A dream re­alised as Godol­phin have their mo­ment

Mel­bourne Cup glory

Sport360 - - Front Page - By David Cooper @Sport360 ✉ ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

Cross Counter capped an “amaz­ing” year for trainer Char­lie Ap­pleby and Godol­phin as he be­came the first British-trained win­ner of Lexus Mel­bourne Cup at Flem­ing­ton.

The three-year-old was de­liv­ered with a per­fectly-timed run by Ker­rin McEvoy to claim the Group One prize and lead 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 Derby at Ep­som back in June in the blue silks of Godol­phin.

The trainer said: “This is all down to Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, 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, but it is the Dubai-based sta­bles first win since try­ing with Faith­ful Son in 1998.

He said: “We’ve been com­pet­i­tive, but we’ve learnt more on each trip about what will make us more com­pet­i­tive. That’s what it’s all about, the learn­ing curve.

“I’m just in a for­tu­nate po­si­tion to have the horses to make the call on which are the right ones to bring down here.

“This is huge. For me, of course this is the big­gest thing along with the Derby. This year has just been one of those amaz­ing years.”

Marmelo’s trainer Hughie Mor­ri­son was thrilled with his charge’s run, but felt con­ced­ing 9lb to the win­ner had proved cru­cial.

He said: “He gave him a lovely ride. We saw Hugh (Bow­man) be­fore­hand and he said we would ride on pa­tience and I said that will do me.

“We all ma­ture at dif­fer­ent times and I sus­pect we’re less ma­ture than the win­ner.

“He’s a great horse and we will have to go away and think about it. I don’t know whether we go Cup rac­ing next year, he’ll prob­a­bly have a bit more weight this time next year. The great thing is there’s lots to dis­cuss over the win­ter.

“He’s a star, he makes me cry. He’s just such a brick of a horse, he gives you his all and he’s an ab­so­lute gen­tle­man, any­body can ride him.”

Prince Of Ar­ran only se­cured his place in the race with vic­tory in the Lexus Stakes at the track on Satur­day and Fel­lowes was de­lighted with his ef­fort.

He said: “It was an un­be­liev­able run – I’m com­pletely speech­less. He gave him the most lovely ride.

“I think, on that ground, he pos­si­bly just got tired the last fur­long or half a fur­long, but he’s run huge. I can’t be­lieve it –I’m over the moon. There was a point there I thought we might have won the Mel­bourne Cup.

“Char­lie Ap­pleby has done the most un­be­liev­able job this year, huge credit to him and his team. It’s great that an English trainer has fi­nally won this race.”

Godol­phin fielded three run­ners in to­tal, with Best So­lu­tion fin­ish­ing eighth for Saeed bin Suroor un­der top weight af­ter a tardy start.

Jockey Pat Cos­grave said: “He was slowly away and we were play­ing catch up af­ter. He was too far back.”

“This year has just been one of the most amaz­ing years” – Ap­pleby

In form con­trol: Cross Counter de­liv­ered with a per­fectly-timed run to clinch a first Mel­bourne Cup for Godol­phin.

Man of the mo­ment: Ker­rin McEvoy cel­e­brates his third Mel­bourne Cup tri­umph.

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