This is a Melbourne Cup of two very distinctive camps which might leave punters with one vital question.
Which European horse should you back?
Of course it may not be that simple, but the markets suggest it will be with 14 horses either trained or formerly trained in Europe against 10 locals, including one Kiwi in The Chosen One at Flemington today.
Locals, being New Zealand or Australian horses, can still foot it with their Northern Hemisphere rivals; as witnessed last year when Vow And Declare won and in 2015 when Kiwi-bred Prince of Penzance created history for female jockey Michelle Payne.
However, parochialism aside, the last decade has belonged to the European horses, be it either imports trained in Australia or those on hit-and-run missions.
Americain started it in 2010, followed by Dunaden, Green Moon, Fiorente and Protectionist; before Prince Of Penzance held off the raiders and then the next three Cups went north with Almandin and Rekinding and Cross Counter.
The reality is Europe and Japan (who are absent this year) breed the best stayers in the world, so the Europeans not only have sheer class and 250 years of breeding stayers on their side, today they also have the numbers.
"Our" horses won't be pushovers, as Verry Elleegant showed in the Caulfield Cup. There is no coincidence she is by New Zealand stallion Zed, himself a son of the mighty Zabeel who was the last colonial stallion to be a powerful Melbourne Cup producing force.
With Zabeel and his magnificent father Sir Tristram long gone, it has become increasingly harder for the locals to fight off the northern hoards, especially as they are now sending English Derby winners like Anthony Van Dyck south.
The latter is almost certainly the best horse in today's $NZ8.23m Cup, but with that title comes a 58.5kg top-weight and, as talented as the Europeans are, carrying anything like that weight has proven beyond them.
The blue print for European-based Melbourne Cup winners has become more refined in recent years and the last three have all carried very light weights (51-52kgs) and been relatively lightly raced.
The horse who mirrors that today is Tiger Moth, although he takes being lightly-raced to a whole new level having only had four career starts.
The last of those was at Leopardstown, in Ireland, in September when he sprinted like a Melbourne Cup winner in the group three Kilternan Stakes over 2400m.
The win impressed Kerrin McEvoy so much he rang champion trainer Aidan O'Brien and asked for the Melbourne Cup ride, hoping to win his fourth at Flemington.
"I got Aidan's number from a friend of mine and rang him and asked for the ride on Tiger Moth because I thought it was the right horse after his last win in September," McEvoy told media.
"I don't usually get on the front foot like that with Coolmore, but they got back to me a couple of days later and said they were happy for me to ride Tiger Moth. It was nice to get on the horse I wanted to ride.
"I really like this fella. I felt he should have won the Irish Derby [where he was a closing second] and his last-start win against older horses was a dominant win. I thought it showed he will step up to the plate in the Cup."
The biggest problem for Tiger Moth is his wide draw (23) but McEvoy has overcome those in his last two Cup wins from barriers 19 and 17, undoubtedly helped by the light weights.
So Tiger Moth can give O'Brien his first win in Australia's greatest race, but if he can't there will still be plenty of fellow Europeans to tilt the scales in their favour.
Sir Dragonet was brilliant in the Cox Plate, although might not be suited to a firmer Flemington today, while Master Of Reality was huge in this race last year and there is distance-racing depth right across their attack.
But if the firm track, which looks their biggest danger, trips up the Europeans then Verry Elleegant and Surprise Baby have Cup credentials. Finche will love being back at Flemington for James McDonald while Russian Camelot has the ability but his manners could be a thorn in his side.
Just a few months ago there were fears Covid would close the borders to travelling horses and the Melbourne Cup may go retro, Aussies versus Kiwis as it was for decades.
It is great for racing that didn't happen. But at around 5.05pm tonight the connections of the local horses and punters who bet against the raiders may wish it had.
MELBOURNE CUP PICKS
1: Tiger Moth
2: Master Of Reality
3: Verry Elleegant
4: Sir Dragonet