It was Benjamin Disraeli who famously declared he had climbed to the top of the "greasy pole" when he became prime minister. In a devolved Wales, the power games of first ministers-in-waiting are likely to prove just as cloak and dagger.
Last week, when Rhodri Morgan announced he was to stand down in 2009, education and lifelong learning minister Jane Davidson was staying tight-lipped over her political aspirations. But Ms Davidson has already become a bookies' favourite at 7-2.
In a 17-horse race, bookmaker Ladbrokes has identified three main contenders. It has put the Assembly government's economic development minister, Andrew Davies, and Carwyn Jones, environment, planning and countryside minister, alongside Ms Davidson as favourites at 9-2 and 3-1 respectively.
Also in the running are social justice minister, Edwina Hart, at 6-1, and Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan at 8-1. Among the rank outsiders are AM and MP Peter Law, at 66-1. And there is even a listing - at 250-1 - for Ron Davies, the former Welsh secretary.
Karl Williams, Ladbrokes's bookmaker and tipster, said: "Jane Davidson is a hot contender because she is so well respected."
Last week education unions threw their support behind Ms Davidson as a viable contender. However, not one punter has placed a bet on anyone - yet.