Marmelo’s bet­ter pre­pared this time

Stanthorpe Border Post - - SPORT -

MARMELO started last year’s Mel­bourne Cup as one of the top picks and didn’t live up to ex­pec­ta­tions in fin­ish­ing ninth, but trainer Hughie Mor­ri­son and the horse are much bet­ter pre­pared this time around.

Marmelo was a $7 chance last year af­ter an eye-catch­ing Caulfield Cup run (sixth) a start ear­lier. How­ever, he didn’t back up well.

Mor­ri­son be­lieves go­ing straight into to­day’s Mel­bourne Cup off a sec­ond plac­ing in the Group 2 Ker­gor­lay (3000m) in France is the right for­mula be­cause a lead-up run in Aus­tralia may have again hin­dered Marmelo’s prospects.

“I think if you don’t learn lessons, you shouldn’t come back,” Mor­ri­son said.

“I think we learned that we want a fresh horse.

“He’s not a horse de­signed par­tic­u­larly for Aus­tralian sur­faces.

“He runs very well on firm ground but he’s not the sort of horse who can keep do­ing it back-to-back.

“We planned for the whole year to have a good run in the Ker­gor­lay in Au­gust and come straight to the Mel­bourne Cup.”

Marmelo has had only four runs since last year’s Mel­bourne Cup, win­ning twice and fin­ish­ing sec­ond twice in races be­tween

2770m and 3000m.

Hugh Bow­man rode the Duke Of Mar­malade six-year-old in last year’s

Cup and wanted to ride him again.

Mor­ri­son said his mind was eased a lit­tle by hav­ing ar­guably Aus­tralia’s best rider so keen to part­ner Marmelo.

“The fact he came and rode him 10 days ago and was very pos­i­tive af­ter­wards cer­tainly made my flight over here a bit eas­ier,” he said.

Bow­man told Mor­ri­son his horse felt stronger 12 months on. He will ride the $16 hope out of bar­rier 10, which is ideal.

“I think he’s look­ing bet­ter than he did last year and I think the horse learned some­thing,” Mor­ri­son said.

“Ev­ery­where he has been this year, whether it be in the aero­plane or quar­an­tine, he has been a more chilled-out horse.

“Ev­ery horse that stays sound and healthy will im­prove from four years old to five and we’re hop­ing he’s feel­ing bet­ter this year.

“If we didn’t think he was, we wouldn’t come back.”

Mor­ri­son did say the horse would have to im­prove off his lead-up runs to fig­ure in the fin­ish.

“We’ve got a Group 2 horse run­ning in a Group 1 race hand­i­capped as a

Group 2 horse, and in any hand­i­cap you have to find some­thing more than your form has shown be­fore,” he said. — Matt Jones

PHOTO: MICHAEL DODGE

LES­SON LEARNT: Marmelo gal­lops dur­ing a track­work ses­sion at Wer­ribee Race­course on Sun­day.

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