Britain's Cross Counter grabs first Melbourne Cup for Godolphin

James Mc Donald will ride Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan

Thirty years of persistence, patience and conviction had their spectacular reward when Cross Counter won the G1 Melbourne Cup for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Godolphin and Darley at Flemington, Australia, on Tuesday.

The Charlie Appleby-trained gelding stormed down the straight from the outside to haul in runner-up and last year's favourite Marmelo, with A Prince of Arran coming third in the A$7.3 million (nearly $NZ8 million) handicap at Flemington racecourse.

One of the most influential racing operations in the world, the Sheikh Mohammed-backed stable has been trying to win the Melbourne Cup since 1998.

And for everyone doing an office sweep, the last horse in the Cup was Red Cardinal.

The race was marred by a 35-meeting suspension handed to Hugh Bowman for riding offences on the runner-up, and Aidan O'Brien's The Cliffsofmoher being put down after sustaining a serious leg injury in the early stages of a race which saw three-year-old Cross Counter held up in rear before swooping late.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy celebrated his third win in the grueling two-mile race, drawing level with active jockeys Damien Oliver and Glen Boss.

Yucatan, by the Irish sire Galileo out of the French mare Six Perfections, leads a strong foreign challenge for the 2018 Cup in which 11 of 24 runners are from the northern hemisphere.

"Our thoughts are with animal lovers across the country who have been affected by this loss, and confronted by the very real risks posed by racing to the horses involved", Speechly added.

Eddie Jones backs Owen Farrell to avoid citing
Shields represented New Zealand at Under-20s level but is now an integral part of head coach Jones' England set-up. He said: "We know they're going to have an ideal preparation for the game; they'll be up for the game".

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

"I'm getting wet here but I don't give a stuff because I'm enjoying winning my third Melbourne Cup", McEvoy said.

"This is all down to Sheikh Mohammed", said Appleby.

The Cliffsofmoher's death follows several other tragic incidents in recent years on Cup day.

O'Brien's son Joseph, who trained Melbourne Cup victor Rekindling previous year, said The Cliffofmoher's death was "very sad". "It was the Derby and the Melbourne Cup so I'm just so thrilled to have been able to do that".

"We've been competitive, but we've learnt more on each trip about what will make us more competitive", he said. "Melbourne see you next year", Fellowes, who is the chairman of Newmarket Open Weekend, wrote on Twitter after the race.

The track was downgraded from good to a Heavy 8 before the rain passed, allowing the course to come back to a Soft 6 at race time.

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