LUKE Murrell doesn't shy away from bold predictions when it comes to the Melbourne Cup.
Before the 2014 race, the co-founder and director of Hunter-based syndication company Australian Bloodstock declared of his German import Protectionist: "I think he just wins to be honest."
The Andreas Wohler-trained horse burst through the pack in the home straight before going on to win by four lengths in one of the most dominant victories seen in the 3200-metre race.
Murrell, though, is "definitely not" as confident of the Kris Lees-trained Mustajeer repeating the dose for Australian Bloodstock on Tuesday in the $8 million race at Flemington.
He believes defending champion Cross Counter, Prince Of Arran and Southern France are a class above their rivals this year.
"I just thought he was a moral that day, and couldn't get beat," Murrell said of Protectionist.
"This one, it wouldn't surprise me if he won, but I just think those three are fractionally better horses than him."
Seven-year-old Great Britain import Mustajeer was 1.8 lengths sixth in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) when first-up in Australia after his victory in the Ebor (2787m) - Europe's richest flat handicap - at York for Australian Bloodstock.
Mustajeer lost some admirers with the Caulfield run behind winner Mer De Glace, which was the equal Cup favourite on Monday at $8 with TAB Fixed Odds after drawing gate two.
A $21 chance, Mustajeer has a favourable draw in barrier six and three-time Cup winner Damien Oliver aboard.
Murrell believed the ideal draw and an expected fast tempo would increase his horse's chances.
"I think he's probably got to improve maybe three lengths to win, but probably that draw saves him one or two lengths, which makes him some hope," he said.
"I do think it will be a year like the Protectionist year, where they do go brutal, so you want to draw horses away from the speed and soft.
"I think it will be flat-out and I think that will give us more hope than some of them."