Morrison regrets drying ground as Marmelo beaten by Holdthasigreen

Trainer Hughie Morrison will be hoping for a spell of rain in the run-up to the Melbourne Cup after his odds-on favourite Marmelo failed to land a blow in second behind surprise winner Holdthasigreen in the Group 2 Darley Prix Kergorlay.

Marmelo, who won the Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Longchamp in July, raced prominently throughout under Christophe Soumillon but, after turning wide into the straight, could not close on the smooth-travelling Holdthasigreen, who scored by two and a half lengths under Tony Piccone.

Morrison, who also saddled eight-year-old Nearly Caught to finish third, said: "The ground was pretty quick. All credit to the winner, but hopefully we'll get better ground in Australia.

"Christophe said he was never as comfortable as he was at Longchamp."

On a potential bid for the Melbourne Cup, Morrison said: "We'll see how he is. I probably wouldn’t have run him on this ground at home. We'll go home and take a view."

Holdthasigreen, who has run well in defeat at the top level, finally landed his first Group success after wins in Listed company.

The Bruno Audouin-trained runner was deemed a difficult character by co-owner and former trainer Claude le Lay, who heaped praise on her son-in-law’s management of the six-year-old.

"This horse has been so difficult to train, it's been the work of a goldsmith by Bruno and my daughter Alexandra," said Le Lay.

"We'll savour this victory before deciding between the Cadran and the Royal-Oak. If we were to receive invites from abroad we would consider them."

With a furlong to run God Given and Precious Ramotswe were in with a chance in the Group 2 Darley Prix de Pomone, but neither had an answer to Kitesurf, who surged clear of Palombe to provide trainer Andre Fabre with a one-two. 

"We're delighted and always felt Kitesurf would be better at four," said Lisa-Jane Graffard for owners Godolphin. "She's come forward plenty and there could be more to come.

"She's a true Group 2 performer, but while it's always difficult to win a Group 1 she'll be worthy of her place."