Galileo's Choice: the winning hurdler is out to give Dermot Weld a third winPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Weld hoping for rain for Galileo's in Melbourne
Preview: Australia, Tuesday 4am GMT (live on ATR)
Flemington: Emirates Melbourne Cup (Group 1 hcap) 2m, turf, 3yo+
DERMOT WELD, who set the ball rolling for European visitors in the Emirates Melbourne Cup, is hoping for rain for Galileo's Choice, who will attempt to become the trainer's third winner after Vintage Crop (1993) and Media Puzzle (2002).
Weld, who is making his tenth visit to Melbourne altogether, made his debut this year at the Werribee International Horse Centre on Monday after flying in from the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.
He has also visited Flemington to assess track conditions before Tuesday's A$6.2 million (£4m) feature - and was satisfied with what he found.
"I think it is in the best condition I've seen it in 20 years," Weld said, speaking to AAP Racing. "The track is in superb order and should be suitable for every horse. It's firmer than I'd like, but you never know, we might get a spot of rain."
Galileo's Choice (Pat Smullen) is one of eight European-trained runners in a Cup the locals have virtually given up any hope of winning this time around.
"He had a problem with transit fever when he first arrived but he was able to be treated and got over it very quickly," Weld added. "He has improved every week he's been here and I'm delighted with the horse. He is a very talented galloper, more of a Media Puzzle-sort of horse who will represent us very well."
Mikel Delzangles, the trainer of Dunaden (Craig Williams) has also just returned to Melbourne from the Breeders' Cup.
"If he can get the same sort of run he had last year he will be in the finish," Delzangles said. "I'm confident that he has improved from the Caulfield Cup."
However, both Red Cadeaux (Ed Dunlop/Michael Rodd) and 2010 winner Americain (Alain de Royer-Dupre/Damien Oliver) have a big pull at the weights with Dunaden after finishing second and fourth in last year's race.
After seven years of trying, Luca Cumani is convinced he has assembled his strongest-ever Melbourne team with Mount Athos (Ryan Moore) and stablemate My Quest For Peace (Corey Brown).
"I've been coming here for seven years now and it definitely gets stronger every year," said Cumani.
"Some of the horses I came with in the early years would not make the cut now, but I think these are the two strongest horses I've brought here. They both look well and I'm pleased with the way they've been training."
Jakkalberry (Marco Botti/Colm O'Donoghue) and Godolphin's Cavalryman (Saeed Bin Suroor/Frankie Dettori) complete the British quintet attempting to break the nation's Cup duck.
The home team features a pair of horses trained by legendary Cups King Bart Cummings, two more running for Sydney queen Gai Waterhouse and a couple for Black Caviar's trainer Peter Moody, top dog in Melbourne.
Such is the dearth of domestic staying talent that the majority of Cup runners saddled by Australian trainers also started their careers in Europe, notably the Waterhouse pair, the former Sir Michael Stoute-trained Fiorente (wears first-time blinkers) and Glencadam Gold, once with Sir Henry Cecil.
The Rob Hickmott-trained Green Moon, who started life with Harry Dunlop, is another familiar name while even bottomweight Kelinni, who squeezed into the field by beating Gatewood in Saturday's Lexus Stakes, was a Wolverhampton maiden winner for Amanda Perrett.