The space has been cleared, frame at the ready with bookmakers convinced - now John O'Shea is banking on James McDonald righting his Victoria Derby wrongs to vault Savvy Nature to Group 1 glory.
On the cusp of adding to the collection of Kembla Grange maiden winners to have won a major, bagmen have kept Savvy Nature rock solid at the top of betting for the $1.5 million classic today.
O'Shea has already nursed Private Steer from success in a low-key Kembla maiden to win a Doncaster, Stradbroke and All Aged, with her picture hanging proudly in the Illawarra Turf Club owners' room.
Bentley Biscuit and Hot Danish are also part of the collection.
And O'Shea, despite Savvy Nature drawing awkwardly in barrier 13, is confident young gun McDonald won't make the same mistake he made on It's A Dundeel 12 months ago.
Sent out a red-hot favourite, McDonald snagged It's A Dundeel to settle near the tail of the field as Fiveandahalfstar ran his rivals ragged, with the top pick never making an impression.
"I think that's good from our perspective that James has had that luxury of going into the race with a favoured runner and having that experience," O'Shea told the Mercury.
"You wouldn't think a jockey of his ability would be one to make the same mistake twice."
The writing has always been on the wall for Savvy Nature, which made a mess of a Kembla two-year-old field on debut in May.
Frenchman Thomas Huet barely had to ask for an effort from the Savabeel gelding, which thundered to a 4½-length win.
"I always hoped all along that's what he would be [a Victoria Derby horse]," O'Shea said.
"When he did what he did at Kembla at his first start it reiterated what we felt.
"We've got a lot of respect for Kembla form and it's a great place to take young horses. That's why I go there all the time.
"He's a big, tough horse that has been set for the race ... there's no two ways about that."
Ever since Savvy Nature has been giving the impression the gruelling 2500-metre trip of the Derby will be right up his alley, impressing in winning Newcastle's Spring Stakes.
Darley's Complacent got the better of him in the Gloaming and Spring Champion and the two Sydneysiders are set for the return bout at Flemington.
Savvy Nature heads betting at $4.80, while Complacent, drawn poorly in barrier 16, shadows him at $5.50. Victoria's top chance, Polanski, has been met with significant support and is also at $5.50 (in from $8) with Wollongong-based Sportsbetting.com.au.
"With Savvy Nature, Complacent and Criterion all drawing wide, the punters seem to be placing massive weight in Polanski drawing the one," Sportsbetting.com.au's Hamish Davidson said.
"We are really keen on Criterion at $10. The best lead-up race for this was the Spring Champion, where it was by far a better run than Savvy Nature and Complacent, getting blocked and checked multiple times before finding the line better than the rest.
Said O'Shea: "Sydney horses have had the wood on them all spring really, haven't they? It's been the case across all spectrums of racing this spring and I don't think it's going to change when you get to a Group 1.
"I'm really happy with [Savvy Nature] and [Thursday] morning he had a nice gallop and pulled up bouncing."
And star jockey Glen Boss, who partners maiden Bring Something in the race, made it known he can't see any way how Complacent can be beaten despite his awkward draw.
"If I was riding Complacent I would be very confident I'd just win the race," Boss said yesterday.