Trainer Johno Benner is sure of one fact heading into this weekend's Derby of Doubt: he wouldn't swap Montre Moi for any other horse in the race.
The Derby has been under the cloud of Covid-19 all week and nobody will know until this afternoon's alert levels announcement whether it is at Ellerslie on Sunday, delayed further to Monday, or, if there is no confirmation of Auckland coming out of level 3 before Monday, the meeting is at Hastings on Sunday.
As confusing as the missing pieces to the puzzle are, moving the Derby wouldn't seem to greatly change most of the key contenders' chances with the exception of second favourite Montre Moi, who would be making the far shorter trip from his Otaki stable to Hastings in the unlikely event the meeting heads there.
"I'd rather go to Ellerslie though," admits Benner. "Nothing against Hastings but when you win the Derby you want to win it at the home of the Derby. The extra travel doesn't bother us so given the choice we would rather go to Ellerslie."
The stable will wait for today's announcement and if it is Ellerslie, Montre Moi will be on the transporter to Stephen McKee's Takanini property at 5am tomorrow or Sunday.
Montre Moi gives Benner a shot at becoming only the second trainer after Jamie Richards to win all three of New Zealand's $1 million races, having already won the Karaka Million with Vespa and Karaka Classic with Scott Base.
"I'd love to complete the treble and I think he can do it because he has hit the line so hard his last two starts.
"One of those was against Aegon and Amarelinha who are top class and then last start he got too far back after being tardy in the barriers in the Waikato Guineas and ran on well.
"Because of how he jumped that day we are putting a barrier blanket on him."
Breeding buffs may take convincing a son of Showcasing can win a testing Derby but Montre Moi is from a stout UK family and he was taking ground off Amarelinha in the Karaka Classic two starts ago over 1600m so he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
As good a chance is co-favourite Rocket Spade, who looks to possess similar ability even though he raced a touch dour when winning the Avondale Guineas.
That may have been a result of trainer Andrew Scott and Lance O'Sullivan's training to try to extend him out to 2400m, training some of the sprint out of him in an effort to make his settle and find the line.
That looks to be a battle they are winning as he was relentless in the Guineas and looks an obvious threat.
While it is an even Derby those with Guineas form still stand out most as winning chances and that means Tokorangi has to be factored in.
She was stunning in the Waikato Guineas, gets the fillies weight allowance over the boys and won't need to perform much above her Te Rapa effort to be in the finish, meaning she could easily win.
Jason Belltree was so dogged and one-paced in the Avondale Guineas he rates a chance, especially with Derby king Vinnie Colgan in the saddle, while Milford, Lord Ardmore and the untapped Frontman also appeal, the latter especially if any weekend rain comes and there is give in the track.
But before we can know that, punters need to know the where and the when. The real race to the Derby starts around 4pm in Wellington today.
What you need to know
Where and when: The Derby will be held at Ellerslie unless there is no confirmation at today's Government announcement that Auckland moves out of alert level 3 by at least Monday. If Auckland stays in alert level 3 past midday Monday, the meeting will move to Hastings on Sunday.
Who: The horses and jockeys don't have to change depending on whether the meeting is at Ellerslie or Hastings, Sunday or Monday, but a move to Hastings might see a few more scratchings for reasons of travel or horses who don't perform left-handed.
Future bets: If the meeting moves to Hastings, the TAB bookies will enable punters who still have horses starting in the Derby (not those who didn't make the final field) the option of cashing those bets out because of the change of venue.
Attendance: Regardless of what day the meeting is held, if it is at Ellerslie there will be no public allowed but at level 2 the ARC will make provision for owners and members who pre-register to attend.
Betting: Because of the venue uncertainty, the final field fixed odds for the meeting opened on Thursday with the TAB, not listed in the normal fields but in the futures section of their website. These would be taken down and subject to change should the meeting move to Hastings but bets placed now stand if the meeting is at Ellerslie.