The condition of Sydney's racetracks is shaping as a major influence on the immediate future of star colt All Too Hard.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said All Too Hard was making a good recovery from the cold that forced his withdrawal from Saturday's Australian Guineas at Flemington, a race that was to be his final Melbourne start.
While his southern duties are supposedly complete, Hawkes is in no rush to send the colt to Sydney where rain has created heavy racing conditions over the past two weeks.
"The biggest key is the wet weather in Sydney," Hawkes said.
"I'd rather keep him down here in the sunshine than send up there to those wet tracks."
The plan the Hawkes team had in place for All Too Hard called for a quick back-up from the Futurity Stakes to the Guineas and then three to four weeks off.
But the program is now back on the drawing board after the weekend.
Hawkes said no race is fixed in his or his father John's mind for the return to Sydney, although a couple have been ruled out.
But his father's affection for the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill, a race in which he believes his champion galloper Lonhro turned in his best performance, could influence the team's thinking.
"The Ryder's also over 1500m at weight-for-age ... it looks pretty good for him," Wayne Hawkes said.
Among the rejected possibilities is a clash between All Too Hard and his big sister, Black Caviar, in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 22.
Also off the agenda is the All Aged Stakes at Randwick at Randwick on April 27 - another of Black Caviar's possible targets - with the Doncaster Mile a week earlier also ruled out.
While the scratching of All Too Hard robbed the Guineas of its star attraction and created a glitch in the colt's campaign plans, it could have been worse.
"I was very thankful it happened Saturday morning and not Saturday afternoon," Hawkes said.
"He quite possibly would have won, but he might have been a bit of a mess afterwards.
"I'm very glad we got it early."
All Too Hard looked fresh and keen in his light work at Flemington on Monday and is expected to be back in full swing within days.