03/11/2015 9:57 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST

Red Cadeaux Is The Melbourne Cup's Sentimental Favourite

Ryan Pierse via Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 03: A general view on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse on November 3, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images for the VRC)

The Melbourne Cup is a three minute, two mile (3200m) horse race which has held the fascination of a nation for over a century and a half.

It is the most prestigious thoroughbred horse race in Australia, the richest handicap race in the world and is widely known as 'the race that stops a nation'.

The race has a field of 24 horses and, with a $6.2 million purse, it attracts an increasing number of international runners with eleven among the starters this year -- Fame Game and Trip To Paris the ones heavily backed to win.

There will always be the outright favourites, the punter's favourites and the bookies' favourites but the most popular horse is always the sentimental favourite; the one with the story of a regional trainer or unconventional owners with an x-factor horse, or the horse that cost less than a thousand dollars at the yearling sales.

This year's emotional energy is being poured into Red Cadeaux - the horse which has become known as being always the bridesmaid but never the bride. He has placed second in the previous two years at Flemington having achieved the same placing in his first attempt in 2011.

There is also the favourite trainer and all of Australia loves a dynasty in sport. Gai Waterhouse is just that in the world of racing.

The daughter of legendary trainer TJ Smith, Gai has forged her own path and her own success, all in the public eye from a young age. This year she has two horses in the race and will be looking to emulate her long awaited success of 2013.

The front-runner this year is the Japanese contender Fame Game which even the jockeys are saying will be hard to beat, but the one thing the Melbourne Cup is known for is its unpredictability and the relatively even chance for any of the 24 to make it to the line despite the odds.

The Melbourne Cup is not just a race it is an occasion, much like the AFL Grand Final. There are early morning parties, champagne breakfasts and women spending a lot of time and money on unusual dresses, unsuitable footwear and fascinating headwear.

The weather will also play its part as every aspect of the day which may be seen to affect the race will be scrutinised.

Then again it's Melbourne, so give the weather an hour or two and it looks like this.