The $400,000 Grade 1 Belmont Gold Cup scheduled to be run on Friday night could be an unlikely pointer to the 2017 Melbourne Cup with a number of runners harbouring aspirations of a trip to Melbourne this spring.
The 3200m race features some of the best American stayers in work today - although the quality of the local squad struggles when compared to a handful of touring European runners including current joint Melbourne Cup favourite Red Cardinal, trained by Andreas Wohler.
Up and coming stayer Wall Of Fire - owned by the same connections that have Exospheric, Guardini, and a host of other imports currently in work in Australia - is another major European player, along with Willie Mullins' Wicklow Brave and Clondaw Warrior.
Sir Mark Prescott's St Michel rounds out the European brigade.
Leigh Jordon of Jordon International, the man responsible for recruiting overseas contenders for the spring carnival each season, says that the Gold Cup offers not only a chance to assess some key European trained prospects, but also an opportunity to woo American stayers.
"Given the way he won in Germany last start Red Cardinal will be hard to beat but I'm barracking for Wayward Kitten," said Jordon.
"If you were going to get an American runner, one trained by Wesley Ward and owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey would be the one you want, they've wanted to come for a few years now and Wayward is a really interesting prospect."