The Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation, will be the focus of all in Australia – and a few bleary eyed enthusiasts at Lap Of The Odds HQ – at 4am (GMT) Tuesday morning.
The great race continues to be stoutly defended by the home contingent although raiders from Asia, France, Germany and Ireland have plundered the prize in recent years. The missing raider is of course the Brits.
It had been a story of agonising narrow defeats for the British challengers coupled with watching numerous ex-British now rebadged as locals winning the honours.
It may have taken the challengers a while to refine the best strategy and right type of horse, but the knocking on the door has been getting louder and this could finally be the year it opens.
The home defence is headed by reigning champ Almandin, and by multi-distance jack of all trades Humidor. Almandin has 10lbs more and Frankie Dettori in the saddle, whilst Humidor has been potentially overrated chasing Winx. Both look a little high in the weights.
The Irish have numerous chances of which Royal Ascot winner Thomas Hobson looks best albeit stall 21 is certainly wider than ideal.
No, this should finally be the year of the Pommes. With respect due to both Wall Of Fire and Nakeeta, everything looks set for Marmelo to provide the historic win.
Hughie Morrison is a meticulous trainer who plots campaigns carefully be they Group horses or Southwell sellers. Marmelo wasn’t seen until his 3yo season last year, and although UK trained he has been campaigned more in France.
It was there that he leapt onto the radar for this when a cosy winner of a Group 2 used as a prep for this race by two previous winners. That was an eye catching performance in both style and clock, and he followed that up in great style last time.
Having acclimatised down under, Marmelo ran in the other great Aussie race the 12f Caulfield Cup. Whilst 6th may not sound great, he wasn’t beaten far and was flashing home over a trip short of his best.
That race also gave local jockey Hugh Bowman the chance to get to know the horse and he will be pumped up to fill one of the few blanks left on his local CV.
Stall 16 is workable if a fraction wide, but Marmelo ticks every other box and deserves strong support.
Recommendation: Marmelo (0400 Flemington), 2pts win, 8/1 Betfair sports book
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