The punters are climbing over themselves to back boom colt All Too Hard to make a winning return to racing as Melbourne's autumn carnival kicks off on Saturday with the running of the $400,000 Group One Orr Stakes.
All Too Hard, the younger brother of the world's best sprinter in unbeaten megastar Black Caviar, is already worth a reported $25 million after his spring exploits in which the Team Hawkes-trained horse won the prestigious $1 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m) before finishing second in Australia's WFA championship the Cox Plate.
Winner of nearly $1.5 million in prizemoney from just nine starts, All Too Hard will be having his first run since finishing a brave second behind Ocean Park in the Cox Plate and is on course for a possible Australian Cup showdown with Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon in early March.
And with a field of just nine to contest the weight-for-age race over 1400m at Caulfield on Saturday, the three-year-old is set to start a near even money favourite as he attempts to win the first big WFA race of 2013 exactly one year after his big sister Black Caviar saluted in the race last year.
Bookmakers are already reporting heavy support for All Too Hard, including one bet at sportsbet.com.au of $100,000 at $2.70 which has seen the Caulfield Guineas winner firm into $2.30.
At Betfair, Daniel Bevan says around 90 percent of money already wagered on the race has been on All Too Hard, who is priced at $2.50, while the Casino Prince-Helsinge colt is also paying just $2.30 at Eskander's Betstar.
All Too Hard has a win and a third to his credit from his previous two first-up runs and won his sole start at Caulfield, in the Guineas, while his record at 1400m is a win and a second from two starts.
But under the WFA conditions of the race All Too Hard only has to carry 55.5kg - 3.5kg less than the bulk of his older rivals which should more than off-set the fact he has drawn the outside barrier.
The obvious danger is the underrated galloper Callanish, whose unblemished eight successive wins to begin his career has been overshadowed by Black Caviar's freakish 22-run unbeaten record.
However Callanish priced at $8 at Betstar, $9 at sportsbet.com.au and $9.20 at Betfair - faces a major step-up in class from his last-start win in the Seymour Cup back in October.
The second favourite for the race is multiple Group One-winning Kiwi King Mufhasa at $4.20 with sportsbet.com.au, $4.40 at Betstar and $4.50 with Betfair with the eight-year-old coming off a win at Group Three level in New Zealand over 1400m on December 22.
But the consistent Peter Snowden-trained Pinwheel should never be underestimated and is good value at $5.50 at sportsbet.com.au and $6.20 at Betfair while the best roughie in the race is Anthony Freedman's Mawingo at odds of $9 at Betstar and $12 at sportsbet.com.au and Betfair.
The German import won Brisbane's most prestigious WFA race - the Group One Doomben Cup - in the winter but didn't come up in the spring but has twice won first-up.
The Blue Diamond Preludes will also be held on Saturday after which the betting outlook for Victoria's premier two-year-old race - to be held on February 23 at Caulfield - should be a lot clearer.
The fillies have so far looked more impressive than the colts - who are yet to produce a stand-out contender in the mould of Blue Diamond favourite Miracles of Life - and once again the colts' prelude looks an even affair on Saturday.
The favourite at $3.35 at Betfair is Peter Moody's Dissident, who was impressive on debut in the Blue Diamond colts preview on Australia Day.
However, the horse that finished second in that race in the Snowden-trained Kuroshio is not far behind in betting at $3.45 while Gai Waterhouse's Marseille Roulette - who won the Inglis Classic on debut in Sydney despite drawing the outside barrier - is a $4 chance at Betfair.
But the fillies prelude on Saturday features the current second favourite for the Blue Diamond in Guelph - $7.40 in early Diamond markets at Betfair behind boom Adelaide filly Miracles of Life at $3.05.
Guelph was an impressive winner in Sydney on Australia Day and will need to win this race to justify her high Blue Diamond rating but she is odds-on at $1.82 at Betfair to do just that.
The only other runners under double-figure odds in the fillies' prelude are her stablemate Montsegur - to be ridden by Craig Williams - at $4.80 and Peter Moody's Quest For Peace, who is first-up after a promising fourth on debut at Flemington in October - at $6.40.
*Note prices subject to change
Paul Gough's selections
1. All Too Hard
Best roughie: Mawingo
Blue Diamond Colts Prelude
3. Marseille Roulette
Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude
2. Quest For Peace