The race that shapes the Melbourne Cup is run this weekend - not at Caulfield or Rosehill or in New Zealand - but in the French seaside resort of Deauville.
The Group Two Prix Kergorlay (3000m) has provided Melbourne Cup clues for more than a decade.
But more recently it has been the launching pad for the past two Melbourne Cup champions and in 2011 provided the first two across the line, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux, as well as the fourth and fifth finishers.
This year's Kergorlay is run on Sunday night (AEST) and will feature the return to racing of the French 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain.
Among the other nine runners are the likely cup entrants Vadamar, trained by Mikel Delzangles who prepared Dunaden, Shahwardi, Tres Rock Danon and Miss Lago.
Last year's Kergorlay ranked as one of the strongest Melbourne Cup form races ever run, producing not only the first two, but fourth placegetter Americain and the fifth horse home, Manighar.
The Kergorlay will be Americain's first start since returning to his French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, who has overseen his two Melbourne Cup campaigns.
Co-owner Colleen Bamford said de Royer-Dupre had done a great job to have the horse ready to run in a race that has been vital to his past two Cup preparations.
"We were hoping he'd be ready for the Kergorlay and Alain did too, but in the beginning we weren't sure whether we'd get there," Bamford said.
Americain is back with de Royer-Dupre after a luckless three-run autumn campaign with David Hayes.
It is possible that Americain won't have another run before returning to Melbourne.
In other weekend racing in Europe, Luca Cumani's top Cup hope Mount Athos runs in the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2600m) at Newbury and another likely English contender Crackerjack King runs in the Group One Arlington Million in Chicago.
The Australian-owned Jakkalberry will run in the American St Leger on the Arlington program.
The first international runners arrive for the Melbourne spring carnival on September 13.