Paul Snowden tries to muster confidence as he assesses Epaulette's chances in Saturday's $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.
It is tough for any rival of Gai Waterhouse's explosive colt Pierro to be optimistic in the face of the onslaught he is widely expected to unleash in the 1600-metre feature.
But Snowden, who oversees the Darley team in Melbourne, believes the recent winner of the Golden Rose has the best chance of causing an upset.
The Sheikh Mohammed-owned three-year-old will be out to follow in the steps of his half-brother Helmet, who won the Caulfield Guineas last year.
Snowden says they have prepared Epaulette as best they can and the rest is up to him.
"Just as long as we turn up fit and well on the day, as we are now and ... who knows?" Snowden said.
"The biggest thing in our favour is we're going to have something pretty good to chase home.
"That's going to keep him focused ... and hopefully we're good enough on the day."
Pierro firmed to $1.20 with TAB fixed odds yesterday with Epaulette the only other runner at single figures at $7.50.
But Snowden says he has faith in Epaulette as a "versatile colt" who should not be written off.
"He's won from the front, he's won when settled way back in the field. No-one really knows what's going to happen in the first 200 or 300 metres," he said.
"That's going to make or break a few of them and that's where it's going to sort itself out."
Pierro will start from barrier seven in the eight-horse field with Epaulette alongside him in gate six.
After taking out the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) in Sydney on September 15, Epaulette won the Group 3 Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield two weeks later.
"He's ticked two big boxes along the way and that's given us a lot of confidence going into Saturday," Snowden said.
Epaulette still holds a nomination for the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 27 but Snowden says the stable has left its options open and needs to "get this one out of the way first and see what happens".
The Mick Price-trained Let Go Lenni, a $31 chance in the Guineas, has the inside gate.
Let Go Lenni scored a first-up maiden win at Kilmore on September 18 before running second to Epaulette in the Group 3 Guineas Prelude.AAP