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Hughie Morrison trained Marmelo is one of four international hopefuls returning to contest the Melbourne Cup this year.
Morrison’s six-year old opened as a $7 favourite in 2017, only to finish a disappointing ninth after a short backup following a run in the Caulfield Cup.
In form jockey Hugh Bowman will take Marmelo’s reins for the second straight year on Tuesday, good news for punters who got on board the $17 chance before firming into $15 with Ladbrokes.
“He’s a bit stronger this year there’s no doubt about that” Bowman told Racing Post.
“More mature, obviously last year he was four, this year he’s five, the horse appears to have traveled over very well, I know Hughie (Morrison) is very happy with him.”
Morrison was notably disgruntled following last year’s decision to run Marmelo in the Caulfield Cup.
Fortunately, Morrison has learned from last year’s mistakes, telling The Courier Mail the son out of Duke of Marmalade was always on a path toward the Melbourne Cup.
“I think we learned that we want a fresh horse” Morrison said.
“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.”
As proof, Marmelo has enjoyed just four starts since last year’s run at Flemington, giving him plenty of time to prepare. On back-to-back runs he finished first between 2700 and 2800m back home in Britain, while also finishing runner-up in a small three-horse field at Deauville over 3000m in late August.
Jumping from barrier 10 on Tuesday should suit Bowman nicely, who hopes to keep his dream run going just two weeks removed from riding Winx to her fourth Cox Plate victory.
“I guess for me I take comfort in knowing he’s been over here before and traveled well, I know he’s capable of performing fresh off the plane” Bowman went on to say.
In Marmelo’s favour, six-year-olds have dominated the Melbourne Cup results in the past 30 years, including six wins between 2006-16.
Full odds can be seen below.
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