Another possible Emirates Melbourne Cup contender emerged in France on Sunday as Alain De Royer-Dupre’s Verema followed in the footsteps of 2010 Flemington hero Americain with her triumph in the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville. The pace may have been steady resulting in a blanket finish but connections of the Aga Khan-owned four-year-old were left contemplating a Cup tilt after the filly found a burst of speed to deny Ed Dunlop’s Joshua Tree back-to-back wins in the 3010-metre Group 2.

The Kergorlay has become a rich hunting ground for Flemington-bound horses with Royer-Dupre’s Americain winning three years ago, Dunaden finishing midfield in 2011 and last year’s renewal led to Brigantin, Shahwardi and Americain all heading to the Spring Carnival.

The weekend proved to be an informative one in terms of European Cup horses with Godolphin’s Royal Empire bursting on to the scene with his defeat of Cup veteran Red Cadeaux at Newbury and then Verema staking her claim 24 hours later.

The filly, a winner of four of her 12 starts and third behind Cavalryman in the Dubai Gold Cup last March, sat just off the pace in the Kergorlay before quickening 300 metres from the wire and sealing victory from Joshua Tree by half a length.

The dawdling pace was born out with margins of a short neck, short head and a nose separating Dance Moves, Gloomy Sunday and Hammerfest in third fourth and fifth positions, with the latter sharing the spoils with Top Trip who could also make the Cup field as Francois Doumen tries to avoid soft ground in the European autumn.

The Aga Khan’s racing manger Georges Rimaud had said His Highness Prince Karim would make a decision on Verema’s suitability for Melbourne after the race, and her trainer confirmed that Melbourne is an option.

He said: “She has the potential to be a Group One filly and she may race abroad in the future. We wanted to see how she performed today butAustraliais possible and she is progressing with every run.”

Joshua Tree, in the care of Marco Botti when winning the Kergorlay last year, tried to steal the race from the front under Ryan Moore only to be denied late on and will head now for Canada and the Canadian International which he has won twice and finished runner-up during the last three years. (racingvictoria)