|The whodunnit mystery and the Melbourne Cup trainer
The Melbourne Cup has often had its share of mystery and intrigue but this year it will have the curious case of the trainer who believes his stable has been sabotaged by crooks.
British Group I-winning trainer Hughie Morrison, who prepares Cup contender Marmelo, has offered a £10,000 reward for information to clear his name as he faces a ban of up to 10 years for doping.
The charge has nothing to do with his Cup hope but involves a little-known filly that finished last in a field of eight runners at Wolverhampton in January in a race worth just £2500.
Our Little Sister allegedly tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and Morrison is flummoxed as to how it got there.
Morrison has offered a reward to the public for information and the mystery deepened when he claimed it must have been a malicious attempt to sabotage his Berkshire training operation.
He insists his filly must have been injected by someone "with a thorough knowledge of racing and the implications for a positive test for this drug."
Morrison was charged over the positive test in May under the British Horseracing Authority's "strict liability" anti-doping rules, which effectively require him to prove his innocence.
"I am doing everything I possibly can to get to the bottom of this," Morrison told The Telegraph newspaper in London.
"I've reported it to Thames Valley Police … who were supportive in my offering a reward to see if this could take things forward.
''What on earth could I have to gain from this? Our Little Sister was a horse of limited ability, in a race with hardly any prizemoney, and there was no unusual betting on it."
Marmelo zoomed into Melbourne Cup contention when the stayer won the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville in a race which is regarded as a key Flemington pointer.
The Group II Kergorlay was won by Protectionist before winning the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Morrison has indicated Marmelo is a horse who can carry a big weight and he has been allocated 55kg for the big race.
CrownBet has Marmelo at $17 in their Melbourne Cup market.
It is unclear if the doping case involving Morrison will be heard before the Cup.
Watch Marmelo win the 2017 Prix Kergorlay ...
Wednesday, 13 September 2017