Lucia Valentina remains the firm favourite for the Caulfield Cup after drawing barrier 12 in the field of 18 plus four emergencies.
The Kris Lees-trained mare, a last-start winner of the Turnbull Stakes, will move in two places on Saturday if the reserves drawn inside her fail to get a start.
She is at $4.40 for the Cup (2400m) with Japanese horses Bande (barrier 10) and Admire Rakti (8) at $8.50 and $10 respectively.
The draw was unkind to another international visitor, Dandino, with last year’s runner-up to start from the outside gate.
Dandino’s jockey Craig Williams said the barrier was something he would have to overcome but takes great confidence out of how the horse is progressing.
“I would rather have a bad barrier draw with a horse that’s going really well than have a great barrier draw with a horse that can’t win the race,” Williams said.
“I’m very confident in the horse going in there. Of course we’re going to need a lot of luck, and we start planning from here.”
Williams won the Caulfield Cup with Dunaden from the outside gate two years ago and was second on Dandino from a wide draw last year.
Sydney Cup winner, the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer, fared badly with barrier 19 while Dandino’s Marco Botti-trained stablemate Seismos will start from the inside alley.
Lucia Valentina will be ridden by a confident Kerrin McEvoy who won the 2008 Caulfield Cup aboard Godolphin outsider All The Good.
“I’ve never been into the Caulfield Cup on the back of a favourite,” McEvoy said.
“I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at. It definitely helps going into Saturday.”
English mare My Ambivalent was withdrawn on Tuesday morning with a stone bruise paving the way for the Peter Moody-trained Lidari to gain a start.
He will jump from barrier four and is a $15 chance as is last year’s third placegetter Dear Demi who has gate 13.
Dear Demi’s trainer Clarry Conners was a little disappointed but happy with the John Singleton-owned mare.
“She will come into 11 possibly if the emergencies don’t start,” he said.
“She is going better than she was last year and is crying out for 2400 metres.”
Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller has four runners had mixed fortunes with his team with Hawkspur drawing nine, Junoob 15, Who Shot Thebarman 16 and Moriarty 7.