Foreign raiders set sights on Australia’s Melbourne Cup

Ross Houston
November 8, 2018

Ahead of the race, Aidan O'Brien-trained Yucatan, owned by six-time Melbourne Cup victor Lloyd Williams, was strong favorite but the sodden conditions threw the form book out the window.

The idea that Sheikh Mohammed is heavily involved in the Dubai-based stable is nothing new - passionate about horses and the team, he is known as a hands-on leader of the "Boys in Blue".

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is finally a big victor.

"Cliffsofmoher was spotted looking very agitated moments before the start and has now been killed after fracturing his right shoulder in the Melbourne Cup".

Cross Counter, trained by Charlie Appleby and quoted at 10-1, gets in at a light weight but will be having only its eighth start.

"First and foremost this is for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin".

It was also a first win in the race for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin team, for whom Appleby saddled Masar to their maiden Derby win at Epsom in June. "I'm over the moon".

Marmelo, with Winx's jockey Hugh Bowman aboard, saved ground on the inside from back in the field turning for home and then hit the front inside the final 200m before the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter charged by him late to win by a length.

The British-bred horse saw off rivals in a field of 24 to take the Cup, the annual blockbuster event at Flemington Racecourse that this year was drenched by heavy rain that soaked spectators and the 3200-meter (two mile) track. Godolphin has won hundreds of Group I races around the world but before today had never won the big one in Australia, despite more than 20 attempts.

"This is all for Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin, and for me to say thank you for giving me this opportunity".

Fellow British runners Marmelo and A Prince of Arran finished second and third respectively in the race. "It's been a very memorable day".

Viewers reacted in horror after the Melbourne Cup hopeful pulled up lame in a mid-race mishap.

Japanese thoroughbred Admire Rakti also died in 2014 after collapsing in his stall after the race, while Araldo was put down after being spooked by a spectator and breaking a hind leg.

This year, Sheikh Mohammed had three runners in the Melbourne Cup, spread across his three training operations headed by Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor in the United Kingdom and UAE and James Cummings in Australia. "We had plenty of trips away and some good times on the track".

Cross Counter spent a week sidelined after a cut reduced the gelding to box rest and walking duties overcoming the hiccup.

"We were lucky to get through, said McEvoy, who won the Melbourne Cup for the third time".

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