The international challenge for this year's Melbourne Cup is both strong numerically and strong in depth of quality which has led some jealous members of the Australian training ranks to call for a cap on the number of internationals allowed run.
So far the home team have taken a bit of a beating with Adelaide's win meaning the Cox Plate headed back to Ireland for the first time and Admire Rakti's Caufield Cup triumph was another blow and now see's him as favourite for the big one itself.
It was a strange outburst really considering that so many of the home challengers in the Melbourne Cup are bought out of Europe but thankfully it looks set to fall on deaf ears as Victoria Racing Club Chairman Michael Burn said yesterday: "A cap is not something we are concerned about at the moment. We will continue to monitor it but at this stage I think it works ambiguously good for all parties."
After halving in price about a fortnight ago Johnny Murtagh's main hope Mutual Regard is now sneaking into Tuesday's race under the radar a bit with the bookmakers reporting down here: "The support has dried up for Mutual Regard in the last seven-days or so when 30 per cent of the bets were on him with a lot of that down to the Damian Oliver booking on the horse."
Instead, it is Ed Dunlop's eight-year-old Red Cadeaux who is the horse that few would begrudge winning as he runs in the race for a fourth time which considering he is based in Newmarket is an achievement in itself but Caulfied Cup winner Admire Rakti remains at the head of the betting.
Such is the media attention surrounding the Melbourne Cup that there always seems to be interesting views expressed from connections each day but despite Admire Rakti's owner claiming that his horse wouldn't run if he received extra weight for winning the Caulfield Cup, the prospect of winning the race that stops a nation has outweighed the 0.5kg picked up by the seven-year-old.
Admire Rakti completed his final piece of work at Werribee yesterday morning and connections throw out the line that he has a lot of weight but even with their broken English you can't but ignore their excitement and confidence.
"We've been happy (with Admire Rakti) and he's into favourite now. His condition is good," trainer Tomoyuki Umeda.
Of the weight increase he said: "We think 58kg is already heavy and 0.5kg is heavier again but we think 0.5kg for winning the Caulfield Cup is a fair weight."
Owners OTI Racing have a strong hand in the race which could increase again after the Mackinnon Stakes and Lexus Stakes at Flemington today which give an automatic entry to the winner if they hold a Melbourne Cup entry but their representative Terry Henderson, while giving a favourable mention to Mutual Regard, was in no doubt to who punters should back if they are looking for an each way option.
"Van Percy has done well but Mutual Regard beat him in the Ebor and he seems to have done well here and is a tough nut who knows how to run in big handicaps but Gatewood is a horse who has gone under the radar and certainly is the pick of ours (OTI Racing)," Henderson revealed.
Fittingly at the Werribee press conference Henderson summed up the Melbourne Cup.
"It's not an Australian race anymore, it is a global sporting event and it really has taken the world by storm."