JOHNNY MURTAGH'S York Ebor winner Mutual Regard looks all but certain to make the line-up for this year's Emirates Melbourne Cup after the order of entry was revealed this morning.
The Andrew Tinkler owned five-year-old entered the first batch of European quarantine about a fortnight ago and it now looks like connections can opt to go straight for the 'race that stops a nation' rather than run in one of the automatic entry races.
A field of 24 are allowed to run in the Emirates Melbourne Cup and Mutual Regard is currently number 27 with the likes of Estimate and Murtagh's other entry Royal Diamond both ahead of Mutual Regard and are unlikely runners.
Dermot Weld is yet to make a decision on the participation of his entry Pale Mimosa but should Dr Ronan Lambe's Lonsdale Cup winner make the trip she too would be assured of a run as she is currently number 12 in the order of entry.
Winners of certain races at the Melbourne Spring Carnival get an automatic entry into the Melbourne Cup so those horses further down the list will be looking to be exempt from the ballot by winning any one of the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, Mackinnon Stakes or the Lexus Stakes.
Last year's winning trainer Gai Waterhouse looks set to be represented in the race by The Offer who is the current antepost market leader in Australia and will run tomorrow in the Group One Underwood Stakes at Caulfield.
Other European horses of interest that are safely making the cut are Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux who was twice runner up in the race (2011 and 2013) and will become the first horse outside Australia to run in the race four times.
Godolphin's Cavalryman, the Marco Botti trained pair of Dandino and Seismos and Roger Varian's Irish Pretty Polly Stakes winner Ambivalent are all assured of their place in the line up.
Michael Stoute's Hillstar is currently number of 23 on the list while other European's that will borderline to make the cut are John Gosden's Gatewood and Saeed Bin Suroor's Willing Foe.