Melbourne Cup: Cross Counter trainer Charlie Appleby savours win in Australian race

Winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy and trainer Charlie Appleby after Cross Counter's Melbourne Cup win
Winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy and trainer Charlie Appleby after Cross Counter's Melbourne Cup win

Charlie Appleby savoured an "amazing" year after becoming the first British trainer to win the Melbourne Cup.

Cross Counter, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, led a British 1-2-3 in the 158th running of the Flemington contest.

It was also a first win in the race for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin team, for whom Appleby saddled Masar to their maiden Derby win at Epsom in June.

"Coming over here it was a big thing on our bucket list," said the 43-year-old Englishman, who trains in Newmarket.

Appleby has progressed from stable boy and head lad to helping revive one of flat racing's superpowers.

Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, promoted him in 2013 when trainer Mahmood al Zarooni was given an eight-year ban after a doping scandal.

"When I was lucky enough to get the job, I said there were two things I wanted to do - win the Derby and the Melbourne Cup," he said.

"I'd like to say I was going to repeat it, but it's going to be a pretty tall order.

"This is a race we have been trying to win for years and I'm just fortunate to turn up with the right horse.

"This is huge for everybody. It's a dream. It has just been one of those amazing years."

Kerrin McEvoy wins the Melbourne Cup on Cross Counter
Jockey McEvoy celebrates his third Melbourne Cup win

The 8-1 chance Cross Counter, who broke the track record when winning the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in the summer, won by a length from the Hughie Morrison-trained Marmelo, with A Prince Of Arran third for Charlie Fellowes.

"Charlie Appleby has done the most unbelievable job this year, huge credit to him and his team. It's great that an English trainer has finally won this race," said Fellowes.

'I gave him a blank page'

Victory in the race worth A$7.3m (£4m) was a 12th triumph at the top Group One level in 2018 for Appleby - and those wins have been achieved in seven countries.

It comes four days after he claimed the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in the United States with Line Of Duty.

"I'm just lucky to be in a position to train these horses," said Appleby.

"With Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle I just gave him a blank page and said 'ride it as you find it'."

McEvoy had to use his renowned nous to avoid serious trouble as Irish challenger The Cliffsofmoher suffered a fatal injury early in the race.

He timed his charge to perfection, taking the lead in the final strides for a third Melbourne Cup victory, with his family set to benefit from his slice of the prize money estimated at $200,000 (£110,000).

"I promised (my four kids) a swimming pool. And (wife) Cathy and myself have been looking around for a bigger house," said the 38-year-old.

McEvoy was one of five jockeys to be fined - in his case A$3,000 (£1,650) - for breaching the whip rules.

Fellow Australian Hugh Bowman, the rider of runner-up Marmelo, was given a 35-meeting ban for careless riding, excessive whip use and weighing in overweight.

Melbourne Cup finishing order: 1 Cross Counter 8-1, 2 Marmelo 11-1, 3 A Prince Of Arran 20-1, 4 Finche 25-1 , 5 Rostropovich, 6 Youngstar, 7 Sir Charles Road, 8 Best Solution

9 Muntahaa, 10 Ventura Storm, 11 Yucatan, 12 Nakeeta, 13 Zacada, 14 Chestnut Coat, 15 Vengeur Masque, 16 Magic Circle

17 Who Shot Thebarman, 18 Sound Check, 19 Runaway, 20 Ace High, 21 Auvray, 22 Avilius, 23 Red Cardinal 24 The Cliffsofmoher (did not finish)