Mount Athos will have to defy stall 22 of 24 if he is to finally deliver Emirates Melbourne Cup glory to trainer Luca Cumani and owner Dr Marwan Koukash at Flemington on Tuesday.
Second favourite with local bookmakers after his unlucky fifth a year ago, Mount Athos will break inside two of his fellow travellers, 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux (23) and Ruscello, who earned a surprise place after winning the Lexus Stakes but is on the outside of the field.
Happier were Michael Owen and Tom Dascombe with Brown Panther (6), Marco Botti for Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino (4) and Alain de Royer-Dupre for Verema (3).
It will be slightly trickier for Jamie Spencer and former winner Dunaden in the coffin stall one, while Godolphin's Royal Empire and Willie Mullins' Simenon are alongside each other in 11 and 12 respectively.
The favourite Fiorente, formerly with Michael Stoute but now Gai Waterhouse, is in a favourable five.
"It's not a problem for me, it is for Craig Williams, but at least we won't be in the stalls too long," said Cumani.
"The horse is absolutely spot on, it just depends how the race pans out."
Ed Dunlop said of Red Cadeaux: "He doesn't owe us anything anyway, but it will be tough for him from there."
Owen, joint owner and breeder of Brown Panther, said: "It's probably an ideal draw and I can't wait for Tuesday now."