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Northern Hemisphere three year old Cross Counter has been confirmed as one of trainer Charlie Appleby’s team heading to Australia for the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6.

The Joseph O'Brien trained Rekindling, above, won the 2017 Melbourne as a Northern Hemisphere 3yo. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

The Joseph O’Brien trained Rekindling, above, won the 2017 Melbourne as a Northern Hemisphere 3yo. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Cross Counter earned a trip to Melbourne following his fighting second to stablemate Old Persian in the Group 2 £170,000 Great Voltigeur Stakes (2385m) at York in England on Wednesday.

Godolphin’s English trainer Charlie Appleby will put Cross Counter into quarantine in four weeks time before the gelding heads down under but Old Persian is set to continue his campaign in England and be set for the Group 1 £700,000 St Leger Stakes (1 mile, 6 furlongs, 115 yards) at Doncaster on September 15.

“Cross Counter will start quarantine in four weeks’ time,” Appleby said on Godolphin’s website.

“The early batch start quarantine tomorrow (Thursday) and are in there for two weeks, Cross Counter will be part of the second batch.

“I think we have a nice team going down there but it all depends on how they travel, that is the biggest challenge, but if they all turn up there in the nick they are in on this side of the water, they are going to be big players.

“We contemplated missing today with Cross Counter and going earlier to Australia, it is my first time taking a three-year-old to Australia and, with the experience I have had with the older horses, I felt taking a three-year-old down there and giving him a prep run going into the Melbourne Cup might be a bit challenging for him.

“I would rather get the weight off this side of the water and turn up fresh.”

Appleby has already earmarked his emerging stayer Hamada as a candidate for the 2018 Melbourne Cup following the four year old’s rise through the ranks with wins at his last five starts, his latest in the Group 3 £60,000 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2671m) at Newbury in England on August 18.

Cross Counter and Hamada will accompany Appleby’s Cox Plate entries Blair House and Folkswood to Australia for the Spring Carnival..

Folkswood performed creditably during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival and will be again aiming towards the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 27 after finishing third behind Winx and Humidor in the 2017 weight for age championship.

Folkswood also claimed victory in the Listed $300,000 Cranbourne Cup (2025m) at Cranbourne as well as running fifth to Tosen Stardom in the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.

Early betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the 2018 Melbourne Cup have Cross Counter and Hamada marked at $21 while the Darren Weir trained import Kings Will Dream, Japanese stayer Chestnut Coat and English galloper Withhold all sharing favouritism at $14.

Early betting for the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $14 Chestnut Coat, Kings Will Dream, Withhold, $16 Torcedor, $18 Magic Circle, Stradivarius, $21 Cross Counter, Hamada, Marmelo, Tosen Basil, $26 Ace High, Best Solution, $31 Almandin, Exemplar, $41 or better the rest.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.