The Group I MRC Caulfield Guineas and Thousand Guineas are two of the key events for three year-olds in the spring and the list of early entries always generates much interest as we see which proven stars are being aimed at Guineas glory and which unknowns are looking to make the quantum leap.
This time last year Thousand Guineas heroine Atlantic Jewel was one of those unknowns, kicking off her career with a soft win in an 1100 metre maiden at the Geelong synthetic track on August 23.
Three starts later, the Mark Kavanagh trained daughter of Fastnet Rock started a raging hot favourite in the Guineas and duly won by three lengths from Mosheen, who had finished second in the Golden Slipper at two.
Last year's Caulfield Guineas provided a memorable clash between the previous season's dual Group I winning juvenile Helmet and an up and comer in Manawanui, who had not contested a stakes race at two.
Helmet (pictured Taron Clark) prevailed to win in a titanic struggle, but Manawanui gave him the race of his life and neither have been quite the same since.
These time honoured Guineas events traditionally bring together the established stars with the new young guns and 2012 promises more of the same.
Click here for Caulfield Guineas nominations.
Click here for Thousand Guineas nominations.
Champion 2YO and unbeaten colt Pierro (pictured) heads the Caulfield Guineas contenders and will seek to emulate the performance of his sire Lonhro, who won this race in 2001.
If he can win, it won't be the first time a father and son combination have both won this race as Redoute's Choice was successful in 1999, while his son God's Own scored in 2005.
Patinack Farm will be cheering on Black Caviar's half-brother All Too Hard, who has shown immense ability in winning three of four starts, his lone defeat a comprehensive one at the hooves of Pierro in the Group I ATC Sires Produce Stakes.
He's not the only Casino Prince entered for the race either, with Patinack paying up for another 10 of his offspring, so that may be a tip in itself for the stallion, who finished as Champion First Season Sire in 2011/2012.
A notable Guineas absentee is Sizzling, who enjoyed a brilliant Brisbane Winter Carnival culminating in a Group I victory over 1600 metres in the BRC TJ Smith Stakes, although the horse he beat that day Kabayan is among the entries and this Gai Waterhouse trained son of Haradasun could easily emerge as a serious player.
Fetching $1,150,000 at Magic Millions in 2011, Australia's most expensive yearling Laughing Lad has been entered for the Guineas. A half-brother by Redoute's Choice to More Joyous, he was only fourth when making his debut at Werribee last month, but connections are obviously hoping the only way from there is up.
Another blue-blooded Redoute's Choice to keep a very close watch on will be the Robert Hickmott trained and Lloyd Williams owned Wales, who won a Listed race at Caulfield at his only start in April. A $310,000 Inglis Easter purchase, Wales (pictured Racepix Vic) is from Group III winner Valyrie Diva, a half-sister to triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.
Also a blue-blood and well worth watching for is the Darley runner Epaulette, a three-quarter brother by Commands to last year's winner Helmet. Spelled after finishing last in the Golden Slipper, Epaulette undoubtedly has more to offer.
Another sibling to a star that holds an entry is Mulaazem, the half-brother by Dubai Destination (USA) to Sepoy that won by 10 lengths at a recent Sunday meeting at Sandown. Was that a fluke or is he the real deal? Time will tell.
Several fillies have been dual entered for the Caulfield Guineas and Thousand Guineas including last year's dominant filly and Blue Diamond winner Samaready and boom filly Commanding Jewel, an as yet unraced three-quarter sister to Atlantic Jewel by Commands.
The Leon Corstens trained Commanding Jewel has been seen in public once when she bolted in with a barrier trial at Wangaratta last month and has been entered for a maiden at Swan Hill on Monday in which she is certain to start hot favourite.
Fastnet Rock has had two of the past three winners of this race in Irish Lights and Atlantic Jewel and looks to have a strong hand again with 14 entries including obvious promising types Jade Marauder, Driefontein, Nechita and She's a Fox.
Two unbeaten fillies that have yet to be tried in stakes class, but show every sign of making the grade are Elite Elle (pictured RAcepix Vic)) and Dazzler, who are both intriguing entries.
The former is by Shamardal (USA), who nearly sired the winner of this race in 2009 with Faint Perfume who finished third and the latter is a blue-blood for Darley being by More Than Ready (USA) from Group I winner Camarilla.
Spring racing is all about dreaming big and for some lucky owners, those dreams will come true.