LONDON: Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter wants to show the Dubai crowd what a brilliant horse he is — that is the message from Charlie Appleby.
The Godolphin trainer was speaking ahead of the four-year-old’s bid to win the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night at Meydan. He is up against nine others in the 3,200m race and Appleby cannot wait to see the Dubai-based stable’s first Melbourne Cup winner put on a display on his home ground.
“Running Cross Counter on Saturday will be an opportunity for His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) to see the horse on the biggest race day in Dubai, and also for Godolphin fans here to give the horse a welcome home,” Appleby said. “It was a very exciting day in Australia and the Melbourne Cup is a race Godolphin had been competing in for over 20 years, so it was a special day.”
Appleby has been pleased with Cross Counter’s preparation for tomorrow’s attempt at Gold Cup glory, and has high hopes for the young stayer.
“He is a class animal and this is his first start of 2019, but he is an exciting horse for this year,” Appleby said. “He is taking on classy stayers this weekend but he is a horse himself who has done really well from three to four and he brings some very strong three-year-old form to the table.”
The excitement surrounding the four-year-old is easy to understand. He has won five of his eight races so far, winning in a track record at Goodwood last summer before his magical run in Melbourne.
“After he won at Ascot we thought he might be a horse for Australia,” Appleby said.
“Once he stepped up and did what he did at Goodwood and broke the track record that day we were pretty confident we were heading down the right rack with the right horse.
“Watching the Melbourne Cup it maybe did look as we had a lot to find in the race, but having Kerrin (McEvoy) in the saddle is a huge bonus.”