The spring carnival is one giant puzzle that ultimately comes together in the first week of November.
Week by week the clues emerge, and this Saturday at Caulfield punters and pundits alike are expecting one significant pointer as to the final shape and colour that the carnival picture will take.
Puissance De Lune, the striking Irish-bred French import from Darren Weir's Ballarat yard, steps out for only his second start in nine months when he lines up in the day's feature, the group 2 $220,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes at weight-for-age over 1400 metres.
On paper, the trip should be too short for the grey son of Shamardal, but on his only start last autumn the now six-year-old was good enough to dead-heat in the group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington with tough South Australian galloper Budriguez. It might have been a career high for the latter, but in Puissance De Lune's case it was evidence that a horse which had hitherto had been at his best in the 2400m listed Bendigo Cup and the 2600m group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes had enough toe to be competitive at a mile in decent company.
While he may be early favourite for the Melbourne Cup, Puissance De Lune is regarded as far more than just a high-quality staying handicapper. He hasn't been entered for the Caulfield Cup; instead he will attempt to complete a double his jockey, Glen Boss, achieved eight years ago on the legendary staying mare Makybe Diva, by taking out the Cox Plate en route to the race that stops a nation.
It is a huge ask for even the highest class horses, as can be seen by how rarely the double is achieved, let alone for one that in October last year was beaten in a benchmark 89 handicap at Warrnambool.
But that is part of the romance of the turf and, having recovered from a small operation to remove a bone chip in a knee (the injury restricted him to one autumn run) the expectations from the usually diffident Weir and the exuberant Boss are high.
The jockey rode the horse in a gallop at Weir's Ballarat base last weekend and came away exultant, declaring that ''this horse could be the best in Australia''. The newly crowned Victorian premier rider has been hammering home the message all week, telling Victorian media that he had no doubts about Puissance De Lune being a top class weight-for-age candidate - nor about his ability to see out a testing 3200m on Cup day.
However, no Lawrence winner has gone on to take the Cup and only Subzero has run in the August sprint and gone on to take the biggest prize in Australian racing.