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Cross Counter makes history at Flemington as Britain celebrates first Melbourne Cup triumph

Trainer Charlie Appleby poses with Cross Counter after winning the Melbourne Cup.

Charlie Appleby and Godolphin ended a wonderful season with victory in the Melbourne Cup, as Cross Counter pounced late to become the first British-trained winner of “the race that stops a nation”.

The stands at Flemington’s historic racecourse were rocking in the early hours this morning, as the runners in this year’s Melbourne Cup finally hit the track. Aidan O’Brien’s bid to follow in the footsteps of son Joseph - who lifted the famous trophy 12 months ago - seemed to be resting on the shoulders of Yucatan, who held his position at the head of the betting despite what many perceived to be an unfavourable draw in stall 23.

British and Irish horses dominated the betting throughout the build-up to the Cup and that bias continued on race-day, with Magic Circle, Cross Counter, Marmelo and Muntahaa all coming in for support. Aussie fans decided Chris Waller’s Youngstar was their best chance of wrestling the trophy from European clutches and he was backed into 10/1 by the time the gates flung open.

As expected, Geelong Cup winner Runaway cut out the early running, as Best Solution practically blew his chances with an extremely sluggish start. As the front-runners started to make the first turn, there was a dramatic – and tragic – development, as Yucatan’s stablemate, The Cliffsofmoher broke down with what turned out to be a fatal shoulder injury, badly hampering Avilius as he dropped out the back of the pack.

Finche, who finished third behind Runaway in the Geelong Cup, took over as the leader fell away and got first run on the field. He was soon joined by A Prince Of Arran and Marmelo, who spied a gap on the inside and made a dart for the winning line. Just when Hughie Morrison’s gelding had seemingly opened a winning advantage, Kerrin McEvoy came storming down the outside on Cross Counter and Charlie Appleby’s charge powered past the post to secure a stunning victory.

“This is everybody’s dream." Appleby told the swarm of press following the race. "It’s sinking in now,”

“I am just so delighted. I can’t tell you how good it feels. He is a wonderful young horse. Coming in to today, this horse ticked a lot of boxes. I’m just delighted.”



Appleby handed Sheik Mohammed and his Godolphin operation a maiden Derby win earlier in the season, as Masar stormed home on the Epsom Downs. Just days after saddling Line Of Duty before he scooped Breeders' Cup glory in Kentucky, Appleby was rejoicing with the boys in blue once again and he paid tribute to his passionate benefactors.

“This is all down to Sheik Mohammed. He’s the one that’s given us the encouragement to take the chances in what we do."

“Internationally we have campaigned over here the last three years now and have been competitive but we have always learnt each trip what horse we felt was going to be needed on the big day.”

It was a magical ride from McEvoy, now a three-time winning jockey in the Melbourne Cup. Cross Counter had just three horses behind him as he turned for home, but McEvoy helped his mount motor through the gears, ploughing down the centre of the track to become the first British horse to ever win the Melbourne Cup. 

A Prince Of Arran, who had only booked his place at Flemington by winning the Lexus Stakes Handicap three days earlier, ensured it would be a British 1-2-3 by edging out Finche on the run to the line. Rostropovich finished strongly to match the fifth-place finish he managed behind Winx in the Cox Plate. Youngstar and Sir Charles Road finished in the top eight, along with Best Solution, who made good late progress through beaten horses after giving the field a five-length head start.

Yucatan and Muntahaa lost positions during the middle portion of the race and couldn’t recover in the sprint to the line. Avilius tried to battle back after that incident with the ill-fated The Cliffsofmoher, but it wasn’t to be, leaving James Cummings and his Australian counterparts to look on as Charlie Appleby and Godolphin celebrated a history-making triumph in the 2018 Melbourne Cup.

2018 Melbourne Cup Result

1st Cross Counter 8/1
2nd Marmelo 11/1
3rd A Prince Of Arran 20/1
4th Finche 25/1
5th Rostropovich 20/1


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Cross Counter makes history at Flemington as Britain celebrates first Melbourne Cup triumph

Charlie Appleby and Godolphin ended a wonderful season with victory in the Melbourne Cup, as Cross Counter pounced late to become the first British-trained winner of “the race that stops a nation” at Flemington on Tuesday 6th November.

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