Godolphin’s English trainer Charlie Appleby has penciled in another trip down under with Cross Counter for the 2019 Group 1 $8m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 despite running third at Goodwood last week.
Cross Counter showed his wares as a world class stayer with his win in the 2018 Melbourne Cup and Appleby is set to return to Australia with the Northern Hemisphere four year old after he ran a game third to the odds on favourite Stradivarius in the Group 1 £500,000 Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes (2 miles) at Goodwood in England on July 30.
“He has strengthened this year. He was a well-handicapped horse when winning last year’s Melbourne Cup. It will be a stiffer task this year, but the way he won the race we know he handles all the conditions down there, so it is well worth going again,” Appleby said.
“He has still run a solid race and he has got a racing weight in the Melbourne Cup at the moment. We hope he will have a live shot again.”
“We will see how Cross Counter comes out of this race and we might take in the Irish St Leger (G1, 14f, the Curragh, September 15) before returning to Melbourne.”
The John Gosden trained Stradivarius was sent out as the 5-4 on favourite for the Goodwood Cup and held on to score a neck win from 11-2 chance Dee Ex Bee with a further one and a three quarter lengths to Cross Counter who was the second pick at 3-1.
The Goodwood Cup was Cross Counter’s third run back since winning the Melbourne Cup while his other two outings resulted in a win at Meydan in Dubai in the Group 2 AED 1.5m dirham Dubai Gold Cup (3200m) on March 30 followed by a fourth to Stradivarius in the Group 1 £500,000 Gold Cup (2 miles and 4 furlongs) at Royal Ascot in England on June 20.
Cross Counter has been installed as the $15 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to claim back to back wins in the Melbourne Cup just ahead of Master Of Reality at $17 and Falcon Eight, Japan and Torcedor at $21.
Early 2019 Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au: $15 Cross Counter, $17 Master Of Rreality, $21 Falcon Eight, Japan, Torcedor, $26 A Prince Of Arran, Avilius, Django Freeman, Finche, Ghostwatch, Marmelo, Gold Mount, Ispolini, Kew Gardens, Shraaoh, Surprise Baby, Verry Elleegant, Vow And Declare, $31 Accon, Johannes Vermeer, Amade, Dee Ex Bee, Latrobe, Rostropovich, Southern France, Steel Prince, Stradivarius, Spanish Mission, $34 Buckhurst, Raa Atoli, Sir Dragnet, Withhold, $41 Mr Quickie, Dubhe, Mugatoo, Old Persian, Rekindling, Yucatan, Mystic Journey, $51 or better the rest.