Australian horse Fawkner has found some late support amid the big foreign field chasing the Melbourne Cup.
But even the jockeys riding the other horses in the race are still talking up Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti.
The Japanese raider’s name was on the lips of those best placed to know ahead of Tuesday’s big race.
On stage in Melbourne’s Federation Square, after the annual Cup parade through the city on Monday, champion jockey Glen Boss told the watching crowds Admire Rakti “could probably win by four lengths”.
James Cummings, who has prepared Precedence with his Cups King grandfather Bart, also picked the Japanese horse.
Leading trainer Darren Weir, however, named Fawkner, despite the fact his own runner, Signoff, is more favoured by the bookmakers.
Fawkner has also found late support among punters, perhaps urged on by owner Nick Williams who called on the nation to get behind the “Australian-owned, Australian-reared and Australian-trained” seven-year-old.
Worries about foreign domination of Australia’s richest race will be forgotten, however, when an expected 100,000 people flock to Flemington for the 154th running of the Cup.
Melbourne will be bathed in 29C of spring sunshine on race day, a welcome change from gusting winds and 13C chills that made Derby Day a misery for many lightly dressed racegoers.
Punters be warned, however: strong winds are expected to hit about 5pm.
As always there will be as much attention directed off-track as on, as celebrities flock to the lavish marquees in the Birdcage.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances will be rubbing shoulders with Bold and the Beautiful actor Ron Moss, Bachelor star Sam Frost, and Geoffrey Edelsten and Gabi Grecko in the Emirates marquee.
Eighties pop superstars Spandau Ballet will be in attendance, while another old-ish band, The Rolling Stones, have been rumoured to be surprise guests.
The Stones are in Melbourne for a gig and guitarist Ronnie Wood’s son Tyrone will be a guest in the Lavazza marquee.
On the track, household heroes are thin on the ground but the race still has record-making potential.
An unprecedented 11 international horses are in the field of 23. Included in one of the oldest fields ever are a record four nine-year-olds.
No nine-year-old has won the Cup, but English warhorse Red Cadeaux is given some chance after twice running second.
Precedence is another of the old-timers, and while the odds are against the Cummings horse, James hasn’t given up hope the stayer will give his grandfather Cup number 13.
“Who knows, stranger things have happened,” he said.