Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Britain's Cross Counter grabs first Melbourne Cup for Godolphin

Magic Circle is among the favorites for the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 6 Magic Circle is among the favorites for the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 6
Julia Gonzales | 08 November, 2018, 02:58

It has taken 30 years and millions of dollars, but Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum can now finally call himself a Melbourne Cup victor.

Sheikh Mohammed has been trying to win the Melbourne Cup for 30 years.

While the task of getting Cross Counter to one of the world's most gruelling races in peak fitness was performed to perfection, it was the horse who produced the ultimate winning effort.

"That insane owner is me".

IT was on their many road trips to Yorkshire that aspiring trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey Kerrin McEvoy forged a bond that culminated with Cross Counter becoming the first British victor of the Melbourne Cup.

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien, who had to settle for second in last year's Cup behind his son Joseph, trains Rostropovich as well as both of the Williams family's runners Yucatan and The Cliffsofmoher.

Fourth placed French import Finche ($26), who is prepared by Sydney's leading trainer Chris Waller, was the first Australian horse to cross the line.

"We're only a small team, so to run third in a race like this is remarkable".

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"We enjoy every minute of it".

Cross Counter, a four-year-old bay gelding trained by Charlie Appleby and based at Newmarket, England, was quoted early at 10 to 1.

However Appleby, who has plundered spring carnival riches for several years, and won Aussie Group Is with Jungle Cat and Polarisation, admitted he had no idea whether he was going to cash in again as the rain poured down before Cross Counter's Melbourne Cup tilt.

That's a strike rate of 20% for the group - the racing arm of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley breeding operation - which has outposts in Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Ireland, France, the U.S. and Australia.

Cross Counter is listed as a four year in the form guide for the Melbourne Cup but is actually still a three year old back in the Northern Hemisphere and emulated the feats of last year's Melbourne Cup victor Rekindling who was also a Northern Hemisphere three year old.

I was back a bit further than I wanted but I knew I was full of running. "And (wife) Cathy and myself have been looking around for a bigger house. and I said to one of the reporters yesterday that if I won I would buy Cathy a new house, so look out", said McEvoy.

More than 90,000 people are expected at Flemington and they will need to be armed with umbrellas.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a rainy morning, easing to a few showers by race time, with a maximum of 20C.

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