Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien has joined the chorus of concern over the annual invasion of European horses, declaring no Australian runner can win the Melbourne Cup until they are treated as favourably as the internationals.
O'Brien has adopted an attitude of "if you can't beat them, join them", buying a share in the ownership of French galloper Prairie Star and taking over the horse's training.
But the experience of training Prairie Star from the Werribee quarantine centre has only confirmed his view.
"There won't be an Australian horse win the Melbourne Cup while they have to be trained on Pro-Ride tracks and gallop at four (o'clock) in the morning," O'Brien said.
"The horses out here at Werribee have the whole racetrack to themselves, one groom for every horse and they can do it all at their leisure."
O'Brien acknowledges that every trainer with a Cup prospect can't come to Werribee and, likewise, the quarantine regulations have to be observed.
But he believes racing administrators could give Cup entrants more use of the course proper at major training centres like Flemington.
"There are vast strips of ground at Flemington that never get a hoof on them," he said.
Prairie Star has certainly benefited from the Werribee facilities, but O'Brien said he was likely to dodge the major Cups and target a lesser spring goal, possibly the Coongy Handicap (2000m) on Saturday week.
O'Brien travelled to France to see Prairie Star's final run in Europe and admits he was unimpressed with both the horse and its performance.
"He didn't look much good over there and was very light and plain when he arrived ... he didn't look good," he said.
"But we've put him on an Australian diet and given him some Australian training and he's put on 25 kilos."
Prairie Star is likely to accompany 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain to Caulfield for a gallop on Saturday morning.