THE challenge of being one of the longest priced favourites in Melbourne Cup history has not been lost on Hughie Morrison as the trainer attempts to win the $6 million feature with English stayer Marmelo.
Attempting to do the Prix Kergorlay/Melbourne Cup double that fellow international raiders Americain and Protectonist have done in the past, Marmelo is set to jump at the $7 quote via Ladbrokes for the race that stops a nation.
The five-year-old ran sixth in the Caulfield Cup in what was viewed as the perfect tune up for the horse, but the trainer admitted there is still an unknown factor going into the Cup.
“We raced in France because he’s got French breeders’ premium, but obviously he lives, and does all his work in England,” Morrison told HorseBetting.com.au at Flemington.
“He seems to have travelled well and he obviously ran exceptionally well in the Caulfield Cup, but the concern was he might have had a hard race there.
“We’ve had a look and there’s a worry as to whether he’s gotten over it, but the proof will be in the pudding at 3pm.”
Marmelo is Morrison’s maiden Melbourne Cup, which would put him in rarefied air if he can win the race in his debut at Flemington.
A win would also ensure that he becomes the first-ever English trainer to take out Australia’s most famous race, and Morrison said that the favourite is somewhat of a trail and error case for the stable.
“To be honest, I don’t really know,” the trainer admitted when asked if the pathway to Australia has been a smooth one.
“I’ve never done it before, but they seem to do it better than the humans do anyhow, but he looks in good shape.
“He looks well, he’s eating well and I’m just hoping he doesn’t let us down.”
Marmelo is looking to be the first favourite to win the Melbourne Cup as a favourite since Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente saluted in the race back in 2014.
It has been one of the hardest races in the last two decades to take out as a favourite, with Makybe Diva ($4.50) back in 2005 being the shortest priced victor in that time-frame.
Morrison said the pressure is on to perform in arguably the world’s biggest race.
“When you have a favourite you feel responsible for the whole world that has got on, but we’ll see how it goes after 3pm.”