Newmarket-based trainer Charlie Appleby has enjoyed a remarkable year and today (6 November) added the Melbourne Cup to his Derby victory in June.
When Masar won the Investec Derby at Epsom in the summer, Charlie was providing powerhouse Godolphin with a first success in the English Classic. It was the same famous blue silks that dominated the “race that stops a nation” in Australia — a first Melbourne Cup victory for Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed and the first British-trained horse to win.
Carrying just eight stone, the three-year-old Cross Counter was given an inspiring ride by Aussie jockey Kerrin McEvoy, coming from the back of the 24-runner field and flying home with an impressive charge.
The last Melbourne Cup winner from this side of the globe was 25 years ago when Irish trainer Dermot Weld’s Vintage Crop triumphed.
It may have taken a quarter of a century to prove it can be done again, but British trainers dominated this year’s Group One contest, with a remarkable one-two-three — courtesy also of Marmelo (Hughie Morrison) in second and A Prince Of Arran (Charlie Fellowes) in third.
“I am delighted — this is everybody’s dream,” said Charlie afterwards. “It is all down to Sheikh Mohammed, he’s the one who has given us the encouragement to take the chances in what we do.
“We have campaigned this race over the past three years and we have been competitive, but we have learned a lot each time about what it takes to win on a big day like this,” he added.
“Coming into the race today, Cross Counter ticked a lot of the boxes [despite a minor setback during preparation]. I thought turning in for home, if he finds the gap he has the gears to pick up. This is all for Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin. I’ve just been in the fortunate position to have a great team behind me.
“It has been a learning curve [finding the right horse for the race], but I am lucky to have the horses to make the call on which one to bring over and thank the Lord we brought the right one over for today.”