English stayer Marmelo has climbed to the top of the Melbourne Cup betting ousting last year’s winner Almandin from favouritism for the famous two mile contest at Flemington on Tuesday.
The Lloyd Williams owned, Robert Hickmott trained Almandin had been the top pick at Ladbrokes.com.au in the lead up to the final field being announced on Saturday but has drifted out from $6.50 to $9.50 while Marmelo has firmed into $8.50 and favourite for the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Irish stayer Johannes Vermeer and the Darren Weir trained Humidor are also putting pressure on the top two in the betting at $10 each.
English trainer Hughie Morrison isn’t showing as much confidence as the punters and is not sure how Marmelo will back up in the Melbourne Cup after running an eye catching sixth to Boom Time in the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21.
“I am worried, of course I am worried about him backing-up (from his first-up run in the Caulfield Cup),” Morrison told racing.com.
“He has been on the go all year, he was fresh and feeling good in the Caulfield Cup.
“Sometimes a horse can, what we call, bounce where they run very well the first time and then a bit flat (second-up) and we’ll only find that out on Tuesday afternoon.
“We think we’re happy with the way he is though you can never guarantee it.
“I don’t think anybody should be going into a race where there are 24 runners and a handicap with too much confidence, there is so much luck involved.”
Leading Group 1 winning jockey Hugh Bowman was on board Marmelo when he made up plenty of ground from fourteenth on the home turn to finish less than three lengths from the winner and Morrison said the he would leave the race tactics in the Melbourne Cup up to Bowman again.
“I’m not quite sure (what we’ll do) to be quite honest, Hugh Bowman is the man with the experience and that’s the great advantage of using somebody local, who has got such talent as Hugh does,” Morrison said.
“(In the Caulfield Cup) he showed that he wouldn’t be out of his comfort zone running over a mile and a half given an aggressive ride.
“I think we’ll be pretty happy whatever the race is run as long as he gets into a nice position and rhythm early on, which I suppose we are all trying to do.
“I’m sure Hugh will have a plan.”
Marmelo will jump from barrier sixteen in the Melbourne Cup field that has been reduced to twenty-three runners following the scratching of the Chris Waller trained Who Shot Thebarman because of an elevated temperature.
Marmelo should have no trouble running out the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup with two of his three wins being over 3000m in France in the Group 3 €80,000 Prix De Barbeville Chantilly on April 30 and two starts back on August 20 in the Group 2 €130,000 Darley Prix Kergorlay at Deauville.