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Cross Counter caps golden year for Appleby and Godolphin

6 Nov 2018

Three-year-old colt becomes the first British-trained winner of the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Charlie Appleby

Cross Counter showed he could be a force in the Long Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series next year with victory in the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

The three-year-old, trained by Charlie Appleby, was delivered with a perfectly-timed run by Kerrin McEvoy to claim the Group One prize and became the first British-trained winner of the iconic race.

He led home a famous one-two-three for the raiding party, with Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo a length back in second and the Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince Of Arran a further three lengths behind in third.

Cross Counter’s victory added another feather to Appleby’s cap with the trainer having sent out Masar to win the Investec Derby at Epsom in June in the blue silks of Godolphin.

The trainer said: “This is all down to Sheikh Mohammed, he’s the one that’s given us all the encouragement to take the chances in what we do internationally.

“When I saw him down the back, I thought he had to do a lot.

“And when he was making his run, I thought turning in that if he finds the gap then this horse has got the gears to pick up.”

Godolphin has hit the bar in the past with the likes of Give The Slip, Crime Scene and Central Park all having placed in the main event and Appleby himself is a previous visitor to Melbourne.

He told www.godolphin.com: “This is huge for everybody. For me, of course this is the biggest thing along with the Derby. This year has just been one of those amazing years.”

Magic Circle was well fancied but never figured. Trainer Ian Williams later reported he had broken a blood vessel during the race.

Aidan O’Brien fielded three contenders with Rostropovich faring best in fifth, but the race was overshadowed by a fatal injury sustained by Cliffs Of Moher, runner-up in the Investec Derby last year, passing the post for the first time.