Hughie Morrison is planning to appeal against the decision of the Racing Victoria stewards to rule Marmelo out of next week’s Lexus Melbourne Cup.
The six-year-old was beaten just a length into second by Cross Counter in last year’s edition of the big race, and was among the leading hopes again for the two-mile prize after winning a Deauville Group Two in August.
However, he was ordered to undergo a scan at the start of this week after Racing Victoria vets found him to be sore – and that test has revealed two “incomplete fractures” in both a fore and hind leg.
The stewards duly ordered his withdrawal on Wednesday, along with the Charlie Appleby-trained Ispolini, who also underwent a scan which “indicated pre-fracture pathology within the horse’s right front cannon bone”.
A statement on www.racingvictoria.com.au read: “Stewards received a RV veterinary report advising that Marmelo would not be fit to compete in the Melbourne Cup if it was held on the day of final acceptances closing (Saturday, 2 November 2019) as stated within the conditions of the race.
“Marmelo was referred to the University of Melbourne Equine Clinic to undergo a standing CT scan across the weekend after showing signs of soreness upon inspection by RV veterinarians.
“The results of the standing CT scan indicated an incomplete fracture in the horse’s near fore cannon bone and an incomplete fracture in its off hind cannon bone.
“Having considered the RV veterinary report, in addition to veterinary reports submitted by trainer Hughie Morrison, stewards acting under AR20(d) have ordered the withdrawal of the horse from the Melbourne Cup.
“Stewards made their decision to ensure the safety and well-being of Marmelo, along with his potential competitors and riders.”
However, Morrison intends to contest the decision, describing the stewards’ views about the scan as “inaccurate and unfounded”.
He told the PA news agency: “I’m trying to sort an appeal out.
“It’s not only me this has happened to.”
Ispolini’s absence is a further blow for Godolphin after Saeed bin Suroor’s Cup outsider Red Galileo was ruled out and referred to the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital at Werribee for scans – having pulled up lame after a gallop.
The owner will now rely upon Appleby’s Cross Counter, who is set to shoulder top weight following his 2018 victory.