Red Cadeaux loses out narrowly to Fiorente in the 2013 Melbourne Cup. Photo: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images
Trainer Ed Dunlop believes that after watching his now world famous stayer Red Cadeaux go through his paces for his return to racing in England on Saturday, a fourth Melbourne Cup attempt is an attainable target.
But he will carefully monitor every step the grand nine-year-old takes before committing to another voyage to Australia.
Dunlop says the decorated English stayer continues to gather fans as he crosses the globe to contest the biggest races.
Red Cadeaux will have his first start from a lengthy beak in Saturday's GeoffreyFreer stakes (2670 metres) at Newbury, a race that will give Dunlop a valuable insight into how the stayer is progressing for another world trip.
The nine-year-old has twice been runner-up in Australia's greatest race - to Dunaden, when he lost by the narrowest margin possible in 2011, and to Fiorente last year. In 2012 he finished an unlucky eighth to Green Moon.
"He's won £4 million ($6.2 million) in prizemoney and more than half of it has been won outside of England,'' Dunlop said. "I'm looking at him now; he looks great, and of course you can't take a line through his trip to Japan because he just resented those hard tracks - they were like roads.
"Saturday's race is important but he owes us nothing. He's taken us around the world four times and brought millions of dollars home.
"The owner is committed, the trainer is committed and we've got [jockey] Gerald Mosse flying in and excited, so we're just going to wait and see, but we are in a good space. And yes, he does have a great attitude to travel - he thrives on it.''
Dunlop said Red Cadeaux would only come to Australia if he was "on top of his game'', stressing no risks would be taken with the veteran stayer.
Dunlop says the two seconds in the Melbourne Cup were naturally disappointing, but the prizemoney helped ease the disappointment.
"He went to Dubai and brought home $2 million [when second in the $A10 million World Cup], and his two seconds in Melbourne cups netted a lot of money.
"He's back from a very nice, long holiday, and this weekend what he does at the races will help us make up our minds about his short-term future.
"His work here at home has been good and he's showing all those signs of enjoying his racing, so if everything comes together we'll be there on Melbourne Cup day.''
With another strong batch of stayers from around the world poised to make the trip for the $6 million Cup, Dunlop says he's under no illusion that Australia's flagship race will not be easy to win.
"Well, I'm coming from a situation of being beaten in two close finishes. And I think he's a horse that has amazing resilience and enjoys being on the road travelling the world. Let's hope he's still in that frame of mind later this year.
"Saturday's group race won't be easy, but we really can't get a handle on it until we go through the form and see what we are up against.''