Cross Counter wins from Marmelo

Marmelo (right) finishes second in the 2018 Melbourne Cup (Image: Racing Photos)

Lexus Melbourne Cup placegetter set for Epsom

Trainer Hughie Morrison is deviating from the status quo with last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo.

Marmelo resumed with an unexpected victory in the £60,000 ($110,000) G3 John Porter Stakes (2412m) at Newbury on April 13.

That victory has prompted the Berkshire-based Morrison to aim Marmelo for the £425,000 ($785,000) G1 Coronation Cup (2419m) at Epsom on May 31 - his first test at Group 1 level in Europe.

"We gave him a couple of easy weeks after the John Porter and now we are revving him up for Epsom,” Morrison said in a statement.

"The horse is in excellent form and he has come on again from Newbury."

Marmelo’s past two seasons have seen him campaign extensively in France with his runs spaced and races typically over 2800 to 3000 metres.

However, Morrison has opted to keep the six-year-old entire back in distance for his next outing.

"We felt it was worth having a go over a mile and a half (2400 metres), just to try something different more than anything, especially now he has fully matured,” Morrison said.

“It might be that he is better over further, but we can always go up in trip later on.

"I always thought the Coronation Cup could present a decent opportunity and we are keen to have a go.

"I have never had a runner in the race and it will be great to be there, provided the ground isn't too quick."

Marmelo was one of 18 horses listed for the Coronation Cup when entries were released on Tuesday. He is quoted at $15 to win the race with last year’s G1 English St Leger (2921m) winner Kew Gardens assessed as the $2.50 favourite.

Kew Gardens was runner-up, beaten eight lengths, by Morando when resuming in the G3 Ormonde Stakes (2692m) at Chester on May 9.

"The plan was to always go to Chester just to show that he handled a left-handed track," said Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Kew Gardens.

"When he ran at Epsom in the Derby last year, he was a bit disappointing so we wanted to make sure he handles a left-handed track."