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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Best Solution, Cross Counter and Avilius are Godolphin's victory hopes for Melbourne Cup

Best Solution, Cross Counter and Avilius will all run in the blue silks in Tuesday's race that starts at 9am UAE time

Cross Counter is among the three challengers from Godolphin at the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. Michael Dodge
Cross Counter is among the three challengers from Godolphin at the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. Michael Dodge

BREAKING: Cross Counter wins the Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is the one big prize in horse racing that has eluded Godolphin over the years.

But the Dubai racing operation have three horses competing on Tuesday at the Flemington racecourse, with the race starting at 9am UAE time, that they hope will end their victory wait.

Their trio are being prepared by three different trainers in the shape of Best Solution (trained by Saeed bin Suroor), Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby), and Avilius (James Cummings).

Best Solution goes in to the A$7 million (Dh18.5m) Group 1 contest over the 3,200-metre trip having won four races on the trot, and the last three Group 1 prizes, including the Caulfield Cup in Australia three weeks ago.

“He is the right horse for the Melbourne Cup, he is very fit and he has held his form since he won the Caulfield Cup,” Bin Suroor said.

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“Best Solution is a good horse and he can give Sheikh Mohammed a great chance in the race.”

Bin Suroor came closest to landing the Melbourne Cup with runners up Central Park (in 1998), Give The Slip (2001) and Crime Scene (2009), and now Best Solution ridden by Pat Cosgrave has provided renewed hopes for the Emirati.

Appleby, who saddled the first Epsom Derby winner with Masar in the Godolphin silks in June, quietly fancies the chances of Cross Counter with the Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy riding.

“He’s a horse who is on an upward path, he’s in form and apart from one incident, he’s been come along nicely in Melbourne,” he said.

Cross Counter suffered a was a cut on a hind leg which healed well and barely interfered with colt’s preparation for a race which would be a highlight of a successful season for Appleby.

“We’ve had plenty of success in Australia and it’s been a great year at home and abroad for Sheikh Mohammed and our team,” said the Briton.

“But to win the Melbourne Cup would be a fantastic feat for the entire organisation.”

Avilius under Glyn Schofield completes the Godolphin trio in the race. The four-year-old gelding formerly trained by Andre Fabre in France appears to have settled down well in Australia.

He won four times for Australian trainer Cummings before running fourth to Winx, the Australian wonder mare who has won 29 consecutive stakes races, in his last start in the Group 1 WS Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

Joining the Godolphin runners is Muntaha in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid. The five-year-old gelding comes into contention on the back of his victory in the Ebor Handicap at York in his last start on August 25.

BREAKING: Cross Counter wins the Melbourne Cup