Melbourne Cup 'tragedy' as horse reportedly put down

Heather Diaz
November 9, 2018

When Cross Counter surged past the line ahead of Marmelo (second) and A Prince of Arran (third), it marked a historic win for one of Australian racing's most iconic figures, even if he's never sighted at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.

It was the first win for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Godolphin, who have been trying to crack the Melbourne Cup since first trying with Faithful Son in 1998.

Wagering data from last year's Melbourne Cup Day showed that, in the immediate lead-up to the main race, a peak of 850 bets a second were being placed through Sportsbet.

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

Racing Victoria has confirmed the four-year-old bay stallion was euthanised after suffering a fractured right shoulder during the race.

One of sport's greatest hoodoos is no more and the billion-dollar Sheikh, whose earliest memory was galloping through the desert on a white stallion with his father, can finally say he is a Melbourne Cup victor.

"I was travelling back from somewhere when I heard about it and my first impression was "oh God", Appleby said.

"Full credit to Charlie Appleby and the team and it's a huge thrill to win Sheikh Mohammed's first Melbourne Cup".

Speaking afterwards, Appleby said: "This is everybody's dream".

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"So I can't believe it".

And when he did, the relatively inexperienced Cross Counter rounded up a field of seasoned stayers and ran away from them to win by a length from Marmelo, with A Prince Of Arran in third place.

"I'm just in the very fortunate position to have a great team behind me".

A Kiwi punter has won nearly $100,000 after splurging out on the Melbourne Cup victor Cross Counter, but has been eclipsed by an Australian who has won A$500,000.

But Charlie Appleby insisted the Sheikh had remained patient and unflustered - and that helped lay the foundations for Cross Counter's 2018 win.

"I think we certainly should consider it", he said. With the cost of training a thoroughbred averaging around £20,000 ($26,000) a year, that means it may have spent as much as £4.8 million on getting the animals race ready.

"This was an unfortunate incident that happens infrequently, with Victoria having one of the best safety records in world racing", Jamie Stier, Racing Victoria's manager of integrity services, said in a statement.

His death comes after Verema (2013), Admire Rakti and Araldo (2014) and Red Cadeaux (2015) suffered injuries either during or immediately after previous Melbourne cups.

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