A mystery track bias at Trentham is jockey Craig Grylls' main worry as he plots what could be a huge day.
Grylls goes into Wellington Cup day with 58 wins for the season, just one win off the lead in the national premiership for which he finds himself the new favourite after recent injuries to Lisa Allpress and Danielle Johnson.
Grylls says he won't start thinking about the premiership too intently until after the Group racing over summer, and he gets three good shots at black-type wins today.
He rides favourite La Crique in the Desert Gold Stakes, second-favourite Coventina Bay in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile and proven stayer Lincoln King in the Wellington Cup.
As good as the opposition is in the Thorndon, Coventina Bay ticks all the boxes of form, fitness and weight for the massive mile, yet Grylls has a major concern.
She has drawn the ace and the inside running has been avoided by jockeys both days of this carnival so far, even though Grylls can't work out why.
"When you look at it, it looks good and it doesn't feel much different but nobody wants to be down there," he says of the racing pattern of the carnival which has been to race five or six horse widths off the fence.
Senior jockeys spoken to by the Herald have suggested there is a crown on the track around that spot, and because it slopes down to the rail, any irrigation may be concentrating on the lower side, producing poorer footing.
With the middle of the track having copped most of the traffic on the first two days, the inside might be better today, but it is an uncertainty punters and jockeys can do without.
"It is a worry drawing one with her [Coventina Bay]," says Grylls. "Maybe it will be okay, and if they are getting away from the inside, then at least we know we will get a run. But most of the winners have been coming from wide, so we'll have to see how it plays."
Barrier one would have been a concern for Coventina Bay for other reasons in the past, as she used to get so far back, but she has been able to settle handier in the past year and that could be crucial in a race that could lack tempo and become tactical.
Put her in the right spot and she may be the horse to beat but she is still yet to win a Group 1 and therefore can't be rated higher than Two Illicit, or perhaps even The Chosen One.
Grylls rates exciting filly La Crique (R6, No 2) his best ride today after her last-start win over The Perfect Pink at Ellerslie.
"She is a good filly and I know The Perfect Pink peaked on her run in that race but our filly was also fresh and will be better for the race," says Grylls. "I can see her being just off the speed and really hard to beat."
Grylls notes the Wellington Cup is extremely open now shorn of Waisake but Lincoln King will at least stay the 3200m.
"He has to be a chance on that alone," he says.