The last of training partners Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s four runners to make the Melbourne Cup field has emerged as the bookmakers’ pick of the quartet.
Floating Artist scraped into Australia’s greatest race at the entry deadline and the UK import shares the fifth line of betting as a $16 chance.
He will be one of the lightweight threats with 50kg, giving stable apprentice Teo Nugent his first Melbourne Cup ride.
Floating Artist is in his first Australian campaign after winning twice in 10 starts in England under Richard Hannon.
A six-year-old, Floating Artist has been an instant success for Saturday’s Victoria Derby-winning stable with three victories to go alongside two placings at stakes level.
The most recent of those placings came in a desperately unlucky defeat in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
Eustace expects Floating Artist to run well on Tuesday but is loathe to single one stablemate out over another.
“To be honest, and I know it’s fence-sitting, but you can make a case for all four of them,” Eustace told RSN.
Maher and Eustace will match Chris Waller’s representation of four runners with Persan, Grand Promenade and multiple Derby winner Explosive Jack also lining up.
Persan ran fifth in last year’s race but is a $41 chance despite finishing third to Incentivise in the Caulfield Cup last month.
Incentivise has been a short-priced Melbourne Cup favourite since his crushing win at Caulfield as he chases a rare double in Australian racing.
Standing in Incentivise’s way will be a leaner but nevertheless worthy international challenge.
In a representation well down on recent editions, two overseas-trained horses are left to take on Incentivise – last year’s winner Twilight Payment and the well-credentialled Spanish Mission.
The Cup is expected to run on a good surface with temperatures forecast to reach 30 degrees on Tuesday.