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Sheikh’s delight over Melbourne Cup win

Charlie Appleby, Cross Counter
Charlie Appleby says he hasn’t yet thought about becoming the first English trainer to win the Cup.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed was quick to congratulate the trainer who finally ended his 30-year quest for a Melbourne Cup.

In Arabic, he told Charlie Appleby: “Well done. Well done. Well done.”

Sheikh Mohammed spoke regularly with Appleby over the past few months as they formulated the plan to get Cross Counter in the $7.3 million Melbourne Cup.

The head of Dubai’s royal family rang the trainer soon after winning the race that had eluded him for three decades.

“He was delighted,” Appleby said on Wednesday.

“It’s a race we’ve been trying to win for many years now.”

One of the world’s richest men, Sheikh Mohammed first tried to win the Melbourne Cup in 1988.

Since 1998 he has targeted the race through his Godolphin operation, the world’s largest thoroughbred racing and breeding operation.

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Appleby has not had time to think about becoming the first English trainer of a Melbourne Cup winner, with his focus on the significance of the win for Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin.

“To get the job done, it was just a great achievement by the whole team but more importantly the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to get this team of horses and put us out there to go and take on the world.

“To get the results that we’re getting at the moment has just been phenomenal.”

The victory by Cross Counter notched up 30 Group One wins for Godolphin worldwide this year.

For jockey Kerrin McEvoy, winning a third Melbourne Cup was unbelievable.

“I’m just blessed to be able to get one, let alone three.”

Godolphin’s other two Cup runners were unplaced, as the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Best Solution did not jump with the field and lost six lengths at the start of the race.

Avilius, trained by Australian James Cummings, was nearly savaged early on by Marmelo (who finished second) and then faltered when The Cliffsofmoher broke down.

Raced by Lloyd Williams and trained by Irish champion Aidan O’Brien, The Cliffsofmoher had to be put down, the fourth time in the past six years that the Cup has been shrouded by the death of horses.

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