Here’s some of what you may need to know – but no guarantees that it’s helpful – ahead of the big one on Tuesday. 

Overall, the field includes nine runners trained out of Australia, and 10 of the 15 Australia-based horses are important. 

Experts are giving the lot of them some sort of chance, a genuinely rare thing for the massive field and not so often run 3200m distance. 

Set your clock to 4am if you’d like to see it live. 

(Note: Odds are the best bet at, 2am October 4)

Dunaden (Number 1, Barrier 1)  Trained by Mikel Delzangles (France). Jockey Jamie Spencer. Weight: 58.5kg

Colours: Yellow with blue stars

– Won this race in 2011

– Third time in Oz, and the last two visits won a major

– Done well in Europe this year, but mostly at 2400m 

– Only two horses with top weight have ever won the Cup, Rising Fast in 1954 and Makybe Diva in 2005.

Best odds £41

Green Moon (No 2, Barrier 10) Trained by Robert Hickmott. Jockey Brett Prebble. Weight: 57.5kg

Colours: Blue with white sleeve hoops

– Defending champion back for a second run

– Carries three more kilos than last year

– Would be just the sixth horse to win multiple Melbourne Cups

– Not a great preparation after missing the Caulfield Stakes due to an elevated temperature

Best odds: £41

Red Cadeaux (No 3, Barrier 23) Trained by Ed Dunlop (England) Jockey Gerald Mosse. Weight: 56.5kg

Colours: Blue sleeves, red and blue diamonds

– Second in 2011 and eighth in 2012

– Finished last year’s Cup really well

– Comes into the Cup fresh, which is when he’s at his best (finished second to Animal Kingdom in Dubai)

– Big weight after increases each year since 2011

Best odds: £67

Sea Moon (No 4, Barrier 7) Trained by Robert Hickmott. Jockey Steven Arnold. Weight: 56.5kg

– Lloyd Williams best hope for the Cup

– Well credentialed with a Royal Ascot win

– Won the Herbert Power over 2400m with a 59.5kg load 

– Beat Cup quinella Dunaden and Red Cadeaux at Ascot

– Question on ability to stay the distance

Best odds: £17

Brown Panther (No 5, Barrier 6) Trained by Tom Dascombe (England). Jockey Robert Kingscote. Weight: 55kg

Colours: Light blue and dark blue hat (no red, WTF?)

– Owned by football legend Michael Owen

– England’s never won a Melbourne Cup. 

– In good nick after winning the Goodwood Cup (3200m, Group 2) in August 

– A proven stayer at home

Best odds: £21

Fiorente (No 6, Barrier 5) Trained by Gai Waterhouse. Jockey Damien Oliver. Weight: 55kg

Colours: Black with purple sash

– The favourite

– Came second last year with 53.5kg and has 55kg this year

– Terrific form so far in the Spring Carnival

– No necessarily proven over the distance

– Came second last year but it was a slow race

Best odds: £8.5

Foreteller (No 7, Barrier 15) Traineed by Chris Waller. Jockey Craig Newitt. Weight: 55kg

Colours: Green with yellow star

– In top form after good runs in Cox Plate, Caulfield Stakes and the Underwood

– From France originally but ran in Sydney since 2011

– Consistent in Group Ones with wins in Ranvet and Makybe Diva Stakes

– Second to Atlantic Jewel in the Caulfield Stakes

– No form over 2000m

Best odds: £29

Dandino (No 8, Barrier 4) Trained by Marco Botti (England). Jockey Ryan Moore. Weight: 54.5kg

Colours: Yellow

– Australian owned and England trained galloper

– Second at Royal Ascot and a win in the American St Leger (2,700m)

– Could have won the Caulfield Cup but didn’t so escapes weight penalty

– Good Europe form

– May be best at 2400

Ethiopia (No 9, Barrier 14) Trained by Pat Carey. Jockey Rhys McLeod. Weight: 54.5kg

Colour: Blue and green horizontal stripes

– A rare horse without any real support

– Won the 2012 Australian Derby (2400m)

– Came fourth in 2010 Cox Plate

– Last in Melbourne Cup last year

Best odds: £81

Fawkner (No 10, Barrier 8) Trained by Robert Hickmott. Jockey Nick Hall. Weight: 54.5kg

Colours: Dark blue with white sleeve hoops, royal blue hat 

– The Caulfield Cup winner so cops an extra kilo

– Beat Cup opponents Fiorente, Hawkspur, Dear Demi and Super Cool in the Turnbull

– Not tested at 3200m

Best odds: £21

Mourayan (No 11, Barrier 19) Trained by Robert Hickmott. Jockey Brenton Avdulla. Weight: 54.5kg

Colours: Blue with red hat

– Sydney Cup winner at the same distance

– Seventh in Melbourne last year

– No problems with the distance

– May lack the speed for such a top race

Best odds: £151

Seville (No 12, Barrier 9) Trained by Robert Hickmott. Jockey Hugh Bowman. Weight: 54.5kg

Colours: Blue with yellow hat

– An impressive three-year-old in Europe 

– Second to Green Moon in Turnbull last year

– Beaten well by Fiorente and Foreteller recently

– Distance a problem also

Best odds: £19

Super Cool (No 13, Barrier 13) Trained by Mark Kavanagh, Jockey Corey Brown. Weight: 54.5kg

Colours: Blue, red and white and blue hat

– Stupid name but good weight-for-age horse

– Won the Australian Cup in the autumn as a three-year-old (1996 winner Saintly did the same and carried more weight in the Cup)

– Beaten by Foreteller in Cox Plate and Caulfield Stakes, but put about seven lengths on the same one in the Australian, so can handle 3200m

Best odds: £67

Masked Marvel (No 14, barrier 2) Trained by Robert Hickmott, Jockey Michael Rodd. Weight: 54kg

Colours: Blue with pink hat

– Can handle the distance

– Won the 2011 English St Leger

– Flopped in the Cox Plate in 13th

– Was 12 lengths back when Mount Athos (next down) beat Brown Panther for the 2012 Freer

Best odds: £34

Mount Athos (No 15, Barrier 22) Trained by Luca Cumani (England), Jockey Craig Williams. Weight: 54kg

Colours: Grey with gold star

– Unlucky not to win Melbourne Cup last year, but the slow pace hurt

– Won by nine-lengths in Ormonde at Chester

– Not brilliant form, finished behind Mount Athos in the Goodwood Cup behind Brown Panther

– Knows his way around Flemington

Best odds: £11

Royal Empire (No 16, Barrier 11) Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor (England), Jockey Kerrin McEvoy. Weight: 54kg

Colours: All blue

– Only entry from the Godolphin stable, which is still to win the bog one

– Beat Red Cadeaux in the Freer 

– May lack a turn of speed

– Best fresh and travels well

Best odds: £26

Voleuse De Coeurs (No 17, Barrier 21) Trained by Michael Moroney, Jockey James McDonald. Weight: 54kg

Colours: Blue with orange and white sleeve hoops and blue hat

– Former Irish stayer with a bit of form

– Big favourite in Limerick handicap but came second

– Won the Irish St Leger, which means lots

Best odds: 

Hawkspur (No 18, Barrier 18) Trained by Chris Waller, Jockey Jim Cassidy. Weight: 53.5kg

Colours: White with black stars on torso and hat, purple with white star sleeves

– Prepared to peak for Melbourne Cup

– Suspected of holding back in seventh at Caulfield Cup

– Aussie bred chance

– Distance and age a worry

Best odds: £17

Simenon (No 19, Barrier 12) Trained by Willie Mullins (Ireland), Jockey Richard Hughes. Weight: 53.5kg

Colours: Mostly purple

– Another Irish charge and could be the third to with the Cut

– Proven stayer

– Won twice at the 2012 Royal Ascot over 4000m and 4300m 

Best odds: £15

Ibicenco (No 20, Barrier 17) Trained by Peter Moody, Jockey Luke Nolan. Weight: 53kg

Colours: Blue and yellow horizontal stripes and whites sleeves and hat

– Won the Geelong Cup, which can be a form guide

– Geelong was lame this year

Best odds: £101

Verema (No 21, Barrier 3) Trained by Alain De Royer-Dupre (France), Jockey Christophe Lemaire. Weight: 53kg

Colours: Green with red marks on shoulders

– Comes in with wins in last two starts

– Won the Kergolay, which Americain and Dunaden won before winning the Melbourne Cup 

– Alain de Royer Dupre, he trainer, won the Melbourne Cup with Americain in 2010

– A bit unknown Down Under

Best odds: £13

Dear Demi (No 22, Barrier 16) Trained by Clarry Conners, Jockey Chris Munce. Weight: 51kg

Colours: Blue with big white cross

– Crown Oaks champion at Flemington last year

– Ran third in the Caulfield Cup

– Own John Singleton apparently wins $5m if she wins

– Light weight

Best odds: £26

Tres Blue (No 23, Barrier 20) Trained by Gai Waterhouse, Jockey Tommy Berry. Weight: 51kg

Colours: Black top with yellow hat

– A new import for Gai, much in the same circumstances as Fiorente

– Youngest in the race b about eight months

– Winning form in the Group 3 Prix De Reux and Group 2 Grand Prix De Deauville

– Carrying more weight for age than any other horse

Best odds: £26

Ruscello (No 24, Barrier 24) Trained by Ed Walker (England), Jockey Chad Schofield. Weight: 50kg

Colours: Blue and yellow horizontal stripes, white sleeves and red hat

– Won the Lexus on Saturday

– But had the bottom weight

– Likely to be outclassed

Best odds: £51

Images via Getty