It's the biggest race of the year in Australia and one of the world's most famous events at Flemington on Tuesday, so who is going to win the Lexus Melbourne Cup?
The Grade 1 handicap is routinely one of the most competitive Flat races in the calendar and this year another bumper field of 24 are set to go to post.
Clive Gildon supplies his analysis on the big race and gives a selection and next best, while also providing the lowdown on the other key British and Irish-trained runners.
4.00am – Lexus Melbourne Cup (2m)
The big one! Willie Mullins might never have a better chance of winning the Melbourne Cup than he does this year because top-class hurdler Vauban has translated his ability to the Flat this campaign.
He thrashed ABSURDE by seven-and-a-half-lengths in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot and has since been trained with this race in mind. However, his warm up win in the Ballyroan Stakes at Naas didn't come in a strong race and runner-up Valiant King has twice been beaten subsequently.
Vauban also has to give Absurde 4lb in weight this time - they raced off levels at Ascot - and that may be enough for his stablemate to reverse the form and provide Mullins a win with his second string.
Absurde was given a lot to do from the back of the field at Royal Ascot, whereas Vauban got the run of the race up front, and it was a superb effort for Absurde to beat all bar Vauban from so far behind.
The selection confirmed himself a classy stayer when overcoming the widest draw in stall 24 to land the Ebor at York on his last start and Mullins hasn't given him a run since, lining him up for this race.
There aren't many better at priming one than Mullins and Absurde's Ebor form looks strong as the runner-up Sweet William has twice been placed in Group races since. Absurde can spring a surprise.
At a bigger price it's worth considering one of the home team. Gai Waterhouse won this race ten years ago with Fiorente and has a solid contender in partnership with Adrian Bott. Military Mission is the horse in question and he comes here in the form of his life having won two of his last three runs.
He was successful in the Newcastle Gold Cup in September and followed his fourth in a Grade 1 at Randwick later that month with a comfortable success in a Grade 2 at Caulfield in his warm up race.
Military Mission was strong at the finish that day and there should be further improvement to come following his win in a trial for this race at Sale last Tuesday. Waterhouse has been bullish about his chances and has booked Rachel King to ride. She has recorded several victories aboard the horse.
Joseph O'Brien saddles Valiant King but he was no match for Vauban at Naas and, unlike Absurde, has gone backwards since that defeat. He was well held in the Caulfield Cup when having his first outing in Australia last time and will need to improve to give O'Brien a third victory in the contest.
O'Brien also sends Okita Soushi, who was successful at Royal Ascot and appears to have been trained with this race in mind since. He also contested the Caulfield Cup last month, when he finished 12th of the 18 runners, and significant improvement will be needed if he is going to be competitive here.