Trainer David Hayes will have to resort to scanning the field sizes for three race meetings in two states during the next few days in a bid to have his high-class import Jet Away in a position to open his spring campaign.
Jet Away, whose long-time goal has been the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup on October19, has been forced through minor setbacks to miss a large portion of the lead-up races.
And he faces the prospect of further interruptions this weekend as he tries to secure a start in the group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. A start in the set-weights and penalties event is now vital in view of the Caulfield Cup being just a few weeks away.
But Hayes is faced with a dilemma, as while his preferred option is for the former European galloper to resume in the Turnbull, he is on the borderline of securing a run. He is 22nd in ballot order, but the race has a field limit of 16.
Facing a touch-and-go situation, Hayes has been forced to nominate Jet Away for the Craven Plate at Randwick on Saturday, as well as the Benalla Cup on Sunday.
''It's far from ideal, but at least we have come up with a number of options for us to explore with the horse,'' Hayes said on Tuesday.
''If we miss out at Flemington, which looks on the cards, I really had thought my second option for a start would be at Benalla - it's just up the road [from my Euroa base] and that makes a big difference travel-wise, but the track looks like being just too wet for him there, so we must look elsewhere, and looking north would be my best option.
''It looks like Sydney will be his last chance to get a run. I am very very happy with him, he's at his best and his work here at home on Monday morning was so strong it's going to be an exciting time this spring if we can get him to the races.''
Just as complex will be the riding arrangements for Jet Away this weekend.
If he makes the field for the Turnbull, Daniel Moore will be the rider, and if he goes to Benalla, then Craig Williams will gain the mount. Kerrin McEvoy is on standby to ride him in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Gai Waterhouse said her two Turnbull hopefuls - Fiorente and Glencadam Gold were ''fabulous chances'' and a chance to run the quinella in the group1 event
''Damien Oliver partnered him this morning and he said Fiorente was really fluid in his action and glided over 1400 metres on the dirt [track],'' she said.
''I had the option of using the course proper but it was so windy I didn't bother.
''Both horses are on their home track and could easily run first and second.''
Darren Weir, the trainer of Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune, who is 17th in the ballot order, is also counting on an attrition rate. Much will depend on what owner Lloyd Williams decides to do with his team, including 2012 Turnbull winner Green Moon.