Marmelo won’t be racing in the Melbourne Cup this year.
Marmelo won’t be racing in the Melbourne Cup this year.

Disgust over Melbourne Cup controversy

English trainer Hughie Morrison disputes the results of scans on Marmelo which have prompted the horse's withdrawal from the Melbourne Cup.

Racing Victoria (RV) stewards said the results of a standing CT scan indicated Marmelo had incomplete fractures in his near fore and off hind cannon bones.

On Wednesday, they ordered his withdrawal from the Cup along with Godolphin's Ispolini who had an issue with a right front cannon bone.

Morrison said stewards should have inspected Marmelo, runner-up in last year's Cup, before he left Newmarket.

The trainer said he had sent the scan to an international expert in England who disputed RV's interpretation.

"We have leading experts on this so-called condition and they don't agree with the findings," Morrison told RSN 927.

"The whole process has been badly handled. They approved him to come here."

One of the horse's owners, John O'Neill, said they would look at legal avenues to try to get Marmelo reinstated.

Morrison blew up even more during an interview on SEN radio, calling Marmelo's forced withdrawal an "extraordinary" decision and criticising the lack of faith in vet Ian Wright, who believes the horse is healthy.


Marmelo (right) came second in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
Marmelo (right) came second in last year’s Melbourne Cup.

"Ian Wright is the world leading expert in this field and he is being dismissed out of hand by (Racing Victoria chief vet) Dr Forbes and the stewards," Morrison said.

"It's quite an extraordinary decision given this view. We are absolutely dumbfounded really.

"Dr Forbes, the RV vet, has passed this horse for the last two years. If it wasn't so dreadful it would be a comedy.

"Something is going on there.

"We will appeal if there is any chance of appeal but (Racing Victoria) are the ones prosecuting the case, judging the case and the jury on the case which frankly, I find frightening really.

"They have the power to ruin horses' careers, which is what they are essentially doing, his (Marmelo's) value and the effect on the owners and everybody else."

Morrison also said Marmelo's connections would be chasing up compensation for the bombshell decision.

"I think definitely the Australian owners will be seeking compensation at the very least which could run into a very large figure given the loss of value to the horse, not to mention the loss of opportunity to win the wonderful prize money," Morrison said.

"Don't get me wrong, we think Australian racing is great but there's just a couple of people who are out of control.

"There doesn't seem to be any checks or balances on them.

"We love coming here, we love the racing here and it's just a great shame that this has happened."


Hughie Morrison is furious his star pupil won’t strut his stuff at Flemington on Tuesday.
Hughie Morrison is furious his star pupil won’t strut his stuff at Flemington on Tuesday.

A Racing Victoria statement said stewards made the decision in the interests of the safety and wellbeing of Marmelo, along with his potential competitors and riders. Under the Melbourne Cup conditions, horses must be considered fit to be able to run if the race was held on Saturday when final acceptances are taken, three days before the $8 million race.

Fellow English visitor, Godolphin's Charlie Appleby-trained Ispolini, has been taken out of Tuesday's race after also undergoing a standing CT scan at the University of Melbourne Equine Clinic.

Ispolini's X-ray indicated pre-fracture pathology within the horse's right front cannon bone.

With AAP