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You couldn’t wipe the smile off the face of Godolphin’s chief executive as he walked the Melbourne Cup parade route in the city centre – and it’s easy to see why.

John Ferguson runs the global operation for Sheikh Mohammed who has been trying to win the race for almost two decades.

This year Godolphin has five runners in the $6.2 million race and two head the market.

“We’ve had runners in Kentucky, the Derby, and the classics all over the world and there’s nothing like the Melbourne Cup,” Ferguson told AAP on Monday.

“They talk about it as the race that stops the nation – it’s not. Now, in racing terms and sporting terms, it’s the race that stops the world.”

Outright favourite Hartnell is trained by John O’Shea in Australia and is being ridden by jockey James McDonald.

Despite the odds McDonald insists he isn’t daunted being aboard Hartnell.

“I’d rather be in that position than riding a 50-1 horse,” he said.

“He’s the right horse to run in the Melbourne Cup and his form has been fantastic.”

The other big chance for Godolphin is five-year-old gelding Oceanographer.

Trained in England by Charlie Appleby the horse won the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day coming from the back of the field to take the race in the last 400 metres.

Thousands lined Melbourne’s streets on Monday to support the trainers and jockeys ahead of the big race.

Looking to follow in the footsteps of 2015 winner Michelle Payne is Katelyn Mallyon – the only female jockey in the Cup this year.

Her family was in the crowd cheering her on.

“She’s a good jockey … nice, kind,” her 11-year-old cousin Bryce Skelton said.

The annual Cup parade draws people from all walks of life and across the country.

Champion horses were on show including former winners Might and Power, Rogan Josh, Brew and Efficient.

More than 100,000 people are set to head to Flemington racecourse on Tuesday for the 156th Melbourne Cup.

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