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Alain saddled with concern on Americain

ALAIN de Royer-Dupre's main concern over Americain is the extra lead in his saddle as the French stayer returns to Flemington in the early hours of tomorrow seeking back-to-back Emirates Melbourne Cups.

The Australian racing community appears certain there will not be a home winner this time, such is the strength of the international raiding party, and Americain and his compatriot Dunaden are strong at the head of the betting market.

Royer-Dupre only arrived Down Under this weekend, but appeared impressed after inspecting the six-year-old at the quarantine stables in Werribee for what will be his last run for the trainer.

Americain, who was raced sparingly in France this season, has evidently thrived since his comeback victory in the Moonee Valley International Cup, and will remain in Australia to run before eventually retiring to stud.

"He looks better than last year," Royer-Dupre said. "He has had fewer races this year, so he's fresh.

"The draw (15) is not an excuse. The problem is the weight. He has three more kilogrammes over a long distance in a very competitive race.

"He needs to get a good position in the race, not too far back. Softer ground would be best, but it is perfect for him at the moment."

Mikel Delzangles goes head-to-head with his mentor through Dunaden, an easy winner of the Geelong Cup.

A relaxed Delzangles still has a worry over jockey Craig Williams, who is needing to win an appeal over a careless riding ban to take the mount.