Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has become the first English trainer to win the Melbourne Cup with the most inexperienced runner Cross Counter storming to a famous victory.
Cross Counter, a northern hemisphere three-year-old, like last year’s winner Rekindling, made the most of the wet conditions, proving too strong for Marmelo and A Prince of Arran in the $7.3 million two-mile classic.
Finche finished fourth.
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Appleby’s young star becomes the first Godolphin-owned horse to win Australia’s greatest race.
The win is also jockey Kerrin McEvoy’s third victory after first tasting success in the Cup on Brew in 2000 and Almandin in 2016.
It continues a remarkable year for the jockey, who recently won $13 million The Everest for the second occasion on Redzel.
Cross Counter was one of three Godolphin runners with Saeed bin Suroor saddling up Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution while James Cummings turned out Avilius.
“I was back a bit further than what I wanted,” McEvoy said.
“I had to go my own way and we were full of running. I thought mate, is this happening again?
“And yeah look, I’m just lucky I can ride light on these lovely stayers prepared unbelievably well by Godolphin and Charlie Appleby.”
One TAB punter is certain to be rejoicing after placing $50,000 on Cross Counter at $10 following the barrier draw to win $500,000.
The race was marred by the death of star UK galloper The CliffsofMoher.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained runner broke down just after crossing the post the first time — just 1000m after the start.
It’s believed The CliffsofMoher suffered a fractured right shoulder. Vets quickly attended to the Irish runner — ridden by star English jockey Ryan Moore — but nothing could be done to save the five-year-old stallion had lost his battle, with vets forced to euthanise the stricken horse.
Connections immediately knew the severity of the situation.
Joseph O’Brien, last year’s winning trainer and the son of The CliffsofMoher trainer Aidan O’Brien said after the race the five-year-old was in the hands of vets but conceded it “didn’t look good”.
“It’s a shocking thing but unfortunately things can happen to a horse galloping around the field at home. It’s very sad,” Joe O’Brien said.
“It could have been worse, Ryan (Moore) could have taken a fall off him, someone could have been seriously injured.”