Having dedicated his life to horses, Shane Rose knows what makes an elite equestrian type.
In Virgil, the Berry talent is confident he's unearthed a gold-medal winning animal.
Rose's quest for Olympic glory commences on Friday, the 48-year-old teaming up with Sydney 2000 eventing champions Andrew Hoy and Stuart Tinney.
Equestrian holds a unique place in the Olympics, the only sport athletes must manoeuvre a living creature in their quest for gold.
For Rose, that's led to a special bond with Virgil and he's determined to ensure the connection translates to a superb performance.
"You can see with Andrew Hoy and Vassily, the amazing partnership they've got," Rose said.
"I like to think Virgil and I have just as good a partnership as they have.
"When you get to this level, the horse is trying to work for you rather than against you.
"I've had Virgil for 11, maybe 12 years, he's an amazing horse.
"He's probably as good, if not better than any other horse I've had."
Eventing has changed considerably in the five years since Rose was used as a sacrificial lamb in Rio.
On that occasion, he was told to go as hard as he could in the cross-country round to put Australia in line for gold.
The ploy backfired, his horse CP Qualified unable to complete the course, leaving Rose to watch from the sidelines during the jumping round as his Australian teammates held on for bronze.
The format has changed in Tokyo, taking such moves out of the equation.
Instead of entering a team of four and only the top three scores counting, countries start with three competitors this year.
As a result, the margin for error is slim.
"We went into Rio as a team and I was given instructions to do a role," Rose said. "I tried my best but it didn't come off as planned.
"It's a very different format this time, with only three scores and and all scores counting, team tactics will be very different to Rio.
"It will be very much more about completing and being consistent and competitive at the elite level.
"We've got three consistent horses and riders, if we can all finish on a good score, we'll be able to give the gold medal a real shake up."
The eventing competition is a gruelling test across four days that challenges both horse and human.
The event starts with dressage on Friday and Saturday before cross country on Sunday.
The team competition concludes with Monday's jumping, before a second jumping round to determine the individual medalists.
With a pair of Olympic champions by his side, Rose is confident the team will safely navigate the three rounds.
Should they do so, the Australians will be in the mix for gold.
"None of us are young, we've got a lot of experience and know what's required to win the competition," Rose said.
"You've got to complete and complete well.
"The horse I've got is in career-best form, I'm riding as well as ever.
"I'm looking forward to this challenge and doing as best I can for my teammates and my country."
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