Thousands of people from across Australia and overseas have lined the streets of Melbourne's CBD for the city's annual Cup parade.

Parts of the city were brought to a standstill as previous Cup-winning horses such as Might and Power, Rogan Josh, Paris Lane and Prince of Penzance were paraded down Swanston Street.

Crowds caught a glimpse of the famous trophy, and jockeys and trainers involved in tomorrow's race were cheered and applauded as they made their way from the Bourke Street mall to Federation Square.

"I've always dreamed of coming to the Cup, and now it's reality," said Irene Bryan, who travelled from Far North Queensland to be at the event.

Four women in bright outfits stare at the camera.

Spectator Lu Chen said she travelled 8,000 kilometres from the Chinese city of Shanghai to join the festivities of Melbourne's spring racing season.

A close-up shot of a lady with a yellow fascinator.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) chair Amanda Elliott said Europeans are amazed at the public support behind the race.

"Edouard De Rothschild, who is head of racing in France, said to me he cannot believe [how popular it is]," she told ABC Radio Melbourne this morning.

"They have The Arc, which many people would say is probably one of the most important races in the world, and he said, 'We would kill to have something like this'."

Shot of the parade.

The parade made the short journey to Federation Square under heavy skies, which brought light showers and humid conditions.

Up to 25 millimetres of rain is forecast to fall overnight, and thunderstorms are possible, but the Bureau of Meteorology said therainbandshould clear by late tomorrow morning.

The horse with two minders.

"We have the bureau on speed dial at the moment, and the most recent update from not long ago is it's looking a bit better for tomorrow," VRC chief executive Neil Wilson said.

"By hopefully mid-morning we'll have a clear day and a great afternoon with the running of the Melbourne Cup."

Looking down Bourke St mall, with cars parked in a line before parade.

Despite the rain, some trainers have called for the track — which one labelled as "ridiculously firm" — to be made wetter.

But Mr Wilson rejected those calls, and said the rail will be brought out two metres from its "true" position to provide the "best and fairest" conditions.

"The track is within the guidelines that we're given by Racing Victoria and I think tomorrow the track will be very appropriate for the race," he said.

Four women standing behind barrier, staring and smiling at camera.

Sue Gregan watched the procession with a group of her friends, who had travelled with her on a cruise ship from Sydney to Melbourne to be at the Cup.

And they had already decided which horse to back: "we're on Runaway — we've runaway!"

Protestors holding signs against horse racing.

Protestors claiming to be "a voice for the racehorses" are also an annual feature at the parade.

"There's a very dark side to the racing industry," the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses' Elio Celotto said.

He said thousands of retired racehorses may be put down each year, either turned into dog meat or exported for human consumption overseas.

He also questioned the treatment of the animals while they are alive.

A day out from the race, Yucatan remains the punters' favourite, despite his unfavourable barrier draw.

A win for the Irish stallion would deliver owner Lloyd Williams a hat-trick of Cup triumphs — following wins by Rekindling last year and Almandin in 2016 — and would be Williams' seventh cup overall.

Other horses attracting big money include Magic Circle — another Irish-bred stayer, ridden by last year's winning jockey, Corey Brown, and Cross Counter — a four-year-old British-bred gelding with four wins from seven starts.

Of the four locally-bred horses, only Youngstar — a mare with almost $800,000 in prize money to her name — seems a realistic chance of success.

By contrast, Ace High, Sir Charles Road, Runaway have some of the longest odds in the field besides their names.

Original Article