The flipside to that coin is they have lost their main Derby chance Maasir with a leg issue and that leaves them with only a rough chance in Perfect Scenario in the classic.
It would be hard to watch the Derby winner battle to the line like most did in Saturday's Avondale Guineas knowing you may have had a filly good enough to beat them at home.
To further complicate the puzzle there is the Auckland weather, because if it rained next week and the track became soft the Derby would become far less attractive and if Amarelinha goes to the Derby it would be highly unlikely stable No 1 jockey Opie Bosson could make her weight, although premiership leader Danielle Johnson isn't a bad substitute.