Vets ruled out Marmelo from this year’s Melbourne Cup. Picture: AAP
Vets ruled out Marmelo from this year’s Melbourne Cup. Picture: AAP

Marmelo future in doubt after Cup drama

MARMELO'S racing career remains in limbo with owner Ozzie Kheir accusing Racing Victoria of virtually pressuring the 2018 Melbourne Cup runner-up into retirement.

Marmelo was ruled out of last week's Cup after CT scans "indicated an incomplete fracture in the horse's near fore cannon bone and an incomplete fracture in its off hind cannon bone".

Godolphin's Ispolini was also withdrawn by RV stewards acting on veterinary advice.

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Kheir said RV's decision "in a sense might be forcing Marmelo into retirement" amid fears other racing jurisdictions might also bar the stayer from competing because of injury fears.

"Racing Victoria have done such a good job with the reporting of the injury and getting it out there internationally that it is now making his life very difficult from a racing point of view," Kheir said.

"They are giving other racing jurisdictions cause for concern.

"The fact is the issue (in the leg) was there two years ago and will be there still in two years.

"There's nothing wrong with the horse. He'll probably head back to Europe and do his racing in France and the UK.

"If he can't race again, he'll probably go to stud."

Marmelo was scratched from the Melbourne Cup on vet advice. Picture: AAP
Marmelo was scratched from the Melbourne Cup on vet advice. Picture: AAP

Kheir, who part-owned 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist, is still considering legal action against RV.

He has promised to donate any winnings to charities, including some dedicated to the rehoming of retired racehorses, if a legal challenge is successful.

Kheir said UK vet Dr Ian Wright is adamant nothing was wrong with Marmelo based on scans taken at Newmarket.

"We had wanted to race Marmelo in Australia for the next year but those plans have been flipped on their head because of the Racing Victoria saga," Kheir said.

"We are still working out what to do with the legal side and also the horse's future.

"We don't have many options now because of the way other racing jurisdictions might react."

Marmelo finished second in the 2018 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Getty Images
Marmelo finished second in the 2018 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Getty Images

RV believes it acted responsibly amid criticism it should have also scanned all horses in Cup contention, and not only the internationals at the Werribee quarantine station.

Five horses, including Admire Rakti and Red Cadeaux, had died in the six previous editions of the Cup.

Lindsay Park's Rostropovich continues to make progress from a fractured pelvis suffered in last Tuesday's race.

He is expected to make a full recovery and, like Kings Will Dream who suffered a similar injury in last season's Cox Plate, could resume his career within a year.