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Cross Counter provides Britain with their first ‘Cup’ win

A packed Flemington Racecourse for the Melbourne Cup. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

They bill it as the ‘race that stops a nation’ down under and it turned out to be exactly that with the Charlie Appleby trained, Cross Counter, winning the Melbourne Cup for Britain’s first triumph in one of the world’s most famous races.

25 years on from when Dermot Weld, a Kildare native, proved that the race could be one by the overseas raiders, Britain finally had their first win in the contest. It was also a first win in the race for ‘the boys in blue’ of Godolphin who have been trying to win the race for years.

Inside the final furlong, it looked like fellow British raiders, Marmelo, trained by Hughie Morrison and Charlie Fellowes’ A Prince of Arran, looked like they were going to do it for Team GB until Kerrin McEvoy came with a scorching run down the outside on the light weighted three year old, Cross Counter, to get up near the line. The performance was even more impressive as the pace was moderate, at best, proving that Cross Counter has a very impressive turn of foot.

It was heartbreak for Morrison and Fellowes who came so close to winning Australia’s most coveted prize. In the end, it was a comfortable win for the Godolphin owned three-year-old.

It has been an unforgettable year for Charlie Appleby who only started training five years ago, eyeing the Derby and Melbourne Cup as the two races he wanted to win. Five months ago, he won the Derby with Masar. Now, his attentions have turned to the Dubai World Cup and Kentucky Derby.

Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed have been trying to win this race for 30 years and they finally did it in 2018 with Appleby, who only had two previous runners in one of the toughest races in the world.

Only two weeks before the race, Appleby had planned to have three runners in the race; Hamada, who unfortunately lost his life in a freak training accident, Emotionless who got injured and was subsequently ruled out and Cross Counter, who suffered a setback. The setback wasn’t enough though to stop Appleby and Cross Counter though. The British have now joined the Irish in cracking the Melbourne Cup dilemma. Will this be the first of many? Only time will tell.

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