Godolphin claim first Melbourne Cup as Cross Counter wins at Flemington

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Kerrin McEvoy is overjoyed having ridden Cross Counter to Melbourne Cup glory. (AFP)
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Updated 06 November 2018
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Godolphin claim first Melbourne Cup as Cross Counter wins at Flemington

  • Dubai-based Godolphin wins the 'race that stops a nation' for first time.
  • Jockey Kerrin McEvoy claims famous race for the third time.

MELBOURNE: English stayer Cross Counter, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, gave Dubai-based Godolphin stable its first Melbourne Cup with victory in Australia’s largest and most prestigious horse race on Tuesday.
It was only Cross Counter’s — a four-year-old bay gelding trained by Charlie Appleby and based at Newmarket, England — eighth start, but he had missed a top-two finish only once.
Marmelo was second and A Prince of Arran two lengths behind in third.
An English-trained horse had never won the Melbourne Cup, but Tuesday’s result gave England a 1-2-3 finish — Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo and Charlie Fellowes’ A Prince of Arran joining Appleby.
The winner stormed down from the outside in the final several hundred meters for a length victory. Cross Counter was third-last on the first turn

McEvoy and Cross Counter run past the winning post at Flemington race track. 


“We were lucky to get through, said McEvoy, who won the Melbourne Cup for the third time. “What a field to do it in. They (Godolphin) have been striving to win this race for a long time.
“Charlie and myself used to travel to Doncaster and Chester and all of the tracks up north in England, back when I was over there riding, and all of those miles meant this, winning the Melbourne Cup.”
During the trophy presentation, rain which had affected the lead-up to the race again started to fall at Flemington.
“I’m getting wet here but I don’t give a stuff because I’m enjoying winning my third Melbourne Cup,” McEvoy said.
Appleby said the Melbourne Cup had been on his “bucket list for a long time.”
It was the 158th running of the 3,200-meter (two-mile) race and had a purse of $5.3 million.
The forecasted rain arrived early on the day of the Cup, with more than 50 millimeters (2 inches) falling in the hours leading up to the race.
Another Aidan O’Brien horse, Yucatan, had gone off as early favorite, but finished 11th.

Team Godolphin — Jockey Kerrin McEvoy (L), Godolphin CEO Hugh Anderson (C) and trainer Charlie Appleby (R) — hold the cup.


Magic Circle, a stayer which had won its last two starts by a combined margin of 12 lengths, was well-backed at 9-1 but finished 16th in the 24-horse field.
Japan-based Chestnut Coat, trained by Yoshito Yahagi, was 14th.
The race was marred, however, when the Aidan O’Brien-trained The Cliffsofmoher broke down at the winning post the first time around, breaking its right shoulder. The horse was euthanized after the race at Flemington.
The Cliffsofmoher was an Irish horse ridden by English jockey Ryan Moore.
“It is with sadness that we confirm that The Cliffsofmoher had to be humanely euthanized after sustaining a fractured right shoulder,” race track executive general manager Jamie Stier said. “The horse received immediate veterinary care, however it was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained.”
The RSPCA in Australia later tweeted that the horse was the sixth to die in the Melbourne Cup since 2013, and “highlights the very real risks to horses from racing.”


Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world, claims all-rounder Mohammad Nabi

Updated 18 March 2019
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Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world, claims all-rounder Mohammad Nabi

  • Maiden Test win give Afghans confidence they can take on anyone.
  • Mohammad Nabi praises spin kings after win over the Irish.

LONDON: Mohammad Nabi has claimed that on their day Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world.
The veteran all-rounder was speaking after helping his side claim their first Test win — a seven-wicket victory over Ireland — in just their second ever Test. Afghanistan, who lost the debut Test to India in just two days last year, joined an elite list of cricketing nations after winning their second five-day game.
Australia won their debut Test in 1877 and England and Pakistan won in their second Test outing.
That has Nabi dreaming that this is just the start for Afghanistan, s long as the batsmen give the bowling attack enough runs to defend on a consistent basis.
“It’s a very historic day for whole of Afghanistan,” the 34-year-old said. “Especially for those guys who bring cricket from zero to the Test cricket. We played two games and we won one.
“When you win then teams will tell you to come and play with them. Nobody plays a weak team. They might think that Afghanistan is weak but not so much that we can’t fight them.
“We have the world’s best spinners and we try to concentrate on our batting line-up. If we can put up a good score on board then we are confident of beating any team in the world.”
While a case of being able to beat any team in the world might be tough to make, it is hard to overstate the significance of the win against Ireland. As with the Irish Nabi’s team only achieved Test status two years ago, they only played their first ODI in 2009 and the confidence and class is clearly oozing throughout the squad.
Rahmat Shah top-scored with 76 and Ihsanullah Janat hit an unbeaten 65 to lead Afghanistan’s successful chase of 147 in the opening session of day four against Ireland in Dehradun in India.
Shah, who hit his second fifty of the match after making 98 in Afghanistan’s first innings score of 314, and Janat put on a match-winning stand of 139 for the second wicket.
Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan also played a key role in his team’s historic triumph after returning career-best figures of five for 82 to bowl out Ireland for 288 in their second innings.
Khan along with fellow spinners Nabi and Waqar Salamkheil accounted for 14 of the 20 Irish wickets to fall during the one-off match between the minnows.
Since overcoming the odds to compete in the 2010 World T20 in England, the Afghan team has managed to qualify for all the major international tournaments and they now await their second appearance in the upcoming 50-over World Cup.
But Nabi insisted a Test win is always special.
“Every format is different. Test has a different flavour to it. We played a lot of T20 and one-day matches and won but Test win was first,” Nabi said.”The way our guys performed in batting and bowling, the kind of comebacks that we did.... It shows we are ready for Test cricket.”