The Hughie Morrison trained English stayer Marmelo continues to firm in the betting for the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington today.

Hugh Bowman, above, will ride English trainer stayer Marmelo in the 2017 Melbourne Cup at Flemington. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Hugh Bowman, above, will ride English trainer stayer Marmelo in the 2017 Melbourne Cup at Flemington. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Marmelo took over favouritism for the Melbourne Cup from last year’s winner Almandin on Monday and is now the clear top pick at $7.50 with

The Robert Hickmott trained Almandin is still in contention at $9 just ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s classy stayer Johannes Vermeer at $10 and Cox Plate runner’ up Humidor at $11.

Marmelo put in an eye catching Melbourne Cup trial with a fast finishing sixth to Boom Time in the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21 but Morrison is not showing as much confidence as the punters.

“I am worried, of course I am worried about him backing-up (from his first-up run in the Caulfield Cup),” Morrison told

“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 has drawn awkwardly at barrier sixteen but should have no problems 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.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.