Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed was ‘behind Melbourne Cup victory plan’ of Cross Counter, says winning trainer Charlie Appleby

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Kerrin McEvoy leads Cross Counter to Melbourne Cup glory. (AFP)
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Updated 07 November 2018
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Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed was ‘behind Melbourne Cup victory plan’ of Cross Counter, says winning trainer Charlie Appleby

  • Ruler of Dubai was instrumental in the plan that saw Cross Counter claim Godolphin's first ever Melbourne Cup victory.
  • Appleby and McEvoy pay tribute to the team behind the four-year-old stayer.

LONDON: Charlie Appleby has revealed that Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai, was key in the planning that resulted in Cross Counter winning Godolphin’s 
first Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
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.” But having seen the English stayer, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, reach the winning post ahead of an impressive field at Flemington race track, the winning trainer revealed that Sheikh Mohammed had been involved in the planning of Cross Counter’s Cup campaign right from the start.
“His Highness could see a trend developing where young improving stayers from Europe would be ideally suited by the Melbourne Cup, and Cross Counter fitted that description perfectly,” Appleby said a day after the triumph.
“The plan was a good one, and despite heavy rain early in the day, it all went well. The horse is a very good stayer, with a mature mind for his age and experience,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed had been trying for 30 years to win “the race that stops a nation,” with Faithful Son Godolphin’s first runner 20 years ago. 
The famous stable has won almost every big race going but the Melbourne Cup had continued to elude them.
Appleby admitted on Tuesday that winning the race for the Dubai outfit ticked off a box on his bucket list, but while the English trainer was able to bask in the glory of victory, he was later also quick to praise his boss and the team.
“This is all for Sheikh Mohammed and the royal family and 
Godolphin, and for me to say thank you for giving me this opportunity,” he said.
“I’m just in the very fortunate position to have a great team behind me.”

Winning trainer Appleby said the win ticked of an "item on his bucket list." 


It was a great run by the horse and McEvoy. They had settled among the last few and stayed there until McEvoy called on him at the 800m.
Appleby said that he thought they had perhaps left themselves too much to do.
“When I saw him down the back I thought he had to do a lot,” the trainer said.
“And when he was making his run, I thought turning in that if he finds the gap then this horse has got the gears to pick up.”
McEvoy, like Appleby, was quick to praise Sheikh Mohammed. The win gave the Australian his third Cup win, but it was Sheikh Mohammed who gave him his first chance in the race, putting him on Beekeeper who finished third in 2002, and that ride led to McEvoy joining Godolphin.
“It’s such a huge thrill to win this for Sheikh Mohammed, to repay the faith that he showed in me,” McEvoy said.
The win Down Under was only Cross Counter’s eighth run and it came only 11 months after his debut.
But it was his win in an Ascot in a three-year-old handicap in July that made Melbourne a possibility and it was a strategy that did not disappoint.
Cross Counter’s plans for 2019 will be formulated once he gets back to Dubai for his winter break.


Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

Updated 19 May 2019
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Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

  • The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland
  • The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter

LOS ANGELES: Draymond Green exploded for a seventh career playoff triple-double Saturday as the Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland and a 3-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.
The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter, but with Green driving them they produced another dominant third period to seize control of the contest and the series.
No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win an NBA playoff series. The Trail Blazers will try to fend off elimination when they host game four on Monday.
Green scored 20 points with 13 rebounds and 12 assists, keeping the Warriors afloat in the first half before superstar Stephen Curry came alive with 21 of his 36 points after the interval.
“There aren’t many guys in the game that can (affect both ends of the floor),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green beforehand. “Draymond can do both.”
His intensity was on display on both ends of the court, and on the sidelines as he exhorted teammates to keep pushing.
Klay Thompson added 19 points for the Warriors, who were again without injured star Kevin Durant.
“All my teammates, my coaches have been telling me, ‘Draymond, get to the hole, be aggressive,’” Green said of his mindset.
“We’ve got guys out there, Steph, Klay and those guys who draw a lot of attention, so it’s on me to do my job and come through for those guys.”
CJ McCollum led Portland with 23 points. Damian Lillard, relentlessly double-teamed by the Warriors, added 19 points.
Center Meyers Leonard, making just his third start of the season, finished with 16 points.
Leonard made the most of his opportunity early, connecting on five of seven shots from the field in the first half on the way to 13 points.
The Trail Blazers, energized in front of a rowdy home crowd at the Moda Center, quickly built a 10-point lead before the Warriors trimmed it to two — 29-27 — at the end of the first quarter.
But the Blazers kept the pressure on, stretching the lead to 18 in the second quarter.
A steal by Lillard produced a thunderous dunk from Leonard, then Portland’s Seth Curry stole the ball from his superstar brother Stephen and raced for a three-pointer that made it 60-42 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.
Portland took a 66-53 lead into the locker room, but the Warriors responded with a monster third quarter, using a 22-6 scoring run to take their first lead of the game, 77-76 on a layup by Kevin Looney — assisted by Green.
Golden State out-scored Portland 29-13 in the quarter to lead by three heading into the final frame.
The Warriors pushed the lead to 11 with 4:51 remaining and the Trail Blazers wouldn’t get the deficit below eight from there.