A second Melbourne Cup was 13,000 kilometres away for French trainer Mikel Delzangles on Sunday.
A day later he could almost touch the trophy and by Tuesday he believes his horse Dunaden will make sure he again gets his hands on it.
Delzangles arrived in Melbourne on Cup eve after training a winner at the rich Breeders’ Cup meeting in California.
“The Melbourne Cup seemed a long way off when I was at Santa Anita,” Delzangles said.
“But now I am in Melbourne I can get the feel again for the race.”
Delzangles was at Werribee to oversee Dunaden’s final Cup workout on Monday and left the track satisfied the horse could deliver in the same style he did last year.
“I’m sure he has improved since he won the Caulfield Cup, but it is hard to say how much,” he said.
“He looks well and happy, he’s moving nicely and Craig (Williams) is very happy with his work.”
Dunaden is handicapped to carry 4.5kg more than he did when he won last year’s Cup, an obstacle his trainer believes will be a secondary issue.
The main concern, Delzangles says, is Dunaden’s French compatriot Americain.
“Especially if it rains. Americain will be very difficult if the track is soft,” he said.
“Dunaden doesn’t mind if it is soft or firm, but some of the others will like it better if it rains.”
It is the third trip in three weeks Delzangles has made to Melbourne, coming from France for the first two and staying only 24 hours on each occasion.
But this time he is planning to be around at least long enough for a victory party.