Marmelo team hoping for rain at York

Hughie Morrison is hoping for some rain to enable Marmelo to show his best in the Sky Bet Grand Cup Stakes at York on Saturday.

Last seen giving champion French stayer Vazirabad a fright in a Group Two at ParisLongchamp, it is Marmelo’s first British start since finishing fifth in the Yorkshire Cup last May.

Since then he has performed with credit in Australia, finishing ninth in the Melbourne Cup on the second of his runs there, and a return trip is on the cards.

“It was nice to see him run so well after his exploits in Australia,” said Morrison.

“We were thinking of taking him back to France but then spotted this race.

“There’s plenty of rain forecast and we’d need that in truth, but we couldn’t not declare given it was 50-odd hours before the race and there’s plenty of rain expected.

“We think he’s got the pace for a mile and a half on soft ground. I don’t think he’s up to an Arc given he couldn’t beat Vazirabad over a mile and seven furlongs, but he’s a very good horse. These old horses keep improving.

“He’ll be going back to Australia, he’s half-owned by Australians and I think it would be unfair on them not to take him back.

“I’d love to see Vazirabad win the Gold Cup next week, that looks a cracking race and is the best of the week for me.”

David Simcock’s Algometer was below his best on his first run of the season at Goodwood, but the Newmarket handler expects him to strip a good deal fitter.

“Algometer lacked sharpness and pace at Goodwood,” said Simcock.

“Now he is another year older, he is probably a touch slower.

“He will have been rusty – he’d been a long time off. And he had a health issue at the end of April which cost us a couple of weeks.”

Duretto finished fifth in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot last October, but has his sights lowered by Andrew Balding.

He is another, though, who would appreciate any precipitation.

“Any rain that falls would aid his chances,” said Balding.

“He’s a high-class horse on his day. He’s very well and he’s come off his run in the Ormonde Stakes in good shape. I’d hope he’d run well.”

Duke Of Bronte represents Rod Millman and he finished third in Listed company last time.

“He is a nice horse. The plan was the Ebor at the start of the season but the owner was keen on getting black type, which we’ve now got,” said Millman.

“I’m hoping he will stay the extra furlong and if he does, he will end up a good stayer this year.

“We are hoping another year on his back will help him. He has done nothing but improve and he is a far stronger horse this season. I think he is the sort of horse that will keep on improving.

“He is one of the nicest horses I’ve had on my hands in a long time. We wouldn’t have anything that would beat him at home, but he is quite highly strung. A lot of those good horses do have a funny quirk.”

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