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."