MELBOURNE - English trainer Ed Dunlop and the wealthy global Godolphin stable have diverging backgrounds but have the same target heading into Tuesday's Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Both Dunlop and Godolphin are searching for their first win in Australia's famous two-mile (3200m) race after multiple attempts.
Newmarket trainer Dunlop is saddling up nine-year-old Red Cadeaux for a fourth crack at the Melbourne Cup after finishing runner-up twice.
Godolphin Racing, owned by United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and with training establishments in Dubai, Newmarket and Sydney, has been coming to Melbourne without luck since 1998.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor has prepared 19 runners in the Cup for Godolphin over 16 years, finishing second twice and third three times.
Godolphin's chances in this year's Aus$6.2 million ($5.4 million) race rest with Cavalryman and Willing Foe.
Red Cadeaux is the sentimental favourite with punters as he attempts to breakthrough at the fourth attempt.
The English galloper came within what was described as a "pixel margin" when beaten by a nose by French stayer Dunaden three years ago.
"It made me laugh, but that's racing isn't it, they don't want a dead-heat," Dunlop said of the exactness of modern technology.
Dunlop points out that bringing a horse to the other side of the world and back home again is expensive - in the order of Aus$120,000 to Aus$150,000 (S$134,641 to S$168,426) - and beyond the means of many owners.
"It means a huge amount to Ron Arculli," Dunlop said of the former chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, who first had a runner in the Melbourne Cup 20 years ago.
"It was his (Arculli's) dream to win the Melbourne Cup with Red Cadeaux, and he's kindly paid and done it four times.
"We just hope he gets a good passage, and that it's a truly run race, not a trot and a sprint." Win, lose or draw, Red Cadeaux will become the most prolific international Cup runner - Shadow King ran in six Cups in the 1930s.
Admire Rakti the favourite
Cavalryman, a French Group One winner, will be making his second appearance at the Melbourne Cup after finishing 12th in 2012, returning in tremendous form following a superb campaign in Britain and Dubai.
He finished a close fourth on his latest start in the Group Two Lonsdale Cup over two miles at York in England on August 22.
"He travelled out here well and he has been doing some very good work and I am happy with him," Bin Suroor said.
"Two miles is no problem for him and he has won on both firm and soft ground. Everything has been good so far. I think he has improved with age - he is doing very well for an eight-year-old." Godolphin's other runner, Willing Foe, was fourth on his Group One debut in the Irish St Leger over a mile and three quarters (2800m) at the Curragh, Ireland, on September 14.
"Willing Foe has been a different horse since he has arrived in Australia," Bin Suroor said.
"I really like him a lot and he is doing really well. We have had to be very patient with him in the past because he has had a few setbacks.
"We have finished second in the Melbourne Cup three times before. It is a great race and we have been trying to win it for years. We hope that we have a better chance this time." Topweight Admire Rakti is favourite as he bids to become only the second Japanese stayer to win the Melbourne Cup.
The seven-year-old stallion is the pre-post 4-1 bookies' choice after his storming to victory in the lead-up Caulfield Cup a fortnight ago.
The Tomoyuki Umeda-trained galloper will be trying to emulate Delta Blues' win over Pop Rock in an historic Japanese one-two finish in the 2006 Melbourne Cup.