Red-hot trainer Tony Pike is relying on two old mates and a new star to kick off what could be the greatest classic fortnight of his training career.
The Cambridge trainer has Tutukaka in tomorrow's A$2 million Victoria Derby at Flemington.
Tutukaka is New Zealand's best chance of a group victory to start Melbourne Cup week and headlines what could be a massive two weeks for his trainer.
Pike also has Field Of Gold as second favourite in the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton next Saturday and equal favourite There You Go in the 1000 Guineas on November 13, giving him three genuine classic-winning chances in a fortnight.
While winning a classic treble is too much to realistically dream of, Pike says Tutukaka is where he needs to be to show his best tomorrow.
"He is spot on, I think his [last start] win at Geelong showed that," said Pike. "He has been staying with Tony Noonan, who has been a mate of mine for 30 years, during this campaign and he has looked after him a treat.
"So even though I can't be there, I couldn't be happier with the horse."
A mate Pike hasn't known for quite so long is champion jockey James McDonald, who will take the reins on Tutukaka.
"James and I are good mates but I can't often get him for my horses, he is too popular," quipped Pike.
"Obviously it is great to have him on and I think from a decent draw James can balance him up, get into a rhythm and push the button at the right time.
"You can never be confident going into a A$2m race but I am confident the horse is exactly where he needs to be."
If Tutukaka can win tomorrow it could be the second leg of a sensational Group 1 Derby Day double for his family, with his champion half-sister Melody Belle having won the Empire Rose here two years ago, her only Group 1 victory in Australia.
While Tutukaka will fly the New Zealand flag most prominently in the Derby, there is huge Kiwi interest in the race with five other starters bred here, including the favourite Forgot You, trained by ex-pats Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.
The son of Savabeel has looked every inch a Derby horse with three recent wins at The Valley during which he has come off the bit on the home bend but then regathered himself and kept coming like a true stayer.
"We are hoping with Flemington being a bigger track and the bends more sweeping, as well as the extra distance, he doesn't hit that flat spot," said Busuttin, who also has Commander Harry in the race. "He is a real Derby horse and has a touch of class too but it is actually a really good Derby field.
"Some years it can be a bit light but there are a lot of proven stayer here already for so early in the season so I think it is going to be a good race.
"But we wouldn't swap our horses, particularly Forgot You, for any of the others."
The Derby is just one of the highlights on the star-studded day that also sees a wicked version of the Coolmore Stakes with Sword Of State representing New Zealand, Amarelinha in the Empire Rose and Kahma Lass in the Cantala over the mile.
● Although Pike's focus will be on the Derby Day his startling spring form can continue at Tauranga tomorrow, if the track improves.
"I could be taking four there but only if the track dries out a bit. If it does the best of them would be Magic Show (R2, No13)."