cross counter

Cross Counter Horse

2018 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter has won over £3 million in prize money for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin since making a low-key racecourse debut at Wolverhampton back in December 2017.

Foaled on April 5, 2015 by champion two-year-old Teofilo out of Kingmambo mare Waitress, Cross Counter was initially a middle-distance horse as a three-year-old before markedly improving for the step up in trip.

He has since won the Group 3 Gordon Stakes, Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup, with £2.45 million going to the winning owners for that success alone.

Successes by Cross Counter

His early runs did not suggest that Godolphin had a potential Group 1 stayer on their hands. As a big backward two-year-old, he made a winning debut at Wolverhampton in December 2017, beating fellow Godolphin horse Kaser despite being relatively unfancied in the market at 7/2.

He would repeat the trick six weeks later, claiming another novice stakes at Wolverhampton under Adam Kirby - this time at more prohibitive odds of 4/9.

Cross Counter would not be seen again until June 2018 when making his turf debut at Sandown, finishing a decent second behind Elwazir over what proved to be an inadequate 10-furlong trip.

A good fourth in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot followed before winning back at the Berkshire course in July 2018 and Cross Counter built on that in August by claiming a first Group success in the Qatar Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. With Godolphin’s retained rider William Buick on board, he made all of the running before pulling four lengths clear of the Epsom Derby second Dee Ex Bee, trained by Mark Johnston.

That victory put him firmly in Melbourne Cup contention before he was narrowly edged out of Group 2 glory in the Great Voltiguer Stakes at York by stablemate and fellow Godolphin horse Old Persian, with the likes of Aidan O’Brien duo Kew Gardens and The Pentagon in behind.

Cross Counter Melbourne Cup

That excellent run on the Knavesmire was the perfect preparation for an ambitious international raid in the Melbourne Cup, known by many in Australia as ‘the race that stops a nation’.

Run at Flemington Park at 3pm local time on the first Tuesday in November, the 3200-metre (2 miles) handicap race for three-year-olds and older is one of the richest races in racing, boasting total prize money of AU$7.3m.

Cross Counter was fancied in the market at 8/1 for the 2018 running, with only Yucatan for Aidan O’Brien and Ian Williams’ Magic Circle ahead of him in the betting.

He was waited with in the rear in the early stages by Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy, having been posted wide in stall 19, and remained in the final trio until the four-furlong pole.

From there, McEvoy and Cross Counter struggled in traffic problems until he was switched with two furlongs left to run. He picked up gamely under pressure on his first attempt at the marathon distance, flying home to collar fellow British horse Marmelo, trained by Hughie Morrison and ridden by Hugh Bowman, jockey of the all-conquering Winx.

Cross Counter was the first ever British winner of the Melbourne Cup after eight previous second-place finishes. It was a 1-2-3 for the UK, with Marmelo and Prince Of Arran in behind for Charlie Fellowes.

Speaking after the race, trainer Charlie Appleby said: "You can’t realise the delight of winning this race. It is known around the world as a seriously great race and to think we can bring it home to England is incredible.

“We have been trying very hard, but finally we have cracked it... He is a wonderful young horse."

Upcoming entries for Cross Counter

Cross Counter enjoyed a winning seasonal reappearance in 2019, staying on best of all to win the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup by just over a length from another stablemate, Ispolini.

After an 82-day break, he returned to the track at Royal Ascot 2019, finishing fourth behind champion stayer Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup in a blanket finish for the places.

Cross Counter could run in the Goodwood Cup at Glorious Goodwood or the Lonsdale Cup at the Ebor meeting at York before potentially another tilt at the Melbourne Cup.

The 2019 race takes place on Tuesday November 5 at 1500 local time (0400 GMT).

Many bookmakers will be offering free bets and extra places on the Melbourne Cup, so keep your eyes peeled and check for any special offers in the days leading up to the race. Ante-post prices will be widely available in the UK weeks ahead of the big race.

Cross Counter training

Cross Counter is trained at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket by Charlie Appleby, a trainer who has had plenty of international success. He has had Group 1 wins in Canada (Natalma Stakes - La Pelosa), Australia (Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes - Jungle Cat), Ireland (National Stakes - Quorto) and France (Prix de l’Opera - Wild Illusion) but also guided Masar to Epsom Derby glory in 2018.

Adam Kirby in unbeaten on Cross Counter, having won on him in his first two starts as well as success in the Woodford Reserve Handicap in July 2018.

Retained rider William Buick has ridden Cross Counter on five occasions, taking the Gordon Stakes and the Dubai Gold Cup on him. While Buick was missing at Royal Ascot due to injury, fellow retainer James Doyle picked up the ride in the 2019 Gold Cup, finishing fourth.

Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy was on board for Cross Counter’s biggest victory in the 2018 Melbourne Cup. He usually rides in Australia for Godolphin, but has tasted success in Europe, landing the St Leger in 2004 with Rule Of Law and Ibn Khaldun in 2007, both at Doncaster Racecourse.