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Day Ten – Melbourne hopefuls ease into the weekend with quiet afternoon

Mark Scully | 24.09.2017

It was a quiet afternoon in Newmarket as the horses bound for Melbourne in the first quarantine batch drew 24 hours closer to their departure on Thursday.

While OTI Racing’s Fastnet Tempest (Fastnet Rock) did not leave the quarantine facility and was walked inside, the remaining horses headed out as usual onto Side Hill and the famous Warren Hill, where the majority enjoyed light trots and canters. Only Steel Of Madrid (Lope De Vega) did anything approaching what might be considered a piece of meaningful work, being asked to extend into a stronger canter.

Trainer Hughie Morrison was also in town to check up on Marmelo (Duke Of Marmalade) after he saddled a pair of runners at Newmarket’s meeting earlier in the afternoon. He told the Racing Post’s David Milnes: “I’m here to check up on my Melbourne Cup horse Marmelo who is in quarantine locally. He works in the afternoons so it made sense to do both. Hopefully he’ll ship next week and may run in the Caulfield Cup.”

There will be nothing to report today, with the usual rest day taking place, before some final medical tests, including influenza nasal swabs, are carried out on Monday, only 72 hours before the horses leave Newmarket.

While there was no drama inside the quarantine facility, figures in Newmarket were reacting to the news Sir Mark Prescott’s St Michel (Sea The Stars) will miss out on a trip to Australia for the Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) and International Racehorse Transport’s Jim Paltridge said the setback once again demonstrates how difficult the process is.

He added: “It’s a real shame for St Michel and for Melbourne too because Sir Mark is a larger than life character and they would have loved him down there.”

There will be questions too for trainer Marco Botti as to whether Dylan Mouth (Dylan Thomas) enters Thursday’s second quarantine period after a bitterly disappointing run in yesterday’s Legacy Cup Stakes (Gr 3, 1m3f) at Newbury.

The six-year-old, who had been under consideration for a shot at the Melbourne Cup after a smart victory at Haydock in July, beat only one horse home at Newbury and must now rank as a doubt for the long journey.

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