Marmelo’s better prepared this time
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
LESSON LEARNT: Marmelo gallops during a trackwork session at Werribee Racecourse on Sunday.