Morrison eyeing international options for Marmelo

Melbourne Cup the ultimate target again

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Marmelo appears sure to be on his international travels again before he heads back to Australia as Hughie Morrison maps out a return route to the Melbourne Cup.

Last year’s Flemington runner-up began the new campaign in imperious style with a ready win in Newbury’s Group Three John Porter Stakes in April.

That success came over a mile and a half – and Morrison duly deployed Marmelo over that same distance at Group One level in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last week.

But the course, and perhaps good ground too, appeared a little too sharp a test as the six-year-old finished a nine-length fifth of nine to Defoe.

While the winner was reversing Newbury form, Morrison was satisfied with another honourable performance – and will be prepared to keep Marmelo to 12 furlongs as he gears up for a third shot, over two miles, in Australia in November.

“I think we were quite happy,” the Berkshire trainer said.

“We might still have another crack at a mile and a half, probably in Europe.”

Marmelo won the Prix Maurice de Nieuil at ParisLongchamp last summer and finished second in Deauville’s Prix Kergolay. A return trip to either could be in the offing – and Morrison also has one eye on a possible Group One venture to Ireland in September.

He said: “We have the options of the likes of races he’s run in France over the last couple of years – the Nieuil and the Kergorlay – maybe the Irish St Leger, one or two runs and then maybe back to Melbourne.

“It’s rather like (stablemate Telecaster in) the Derby. The race (Melbourne Cup) would be a lesser race without him.”

Epsom will not be uppermost in any future plans, however, as Morrison senses the contours on the Downs do not play to Marmelo’s strengths.

“He never got into fifth gear. It was rather like a big lorry running down the hill,” he added.

“He coped with it, but he couldn’t get into his rhythm. He was grinding the gears, trying to get from fourth into fifth – and never got there.

“But he ran his race, very respectably.”

Melbourne, meanwhile, already looms large again.

With that clearly in mind, Morrison added: “There’s always a silver lining for him, on the basis there are other things we can do with him.

“The nature of the way the races are run (at Epsom), the course, doesn’t suit the way he races.

“I think it’s more to do with the course, but maybe he wasn’t good enough over that trip on that (quick) ground.

“Maybe he needs it slightly softer to slow them up, to give him a chance to use his strength.”

Morrison eyeing international options for Marmelo
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