The absence of Black Caviar has Atlantic Jewel's trainer Mark Kavanagh happy that all eyes will be on his unbeaten mare this spring carnival.
"She is an exciting horse and we are hoping she will continue on her winning ways, judging by the turnout today she will be in for plenty of attention," Kavanagh said at a media parade for Atlantic Jewel on Tuesday.
Kavanagh confirmed that the Cox Plate would be Atlantic Jewel's key aim.
She is the $4 favourite with TAB Sportsbet.
"She is a winner at her only start at Moonee Valley and she is a winner over 2000m, so that does look the logical aim," he said. "The programming has not been locked in stone yet. I am going to sit down with the Coolmore boys [owners] on Sunday night and we will map something out."
Atlantic Jewel is likely to resume against her own sex in the group three Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 18.
Kavanagh has also entered Atlantic Jewel and comeback galloper December Draw in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate. December Draw was favourite in last year's Caulfield Cup but suffered a leg fracture in the race and has not run since.
Atlantic Jewel is $17 for the Caulfield Cup, with December Draw $21 for the Caulfield Cup and $34 for the Cox Plate with Betstar.
* While Victorian trainer Anthony Freedman has lost Lucas Cranach for the spring, stablemate and Cups hopeful Mawingo continues to make good progress towards his seasonal return.
The Doomben Cup winner is scheduled to have a barrier trial in the coming weeks with the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 9 his likely first-up target.
Freedman confirmed the Caulfield Cup as a goal for Mawingo and said his performance in that would determine whether the Melbourne Cup became a realistic target.
"I think he is certainly a Caulfield Cup horse," Freedman said.
"We will know more after that."
Freedman's Argentine import Val Champ is also close to making his local debut.
"I'm just getting to know him. He'll trial at Cranbourne on Tuesday," Freedman said.
"He will probably kick off on Memsie Day in either the Memsie or a 1400m race on the same day."
The group two Memsie Stakes (1400m) is at Caulfield on September 1.
After the injury to Lucas Cranach, TAB Sportsbet had Americain, Ibicenco and Red Cadeaux as $21 equal favourites for the Melbourne Cup.
Mawingo and Val Champ were on the second line of betting at $26 apiece.
* The raiders, led by the French, have conquered the Melbourne Cup and now they have their sights on the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.
That was the message after the release yesterday of Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate entries, according to the Herald Sun.
Overseas interest is up, a trend expected to continue when Melbourne Cup entries are released on September 4. Of the 222 Caulfield Cup entries, 25 are from overseas, compared with 22 last year.
French horses have won the past two Melbourne Cups and eight French horses have been entered for the Caulfield Cup.
Overseas Cox Plate nominations are up on last year - 13 to 18 - and there is expected to be an international presence in what is shaping up as the strongest Plate in years, boosted by local entries Atlantic Jewel, Pierro and Mosheen.
Racing Victoria international scout Leigh Jordon was confident an all-expenses-paid invitation would lure Dubai World Cup placegetter Planteur and French Derby winner Reliable Man.
There were no international runners in last year's Cox Plate.
Jordon said poor prizemoney in Europe and the healthy Australian dollar would lead to an increase in overseas runners this spring, not just in the three major races but also a string of other races with big prizemoney.
He said the key overseas Caulfield Cup entries were last year's Melbourne Cup one-two, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux, and 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain, who has returned to France where he may not race before heading to Melbourne.