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Internationals hard to beat, say Cup's little local 'battlers'

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Three-time winning jockey Damien Oliver knows he is up against a tough field in his 26th Melbourne Cup.

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Oliver is trying for a fourth Cup win, on the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer at Flemington today.

“It’s a tough race this year,” he said. “There’s many chances, I think, and there’s a lot of jockeys going into the race thinking they’ve got a chance to win it.

“It’s going to be a very competitive race.”

The Offer jockey Damien Oliver (right) and his son Luke are seen during the Melbourne Cup parade in Melbourne, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. The Melbourne Cup will be held on November 3. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

Damien Oliver and his son Luke at yesterday’s Melbourne Cup parade. Photo: AAP

Japanese galloper Fame Game is the short-priced favourite, but heavy support has come for English trainer Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris, the stablemate of crowd favourite and three-time runner-up Red Cadeaux.

The three are among a record-equalling 11 contenders trained overseas.

The existing record was set in the 2011 Melbourne Cup, which was won by French stayer Dunaden. Six of the first seven placings that year were filled by horses trained abroad.

Of the 24 runners this year only one, Sertorius, was bred in Australia.

“To be the only Australian-owned, Australian-bred and Australian-trained horse in the race, it’s pretty special,” trainer Jamie Edwards said.

“My wife said to me, `have a look at the wealth and racing experience that’s in this room and here we are, little battlers from Geelong’.”

Today’s race three has been renamed the JB Cummings AM Tribute Plate in honour of the legendary trainer of a record 12 Melbourne Cup winners.

There will also be a special tribute to Bart Cummings before the main event.

Blake Shinn, the last jockey to win a Melbourne Cup for Cummings, with Viewed in 2008, has the ride on Who Shot Thebarman, trained by Chris Waller, and says it is a wide-open race.

“I think the internationals are going to be very hard to beat,” Shinn said.

“You’ve got to respect the internationals – Fame Game and the English horses and Europeans – but I think my horse is probably the best local chance.”

It is expected to be partly cloudy and 22C in Melbourne, with crowd numbers tipped to nudge 100,000 – on par with last year.

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