GAI Waterhouse - the queen of Australian racing - looks set to chase her first Jayco Bendigo Cup win on Wednesday.
Nominations for the $240,000 Listed event were taken yesterday, with the Waterhouse-trained duo Hippopus and Vaquera in a list of 30 entries.
Waterhouse is no stranger to Bendigo, having trained Western Symbol to a third placing behind Tanby in the 2011 Bendigo Cup.
She also had a fifth-placing with Clonmel in the 2001 Cup.
With the higher-rated horses in the Cup entries unlikely to run, this year's race could be a perfect springboard for an up-and-coming stayer.
That's where Hippopus and Vaquera fit in.
Hippopus ran fifth behind It's A Dundeel in this year's ATC Derby before dominating the VRC St Leger, while Vaquera ran third in the Group One Queensland Oaks.
The Lloyd Williams-raced Mourayan is the highest-rated horse in the Cup nominations, but he won't be in the final field.
His stablemate Tanby, the Peter Moody-trained Sneak A Peek and in-form Gotta Take Care are among the Bendigo Cup entries, but are more likely to run in Saturday's Moonee Valley Cup (2500m).
The strength and depth of the Bendigo Cup field could hinge on the decision making of Peter Moody, Ciaron Maher and Dan O'Sullivan.
The Moody-trained Kesampour, Maher-trained duo Moudre and Mr O'Ceirin and O'Sullivan-trained Tuscan Fire remain in the mix for the Melbourne Cup.
A win in the Bendigo Cup and subsequent penalty may not be enough to get one of that trio into the Melbourne Cup field.
However, the winner of the Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Saturday week is guaranteed a berth in the Melbourne Cup.
The final field for the Bendigo Cup will be announced on Monday.