STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Godolphin's Cross Counter wins Australia's rain-soaked Melbourne Cup

Godolphin's Cross Counter has won Australia's most prestigious horse race, the Melbourne Cup, setting a seri...

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 12:02 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2018 12:02 PM

Godolphin's Cross Counter has won Australia's most prestigious horse race, the Melbourne Cup, setting a series of firsts but giving jockey Kerrin McEvoy his third Cup trophy.

The British-bred horse saw off rivals in a field of 24 to take the Cup, the annual blockbuster event at Flemington Racecourse that this year was drenched by heavy rain that soaked spectators and the 3200-meter (two mile) track.

Equestrian sports

Horse racing

Sports and recreation

Severe weather

Weather

Animals

Australia

Continents and regions

Equestrian events

Horses

Life forms

Mammals

Melbourne Cup

Oceania

Sports events

Europe

Northern Europe

United Kingdom

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Cross Counter became the first English-trained horse to win the race, taking the top prize of $2.8 million. With Marmelo finishing second and A Prince of Arran coming third, it was an all-English podium finish.

It was also first win for Godolphin, the mega-stable founded by the Vice President of the UAE and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"It's great to be stood here and it's fantastic for Godolphin," Appleby told CNN affiliate Seven News Australia after Cross Counter and McEvoy's win.

"He made a beautiful move around the outside, down the back straight there, got himself into contention. He just needed the gaps there, that's all he needed."

As the first British trainer to win, he said: "I'm so lucky... to be in this position to be able to train these horses. I'm just delighted that I can repay his Highness Sheikh Mohammed for putting me in this position, and trusting me in the position to do what I'm doing. It's just great for the team."

Irish horse ThecliffsofMoher, ridden by Ryan Moore, pulled up lame during the race and was later euthanized, the Australian RSPCA confirmed. It was the sixth horse to die in the race since 2013, the tweet from the anti-animal cruelty organization noted.

Ahead of the race, Aidan O'Brien-trained Yucatan, owned by six-time Melbourne Cup winner Lloyd Williams, was strong favorite but the sodden conditions threw the form book out the window. Godolphin's Cross Counter, a four-year-old gelding with just seven race starts, along with another British challenger Magic Circle, trained by Ian Williams, took most of the punters' money in the minutes ahead of the race.

Heavy rain slowed progress on the track and created challenging conditions in the stands, with Australian media reporting that the roofs had collapsed of some facilities at Flemington.

Temporary boardwalks had to be laid down to save punters' shoes from the rising floodwaters at Flemington's world-famous Birdcage, but the skies had cleared by the time the main event came around at 3 p.m. local time (12 a.m ET).

'Crazy' conditions

Ahead of the Bumble Stakes warm-up race, jockey Beau Mertens said the conditions were "crazy" and that visibility was severely limited by the downpour.

"There's a lot of surface water and I couldn't see too many meters in front of me," he told the official Flemington website.

"(They are) crazy conditions. Craziest conditions I've ridden in. I think I've got a kilo of water in each boot."

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Efron told CNN affiliate Seven News that almost 18mm of rain fell in the area in the four hours leading up to 11 a.m.

The rain caused delays to races two and three, and also to trains bringing racing fans to the course, according to tweets from Melbourne's public transport network.

Nearby Flemington Station had been shut down and racegoers were advised to walk from the Showground station, 20 minutes away, the ABC's Nathan Stitt reported on Twitter.

The Australian's Rachel Baxendale also tweeted that flooding around the racecourse had slowed traffic to "a snail's pace."

Growing opposition

The Melbourne Cup has a long tradition in Australia as on of the few horse races to attract the nation's attention.

The event has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, with a growing number of Australians boycotting the Cup on animal cruelty grounds. A hotel in Sydney has faced both backlash and praise for hosting an anti-Melbourne Cup event, News.com.au reported.

Protesters used the opportunity on Tuesday to highlight animal rights and the country's treatment of refugees.

The Cup dates back to 1865 and was the result of a rivalry between two horse race organizing committees -- the Victorian Jockey Club and the Victorian Turf Club, with the latter introducing the event as a handicap race. While it's now famously run on the first Tuesday of November, it wasn't until 10 years after its inauguration that the date became the tradition. It's since become the defining fixture of the Australian horse racing calendar.

While the first Cup was won in 1865, the race was originally run four years earlier -- but the winner only received prizes and a cash purse. The winner of the first Cup, Mr Marshall, owner of Tory Boy, described it as a "monstrosity," according to the National Museum of Australia.

Outlandish celebration avoided

The Melbourne Cup has long eluded British trainers, and while Magic Circle had a good opportunity to break the spell, it was another UK-based horse that took that honor.

Magic Circle, a pre-race favorite, was already a six-time winner when he joined Williams' 100-strong string at Dominion Stables and looked the part for the British trainer and owner Marwan Koukash after claiming stellar victories in the Chester Cup and at Sandown this season before booking his place in Tuesday's headline event at Flemington.

Williams has already entered the history books by becoming the first trainer to win at every racecourse -- Flat or jump racing -- in the UK, but came up short with Magic Circle, a six-year-old gelding he bought last October for Koukash, a former refugee from the Middle East who has built up a multimillion dollar business in England's northwest.

Cross Counter's win has spared Melburnians the sight of Koukash's outlandish planned celebration.

"I fit into my G-string now," Koukash told racing.com three days before the race.

"When we win nobody at Flemington is going to stop me providing the best or most colorful celebrations we've ever had or likely to have.

"I'm going to take off my clothes off, keep my tie and thong and shoes socks on. I know they're going to employ security, but I know how to evade them and I'm going to deliver."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 447349

Reported Deaths: 6007
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin929301478
Ramsey39917738
Dakota32945340
Anoka30935364
Washington20116227
Stearns17847187
St. Louis13658241
Scott1193296
Wright11598104
Olmsted1045075
Sherburne820665
Carver693436
Clay651680
Rice605268
Kandiyohi553671
Blue Earth539933
Crow Wing482574
Otter Tail456367
Chisago452032
Benton419586
Winona388046
Douglas373966
Nobles369646
Mower364729
Goodhue346858
Polk328256
McLeod324745
Morrison311544
Beltrami309947
Lyon301136
Becker284639
Itasca284543
Isanti282441
Carlton279443
Steele27279
Pine266613
Freeborn244621
Todd231730
Nicollet224036
Brown214734
Mille Lacs214046
Le Sueur209415
Cass207623
Meeker199433
Waseca188916
Wabasha17023
Martin169926
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
Redwood139627
Renville137239
Houston135613
Dodge13434
Chippewa131032
Cottonwood127018
Fillmore12315
Wadena119916
Rock110112
Sibley10847
Aitkin108033
Watonwan10638
Faribault105716
Pennington99215
Kanabec97418
Pipestone94023
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85310
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70315
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63615
Wilkin6249
Koochiching59510
Lincoln4831
Big Stone4563
Unassigned44168
Grant4298
Norman4238
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3164
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1931
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304391

Reported Deaths: 4270
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45574448
Linn17742274
Scott15414163
Black Hawk13696236
Woodbury12968175
Johnson1207549
Dubuque11348150
Pottawattamie8959112
Dallas885171
Story865434
Webster468271
Cerro Gordo464768
Sioux454456
Clinton449461
Warren440738
Marshall426561
Buena Vista392329
Muscatine388477
Des Moines381041
Plymouth349768
Wapello342398
Jasper321258
Lee315830
Marion303852
Jones270649
Henry263830
Carroll253934
Bremer242648
Crawford229422
Boone217017
Washington216831
Benton209244
Mahaska191836
Jackson191431
Tama186657
Dickinson185026
Delaware173036
Kossuth172143
Clay167319
Wright163624
Fayette161122
Buchanan159123
Hamilton158729
Winneshiek155219
Harrison154862
Hardin154429
Cedar152519
Clayton151348
Butler147324
Page144215
Floyd138836
Cherokee138427
Mills136216
Lyon134832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129824
Allamakee127627
Iowa124322
Calhoun12209
Grundy120526
Jefferson120124
Madison11999
Winnebago118729
Mitchell116134
Louisa114730
Cass112841
Chickasaw110912
Sac110915
Emmet110431
Appanoose110138
Union108222
Humboldt105319
Guthrie102924
Shelby102126
Franklin101718
Unassigned9230
Palo Alto9049
Keokuk84926
Montgomery84822
Howard83119
Monroe80918
Clarke7927
Pocahontas77611
Ida74130
Davis69121
Greene6917
Adair68720
Lucas6488
Monona64016
Osceola6389
Worth6063
Taylor5919
Fremont5086
Van Buren49612
Decatur4824
Ringgold4289
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2953
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: -1°
Feels Like: -13°
Mason City
Clear
wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: -12°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 0°
Feels Like: -9°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: -1°
Feels Like: -11°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: -12°
Get ready for a midweek warm-up!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events