The Godolphin owned Cross Counter stormed home from back in the field to win the 2018 Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington today.
The Charlie Appleby trained English stayer Cross Counter collected the first Melbourne Cup trophy for the global Godolphin Racing Empire while Kerrin McEvoy becomes a three times Melbourne Cup winning jockey.
McEvoy brought Cross Counter ($9) from well back in the second half of the field to run down Hugh Bowman’s mount Marmelo ($12) to record a one length victory with A Prince Of Arran ($21) in third place making it an English trifecta.
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.
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 winner Rekindling who was also a Northern Hemisphere three year old.
Appleby and his team had to work overtime on Cross Counter after he suffered a minor leg injury after arriving at the Werribee International Horse Centre.
“Myself and the team it is a huge effort. Chris and the guys have done a fantastic job,” Appleby said.
“We have had a couple of testing weeks as everybody knows, but I said to them it makes you stronger in life and he has risen to the occasion.”
“The horse himself, we were confident coming in, we had the right horse. A few little question marks, a setback there a couple of weeks ago and we were confident he was over that.”
“The ground was a big question mark to be fair.”
“But when you have the master like Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle, he takes a lot of confidence in and down the back straight I could see what he was trying to do.”
“He got himself into a nice racing position and turning for home he just needed to find the gaps. Once he found those and the horse had a clear run, I was far from confident but I knew he would be doing his best work down the straight.”
After being downgraded to a heavy 8 after torrential rain hit Melbourne this morning, the Flemington track was upgraded to a soft 6 for the running of the Melbourne Cup.
Godolphhin have had a tremendous Melbourne Spring Carnival after the Saeed Bin Suroor trained Best Solution carried their famous royal blue colours to victory in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Yucatan was sent out as the $6 favourite but couldn’t repeat his stunning Herbert Power Stakes win and never threatened to finish eleventh while the well fancied Magic Circle ($7) faded in the straight to finish sixteenth.
The Cliffsofmoher went amiss at the winning post the first time and was eased out of the race by jockey Ryan Moore.