31/8/2017 Marmelo confirmed for Melbourne Cup start
Trainer Hughie Morrison confirmed yesterday that the last start Prix Kergorlay (Gr 2, 3000m) winner
Marmelo (Duke Of Marmalade) will travel to Australia in the spring for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m).
The colt has established himself as one of the smartest stayers in Europe this season, beating subsequent Group Two winner Bateel (Dubawi) first up in the Prix de Barbeville (Gr3, 3000m) at Chantilly in April before landing the Prix Kergorlay in clearcut fashion on 20 August.
That race has acted as a springboard to Melbourne Cup success for Americain (Dynaformer) in 2010 and Protectionist (Monsun) in 2014, and Morrison said the decision had been taken to target the Spring Carnival this year before Marmelo is too high in the weights.
“He has established himself as a contender and has been performing well all year,” Berkshire-based Morrison said.
“He is not a slow two-miler and ran a good time at Chantilly earlier in the year, and a good time at Deauville last time.
“He is a progressive horse who has gone up in the weights, and if we don’t go now we will be far too high in the weights.”
The four-year-old son of Duke Of Marmalade (Danehill) has mainly been campaigned in France this year, but he was also a close fifth in the Yorkshire Cup (Gr 2, 1m6f) behind The Queen’s Dartmouth (Dubawi) in May.
“In the Yorkshire Cup earlier this season, he came there absolutely swinging, but I think he just got a bit lost on the soft ground, I won’t be the first or the last person to say it but it is a funny surface at York,” Morrison said.
“He goes to France because, as much as anything, he gets the French breeders' premium and he has earned a lot of money because of it.”
The trainer enjoyed victory at the highest level with July Cup (Gr 1, 6f) winners Sakhee’s Secret (Sakhee) and Pastoral Pursuits (Bahamian Bounty) and said that an approach from an outside party had sparked the owners’ decision to bypass the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1,2400m) on 1 October.
“The owners are very sporting and they had been dreaming of an Arc, but I think they were approached by somebody and that lit the fuse,” Morrison said.
“You dream of winning Derbies, Arcs and Melbourne Cups, so if you’ve got half a chance, it’s great to have a go.”
Morrison added that travel plans for Marmelo had yet to be finalised, but that his instinct told him it would be beneficial to enter quarantine as early as possible, to allow the horse time to adjust to his new surroundings.
“It is very much in the air. My gut feel says the earlier you go the better, while the temperature change (from the UK to Australia) is less significant,” he said.
“Horses start to grow their coat in September, and if you can hold that off by going in September rather than October it might give him a better chance of bedding in.
“I’ve never had any runners there, and I’ve never even been to Australia which is rather embarrassing!”
Marmelo was one of 24 European horses nominated for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, with Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor likely to be represented in the $6,000,000 feature,
alongside champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Scotland could also have its first ever runner in the 3200 metre showpiece, with Dumfries and Galloway-based Iain Jardine handing an entry to last weekend’s Ebor Handicap (1m6f) winner Nakeeta (Sixties
In early betting markets for the Melbourne Cup Marmelo is $26. Check out the latest Melbourne Cup betting markets.
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