Marmelo heads straight to Melbourne for third shot at Cup

Morrison rules out Irish St Leger – barring ‘huge change of heart’

  • Tuesday 27 August
  • News
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Marmelo will bypass next month’s Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh and instead head straight to the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

After finishing second in the world-famous Group One contest at Flemington last year, Marmelo will bid to go one better in ‘the race that stops a nation’ on November 5.

Hughie Morrison’s six-year-old warmed up in style for his third outing in the prestigious two-mile contest by regaining his title in the Prix Kergolay at Deauville this month.

Morrison said: “I think the plan is to give him a couple of weeks off – then go out to Australia at the same time he did last year, and then go straight to the Melbourne Cup.

“It seemed to work well last year. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will again, but the horse is in good form.

“We left him in the Irish St Leger as an option, but I don’t think we will be going there unless there is a huge change of heart. If the race was in August then we might have gone there.”

Although Marmelo has appeared to appreciate a return to staying trips after failing to feature in two mile-and-a-half Group One contests this season, the East Ilsley trainer believes his globe-trotting star can be as effective over that trip – given the right conditions.

Morrison said: “He showed he can win over a mile and a half in the John Porter at Newbury. Epsom in the Coronation Cup didn’t suit him – then on the quicker ground in Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud he couldn’t compete with them.

“He can be a mile-and-a-half horse. But he has to have soft ground to be competitive at that level over that trip – which he never gets.”

Soft ground may be a necessity for Marmelo to compete at the top level over a mile and a half, but Morrison believes it is not vital for him to perform well over staying trips.

He added: “The rain might have helped a bit last year in Melbourne. But it dried out like a sieve – because they had two inches of rain, then it was gone.

“He has broken track records over a mile and six on quicker ground, so you can’t say he needs soft ground over those sort of trips.

“He is probably not an out-and-out Group One horse, but he does deserve to win one at that level over two miles.”

Marmelo heads straight to Melbourne for third shot at Cup
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