Since starting training almost two decades ago Hughie Morrison has been almost like a metronome. Generally, his Berkshire stable has typically collected around 45 Flat wins worth £600,000 or thereabouts in prizemoney. His carefully-selected jumpers, often home-breds starting in bumpers, bring somewhere between five and eight NH wins every season. In some ways 2019 was a disappointment, slipping a little numerically, but it was exciting as the year of Telecaster, winner of the Dante Stakes and for a while the main English defender of the Derby against the might of Coolmore.
As it turned out, as the trainer feared, the colt probably got stage-fright but he will be back in 2020 to compete once more at the top level. What hasn’t changed, apart from that first Derby attempt, was Hughie’s ability to pick up big races and but for some awful luck Marmelo, such a prolific winner in stayers’ races especially in France might have had a chance of improving on his 2018 Melbourne Cup second.
Hughie was furious when the gelding was eliminated from the field on the eve of the contest by the veterinary panel even though Hughie and his own private vet were adamant he was perfectly sound. As a man who has trained Group 1 winning stayers and champion sprinters, Morrison covers the full gamut, and his horses uniformly last longer than many other trainers’ inmates. He is still rightly proud that he won a Group 1 race in France with the 10-year-old Alcazar. Marmelo no doubt, now a seven-year-old, will continue to win at Group level, even if the trainer and his owners might hesitate before undertaking another venture Down Under.