The Caulfield Cup dream is over for Tasmanian trainer Walter McShane who has confirmed Norsqui will return home after a lacklustre performance in Saturday's Bart Cummings.
Norsqui's Mornington Cup win in February guaranteed him a start in the Caulfield Cup but his seventh of 10 runners in Saturday's Listed event at Flemington convinced McShane he was not ready for the big race.
McShane told Racing Victoria the horse would be sent for a spell.
"It looks like the end of the run for him," McShane said.
"I'm bringing him back to Tasmania. I'm not pressing on. The horse is flat and has come to the end of his preparation."
The jostling for positions in the Cup field has been made a little easier with Norsqui's withdrawal, the retirement of Efficient, injury to Lamasery and a three-month ban for Polish Knight who bled at Randwick on Saturday.
Three horses can gain automatic entry into the Cup next Saturday with the winners of the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m), Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and Toorak Handicap (1600m) exempt from ballot.
Among those on show in the Group Two Herbert Power will be French horse Shahwardi who will be put through his paces by Kerrin McEvoy at the Werribee quarantine compound on Monday.
Trained by Alain de Royer Dupre, Shahwardi will be among the first of the visiting international brigade to race in Australia this spring when he goes to Caulfield on Saturday.
Gatewood is also scheduled to run in the Herbert Power with Ibecenco also a possible starter.
Shahwardi goes into the race off a third in the Group Two Prix de Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville in August.
The favourite for the Caulfield Cup is the Gai Waterhouse-trained import Glencadam Gold who racked up his fourth win from four Australian starts in Saturday's Metropolitan at Randwick.
A penalty for that win will be announced on Monday ahead of the next Caulfield Cup declaration stage a day later.