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.”


Juan Antonio Pizzi tells Saudi Arabia to improve or forget about beating Japan

Updated 10 min 45 sec ago
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Juan Antonio Pizzi tells Saudi Arabia to improve or forget about beating Japan

  • Green Falcons face tough route to final starting with Japan in the second round on Monday.
  • Coach warns players they have no chance of ultimate glory unless they go up a gear in the UAE.

LONDON: Juan Antonio Pizzi has told his Green Falcons they will have to learn the lessons of their defeat to Qatar if they are to have a chance of beating Japan in the second round.
Pizzi’s players went into the Group E clash already assured of a place in the knockout stages, having beaten North Korea and Lebanon in their first two marches. But the prospect of topping the pool and avoiding four-time champions Japan was still motivation enough to avoid temptation to treat the Qatar match as a dead rubber.
In a lackluster performance — a marked contrast to the energy and creativity of their first two matches — the Green Falcons failed to impose themselves in the game and paid the price when two Almoez Ali goals gave the win and points to Qatar.
That left Pizzi annoyed, warning his players they cannot afford to make the same mistakes against Japan.
“We tried to impose our style of play on Qatar, but our finishing and our ability to make the right decisions at crucial moments were not there tonight,” Pizzi said.
“We were good in the first 30 minutes, but an individual error for the first goal and then another mistake from a set-piece saw us concede twice.
“I am just starting to think of the game versus Japan. As I have stated before, I respect all of the teams that are here and do not feel either superior or inferior to anyone.
“It is now important for us to learn from the mistakes we made against Qatar and perform better when we play Japan.”
The first rule of any tournament is to get through to the knockout stages. That Saudi Arabia have managed that, having failed in the 2011 and 2015 editions, is a success. Add to that the fact they qualified for their first World Cup in 12 years last year, and it is clear that Pizzi’s team is still one on the up.
If there is a positive to take out of the Qatar defeat it is that the side’s first poor performance in the tournament came in a group match having already made it through, rather than in a winner-takes-all encounter such as the one they face against the Blue Samurai in Sharjah on Monday.
“We will bounce back. I don’t feel that we are not as good as (Japan) in any way,” Pizzi said.