There's been plenty of talk this week about how hard it is for battling owners and trainers to get horses into the Melbourne Cup these days, what with all the competition from Irish billionaires and petro-dollar-fuelled Arab potentates, not to mention an increasing number of cashed-up Australian syndicators and owners splashing huge sums for proven European stayers.
And, it must be said, there is a ring of truth to the complaint. These days it takes a rating of 100-plus to get into the Cups, and few ''Aussie battlers" get those sort of horses in their stable.
As would-be Cup contestants go, they don't come more old style than trainer Danny Laws, who has a handful of horses in a yard at Kilmore, which he runs in conjunction with operating a produce business.
But despite all the obstacles, Laws is living the Cup dream this spring, and is hoping that his locally bred mare Tiffany's Lass can take another step towards securing an unlikely Melbourne Cup spot when she contests the opening 2500-metre race at Flemington on Saturday.
Tiffany's Lass gave Laws what he said was the biggest thrill of his racing life when she won at The Valley in August, and while he admits that aiming her at a Cup berth might seem fanciful it's worth a try: he might never get another horse to give him a similar chance.