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.”


Meet the Saudi Arabian businessman shaping squash’s Olympic dream

Updated 14 November 2018
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Meet the Saudi Arabian businessman shaping squash’s Olympic dream

LONDON: A Saudi Arabian businessman is driving the bid to get squash included in the Olympics for the first time.
The World Squash Federation has petitioned three times for squash to join the Games, but each bid has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The decision has prompted frustration in the squash community, particularly as sports such as climbing, surfing and skateboarding have been admitted.
Ziad Al-Turki is the Chairman of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and has done wonders in marketing the game and broadening its appeal. He is now pushing hard for the game to be showcased on the biggest stage of all at the 2024 Olympics Games in Paris.
Squash has huge global appeal, with the men’s singles final in the last Commonwealth Games attracting a TV audience of more than one million.
“Everyone’s ultimate goal is the Olympics,” said Al-Turki. “The main push comes from the World Squash Federation (WSF) and for many years they were stuck in their ways. We changed a lot at the PSA and ticked every box with the IOC. The WSF just stayed stagnant and didn’t do anything. They didn’t want to put our hand in their hand and work together.”
Relations between the PSA and the WSF came to a head in 2015 in the wake of squash losing out to wrestling for a spot at the 2020 Olympics. A statement from the PSA described the then president of WSF, Narayana Ramachandran, as an “embarrassment to the sport.”
“Nothing could happen with the president of the WSF. Nothing would change. It was just a one-man show. We tried to help but he wouldn’t accept any help,” Al-Turki said. “We have a new president now and they are all very keen,” he added.
Jacques Fontaine is the new president and at his coronation in 2016 he encouragingly said “the Olympic agenda remains a priority.”
“The WSF love the sport and they understand the needs of the IOC,” said Al-Turki.
“They understand the PSA is at a completely different level to the WSF and we’ve now joined forces and are working together. Hopefully 2024 will be the year squash is in the Olympics. Right now, the way we are working together is the strongest collaboration ever and hopefully we can tick all the boxes for the IOC.
“We ticked all the right bodies as a professional association but the WSF didn’t. Now they are putting their hands in ours and we will tick all the right boxes for the ICO.”
Al-Turki, once described as the Bernie Ecclestone of squash, has certainly transformed the sport since he took up office in 2008.
“When I joined the PSA we didn’t have any media coverage,” he said. “Right now we are live in 154 countries. the women’s tour has just grown stronger and stronger — the income has gone up by 74 percent.
“I just love the squash players. I think they are incredible athletes are are some of the fittest athletes in the world. I felt they deserved better and I wanted them to have better.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to reach the levels of football and tennis in terms of exposure and prize money, but I want to reach a level where they will retire comfortably. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world right now.
“It’s all about the player and their well being. Nick Matthew retired recently and I think he’s retired comfortably. I think I’ve contributed to this as the income has improved. That’s all I want – nothing more.”