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Marmelo will head straight to Australia without another start to be prepared for another tilt at the Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo will head straight to Australia without another start to be prepared for another tilt at Australia’s most famous race.

Trainer Hughie Morrison has confirmed the last-start Prix Kergolay winner will not run in next month’s Irish St Leger.

“I think the plan is to give him a couple of weeks off – then go out to Australia at the same time he did last year, and then go straight to the Melbourne Cup,” Morrison said.

“It seemed to work well last year. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will again, but the horse is in good form.

“We left him in the Irish St Leger as an option, but I don’t think we will be going there unless there is a huge change of heart. If the race was in August then we might have gone there.”

Although Marmelo has appeared to appreciate a return to staying trips after failing to feature in two mile-and-a-half (2400m) Group One contests this season, the trainer believes his globe-trotting star can be as effective over that distance given the right conditions.

“He can be a mile-and-a-half horse. But he has to have soft ground to be competitive at that level over that trip – which he never gets,” he said.

Soft ground may be a necessity for Marmelo to compete at the top level over a mile and a half, but Morrison believes it is not vital for him to perform well over staying trips.

“The rain might have helped a bit last year in Melbourne. But it dried out like a sieve. They had two inches of rain, then it was gone.

“He is probably not an out-and-out Group One horse, but he does deserve to win one at that level over two miles.”

Marmelo is the $15 equal favourite for the 2019 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes alongside last year’s winner Cross Counter and Ebor winner Mustajeer.

 
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