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The Cup could be one for the ages
Caryl Williamson
18:28 AEST Mon Nov 4 2013

It's being hailed as the best Melbourne Cup ever with the calibre of international runners, trained both locally and overseas, the highest yet.

The only thing missing is the man who has won the race more times than anyone else with the Bart Cummings-trained Precedence failing by one spot to get into the field and give the maestro a chance for a 13th Cup.

In his absence, punters are flocking to a horse trained by the second most recognisable name in Australian racing - Gai Waterhouse.

Fiorente is one of two runners for Waterhouse who has trained the runner-up three times and also sends out new acquisition Tres Blue.

Last year's runner-up to the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon, Fiorente was backed into $7 on Cup eve.

Damien Oliver rides Fiorente and says he will be thrilled if he can win for Waterhouse.

"She's done so much for racing and she hasn't been able to crack it yet, she's gone close a few times," Oliver said.

"It would be great to be part of her Melbourne Cup triumph if she was to win it."

Mount Athos, an unlucky fifth last year, is back again with his trainer Luca Cumani trying to win the race which has eluded him.

The Cumani-trained Purple Moon ran second to Efficient in 2007 and the following year Bauer went down by the narrowest of margins to the Cummings-trained Viewed.

In the heat of the moment after last year's Cup, Cumani vowed never to come back at the same time the horse's owner was already planning his return.

Palestinian refugee turned multi millionaire, Marwan Koukash, has a passion for life, horse racing and the Melbourne Cup and won't hear of Mount Athos being beaten.

"I have the best horse, I have the best weight, the best jockey on board, we tick all the boxes," Koukash said.

"Many of the people who watched last year's race would say we were the unluckiest loser.

"Provided we are not so unlucky, we will win it easy."

Mount Athos eased slightly on Monday but was still the $9 second favourite with Dandino at $11.

Sea Moon was the most fancied of Williams' six runners with Green Moon, Fawkner, Mourayan, Seville and Masked Marvel to also wear the leviathan owner's navy blue.

Like Green Moon, French horse Dunaden will be trying to win the second time, something only five horses have done.

And Dunaden's owner, Qatar's Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, is a believer.

"He loves Flemington," Sheikh Fahad said.

"So he can do it again on Tuesday. His preparation has been fantastic so we're looking forward to it."