There is just three weeks to go until the race that stops a nation and punters are searching for the horse which will be the first past the post in the country's most coveted event.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup is a wide open market and once again the international contenders are featuring prominently in the early markets.
German galloper Protectionist is currently the $8.00 favourite ahead of The Offer ($11) with Sportingbet after his eye catching fourth behind Big Memory in the Group 2 Herbert Power Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Andreas Wohler- trained 5-year-old was having his first start in Australia and settled midfield for most of the 2400m race. The son of Monsun, the sire of last year's Cup winner Fiorente, took a while to quicken when the field began to sprint at the 600 but responded well in the straight to finish just off the money.
A winner of four of his nine race starts, Protectionist made the trek down under with some excellent form to his name. He had never missed a place before Saturday and his two most recent runs had both resulted in victories at Group 2 level.
But Protectionist isn't the only international raider aiming to seize the trophy on the first Tuesday in November. Japanese stars Bande and Admire Rakti both loom as ominous threats and the market reflects that with Sportingbet offering odds of $12 and $13 respectively.
All eyes will be on the pair this coming Saturday when they both contest the Caulfield Cup and chances are that those odds may be slashed after the race if they perform up to expectations.
Bande, an on-pace stayer, should be suited by the tight Caulfield circuit and is currently the $10 second elect with Sportingbet behind the in-form Lucia Valentina ($4.60) going into this Saturday's feature.
Being a horse perhaps more suited to two miles, Admire Rakti is showing odds of $13 at Sportingbet to take out the Caulfield Cup. However the Tomoyuki Umeda- prepared horse cannot be discounted, having finished fourth in the Group 1 Japan Cup over the same trip four starts back.
English stayer Dandino, runner-up in the 2013 Caulfield Cup, is currently the equal third elect with Rising Romance to take out the 2014 running. The eight-year-old has only had four starts since leaving Aussie shores following his fifth in last year's Melbourne Cup, with his last start run being a fourth in the Group 3 September Stakes at Kempton. Dandino is also in contention for this year's Melbourne Cup and is currently rated a $15 chance at Sportingbet.