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Hugh Bowman got a reminder of the power of Winx in a private gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday before a he rode Caulfield Cup hope Marmelo for the final time before the race.
Winx had her first look at Moonee Valley since her Cox Plate victory last year and was right at home as she tries to emulate Kingston Town by winning a third consecutive Cox Plate on Saturday week.
“The race can’t come quick enough for her, she feels great,” Bowman said. “The gallop stimulated her and she liked being back at the Valley.”
Winx will likely return to the Valley for another gallop this week. She was also nominated on Tuesday for the Japan Cup but is unlikely to head to Tokyo.
After riding Winx, Bowman headed straight to Werribee and was impressed with Marmelo. The English stayer spurned an Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe start to target the Melbourne spring but where he sits heading into Saturday’s Caulfield Cup is hard to ascertain.
The Hughie Morrison-trained five-year-old led throughout to win the Prix Kergorlay last start and has convinced Bowman he is the right horse to be on in the Caulfield Cup, and maybe the Melbourne Cup, after just three rides on him at Werribee.
However, whether the on-speed stayer can match it with the best 2400-metre horses in is unknown.
“Everyone is looking for answers about him and I’m like everyone else. I’ll find out on Saturday,” Bowman said. “I’m told he has got similar form to a lot of good horses that have come out here in the past, but until they do it out here you really don’t know.
“It was the third time I have ridden since he has been in and he has certainly come on since he has been here.
“I had a pretty firm gallop with him on Friday and it did its job. I feel it stimulated him a bit.
“This morning he was much more on the bridle, much more alert with what he was up to, so I didn’t do a great deal.”
Marmelo is relatively lightly raced and has been out of stakes company since winning his maiden at Doncaster in July last year. The last time he raced over 2400 metres trip he was runner-up in a listed race at Deauville last year. However, his form is around the better stayers in Europe.
“His form is around 3000 metres, so the Caulfield Cup should be a good stepping stone to his main goal of the Melbourne Cup. That is not to say he won’t be running well on Saturday,” Bowman said. “He feels very well and I expect him to be running pretty well on Saturday from what I have had to do with him.”
Marmelo drew gate 10 for the Caulfield Cup, which should allow Bowman to take up a position in the first half of the field.
Morrison’s travelling foreman, Tom Pirie, is happy with the way Marmelo has adapted to n conditions
“I haven’t paid too much attention to the field but it’s a group I and I know we’re good enough to be here,” Pirie said. “It’s a mile and a half and he’s dropping back in trip and the others are racing at their trip.
“Whatever he does over the mile and a half, he’ll improve on at two miles. “
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