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Boom time for raiders in 'race that stops a nation'

BACK in 1993, Dermot Weld broke new ground when he became the first Irish trainer to win the Melbourne Cup in its 133-year history.

Weld was also the first from outside Australasia to do so.

Weld won it for a second time in 2002 and French-trained runners have also won it twice.

Once all go to post without any problems tomorrow, the nine Europeans running in the race will bring it to 110 international horses that have competed in the race since 1993.

It is a horse race like no other. In Melbourne, it is cause for a public holiday on the day of the race, while, on the day before, a parade sees over 100,000 people line the streets as the famous Melbourne Cup is showcased along with connections of the 24 horses who chase it and many more significant others.

A crowd of over 95,000 attended Derby Day at Flemington on Saturday, a raceday full of high-class Group races, and is described as "a day for the purists", but over 100,000 will be at Flemington Park tomorrow for 'the race that stops a nation'.

You will barely get a hello in Melbourne before you are asked: "What do you fancy to win the Cup?"

It really is the question that is on everybody's lips and the subject in the forefront of many minds.



In racing terms, it is just a handicap, but not just any handicap.

Albeit with seven more runners, tomorrow's field will feature 13 individual Group One winners compared to the 11 that raced in this year's Prix de l'Arc de Troimphe, which is Europe's premier race.

Since 1993, Dermot Weld is widely recognised as having saved the race and 2013 is described as the best renewal yet.

The question is whether another international winner will mark Weld's 20-year anniversary.

Could an Irish winner do it?