Marmelo has firmed into favouritism for the Melbourne Cup.
Marmelo has firmed into favouritism for the Melbourne Cup.

Punters jump on Marmelo

THE big dollars have come for the international Melbourne Cup contenders, with Marmelo moving to favouritism and Wall Of Fire also attracting considerable cash.

Lightweight Wall Of Fire, who ran second in his first Australian start in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield last month, has found plenty of friends.

TAB took bets of $3000 and $2000 at $13 on the English raider after the barrier draw.

Wall Of Fire, who will be ridden by Craig Williams, has won up to 2937m and carried 60kg to victory at York over 2816m last year.

But the most popular runner with TAB was Marmelo, who shortened to Cup favourite on Sunday. The English five-year-old attracted a series of big bets, ­including one of $5000, and firmed to $8.50, supplanting last year's winner Almandin, who eased to $9.

"Marmelo shortened from $11 into $6.50 equal favourite for the Melbourne Cup after finishing sixth in the Caulfield Cup on October 21, but did ease with horses like Humidor impressing with a runner-up finish to Winx in the Cox Plate," TAB's Trent Langskaill said.

"Since getting out to as much as $10, punters have rallied for the five-year-old and Marmelo has now displaced Almandin as the TAB Fixed Odds favourite for Tuesday's Melbourne Cup."

Marmelo, trained by Hughie Morrison, will be ridden by Hugh Bowman. He opted to stay on board after the raider flashed home for sixth in the Caulfield Cup three weeks ago.

Twice a winner over 3000m, including the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay in France in August, Marmelo is drawn in barrier 16. Morrison wasn't overly thrilled but said 3200m was a "long way", with plenty of time to overcome the barrier.

"I've heard 15 (Wall Of Fire) is good, so 16 can't be too bad," Morrison said. "We've been pretty happy with him the last few days. "He did a nice piece of work with Hugh on him and, given a bit of luck, he will run well."

Two of Lloyd Williams' six Cup runners, Johannes Vermeer ($10) and Almandin, continued to attract interest. But despite a bet of $7000, Almandin eased through the day.

Almandin was $7 before drawing barrier 14.

Expectations must be high that the least known of Williams' runners, US Army Ranger, will put in a good run. A $4000 bet was placed on the son of Galileo to run a place.

US Army Ranger, trained in Ireland by Joseph O'Brien, won his first two races in April and May 2016, but none of 10 starts since.



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