Wet day expected at Melbourne Cup


Godolphin's rising star Cross Counter won Australia's greatest staying race (3200m) on Tuesday from fellow raiders Marmelo (second) and A Prince of Arran (third), handing the Europeans a trifecta in the Group 1 feature.

The win also represented another first: the breaking of Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's 30-year drought at the race.

And for everyone doing an office sweep, the last horse in the Cup was Red Cardinal.

But there was sadness among the 100,000-strong crowd with Irish five-year-old The CliffsofMoher, ridden by champion jockey Ryan Moore, euthanised after suffering a fractured right shoulder early in the race.

Before today, the mega stable had come away with just three second places and two thirds in the Cup.

Godolphin's Cross Counter has won Australia's most prestigious horse race, the Melbourne Cup, setting a series of firsts but giving jockey Kerrin McEvoy his third Cup trophy.

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The stallion was euthanized after fracturing his right shoulder during the first 600 metres of the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse on November 6, Australia's ABC news reported.

Melbourne Cup day has proved a lethal undertaking for runners in recent years, with six horses killed after complications since 2013.

"I'm just lucky I can ride light and he's been unbelievably well prepared by Charlie Appleby".

"It's sinking in now", Appleby said afterwards.

In the final 300 metres Cross Counter first passed the Charlie Fellowes-trained A Prince Of Arran, before edging out the fast-finishing Hughie Morrison's Marmelo to win by a length. "And if you didn't have Winx, I mean, crikey, just think how you'd be crying!"

McEvoy's win on the 9-1 shot followed his Melbourne Cup triumphs on Almandin in 2016 and Brew in 2000.

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Sheikh Mohammed spoke regularly with Appleby over the past few months as they formulated the plan to get Cross Counter in the $7.3 million Melbourne Cup.

I've spoken to his highness (Sheikh Mohammed) and he's over the moon about this result - it's a challenge that's been a long road.

So important is the race that it is a public holiday in the state where it is held - Victoria - although it has not enjoyed its usual central focus during the annual spring carnival this year.

"People under pressure make rash decisions, I hope we're making the right decisions now".

Sheikh Mohammed's personal Melbourne Cup drought had stretched three decades back to 1988 when he was first represented in the Cup by Authaal, trained by the late Colin Hayes, which finished 19th.

"This was an unfortunate incident that happens infrequently, with Victoria having one of the best safety records in world racing", Jamie Stier, Racing Victoria's manager of integrity services, said in a statement.

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