Godolphin's Wait is Over - Teofilo's Cross Counter Romps in Melbourne Cup

Mark Smith - Tuesday November 6

After years of frustration Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation finally-claimed the $7 million Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup with the northern hemisphere 3yo gelding Cross Counter (GB) and by any standard, this was one of the greatest performances in the storied history of the race.

From a wide barrier, Kerrin McEvoy elected to ease Cross Counter (GB) across to the fence at the tail of the field but as the son of Teofilo (IRE) was finding his stride, he was baulked from the backwash caused by the stricken The Cliffsofmoher (IRE).

Sadly, The Cliffsofmoher (IRE) broke a shoulder and was euthanized.

The Hughie Morrison-trained Marmelo (GB) was just in front of Cross Counter (GB) in the run. While Hugh Bowman weaved what looked to be a ground saving winning ride on Marmelo (Duke Of Marmalade), McEvoy played the percentages and eased Cross Counter (GB) wide on the turn but he was cannoned around before finding clear air.
His hopes of running down Marmelo (GB) still looked forlorn at the 200 metres however the Charlie Appleby-trained gelding motored home for a convincing win over Marmelo with a game A Prince Of Arran denying Chris Waller's Frankel colt Finche third place. (photos Grant Courtney)

It was the third win in the race for McEvoy after Brew in 2000 and Almandin in 2016, while Appleby became the first English-based trainer to win the famous two-miler.

Making just his eighth career start, Cross Counter (GB) advances his record to 5 wins and 2 seconds with earnings of $4,537,285.

"We were lucky to get through on the first turn, with that horse breaking down. I was back a bit further than I wanted," McEvoy said.

"Godolphin have been huge supporters and what a thrill to bring home the Melbourne Cup in the blue colours.

"I knew that I was full of running, I was on the back of Yucatan who seemed to be empty. At the 400m I said that I had to go my own way, and I was full of running. At the furlong I thought 'mate, is this happening again?'.

"I'm just lucky I can ride light and get on these wonderful horses prepared Godolphin and Charlie Appleby.

"They (Godolphin) have been a huge part of my career, starting with Bee Keeper back in 2002 and then I went overseas to work with Frankie (Dettori), who took me under his wing, and Saeed Bin Suroor and Simon Crissford, working with the A-grade and I learned so much.

"It's a huge thrill to win for Sheikh Mohammed and I can repay the faith he showed in me."

Keeping up his phenomenal record in Australia, Charlie Appleby said it was a momentous result for all at Godolphin.

"It's been on the bucket list for a long time as we know and I'm just fortunate to be in the position of having the right horses.

"This is everybody's dream. It's all down to Sheikh Mohammed.

"He's the one that's given us all the encouragement to take the chances in what we do internationally. We've campaigned over here the last three years now.

"We've been competitive but we've learnt more on each trip what will make us more competitive on the day."

Cross Counter (GB) becomes the 15th Group 1 winner for the former Darley shuttler Teofilo (IRE) whose Group 1 winning sons Kermadec and Palentino will continue his legacy in Australia.

We covered the breeding of Cross Counter extensively in our 'Best On Breeding' so will reproduce that in full here.

Enable assured her place in history as one of the all-time greats when adding Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf to her Arc double but she was made to fight down the length of the Churchill Downs straight by the 3yo filly Magical, which ties in nicely with our Melbourne Cup tip.

Winner of the Group 1 Champion Fillies & Mares at Ascot on October 20, Galileo's Magical and Cross Counter (GB), by Galileo's son Teofilo (IRE), descend from the half-sister's Cassandra Go and Persian Secret who are also half-sisters to that underrated stallion Verglas who won the Coventry Stakes and was runner-up in the Irish 2000 Guineas.

The winner of the winner of the King Stand Stakes and runner-up to Mozart in the July Cup, Cassandra Go (Indian Ridge) far exceeded her half-sister on the track and is setting up a dynasty of her own at stud. That's not to say Persian Secret hasn't added to the family fortunes but just look at what Cassandra Go has achieved in recent years.

Coolmore's decision to invest in three daughters of Cassandra Go has reaped huge dividends.

It began at the Goffs Million in 2005 when John Magnier outlaid €400,000 for the Rock Of Gibraltar filly Theann. At the same sale the following year Demi O'Byrne needed to go to €450,000 for Cassandra Go's Pivotal filly Halfway To Heaven.

Eleven years later MV Magnier had the final say at 1,600,000 gns for the Invincible Spirit x Cassandra Go filly Fantasy who has been stakes-placed twice in a very busy season at two in 2018.

Theann was a Group III winner and started her broodmare career the right way by producing the dual Group 1 winner Photo Call (Galileo) and this year's Group II Richmond Stakes winner Land Force (No Nay Never).

That is beginning to pale alongside Halfway To Heaven's achievements. After a stellar career on the track that brought three wins at the highest level, Irish One Thousand Guineas, Sun Chariot Stakes and Nassau Stakes, Halfway To Heaven has just about cemented her blue hen status with Magical, triple Group 1 winner Rhododendron and the Group III winner Flying The Flag. All three had a great start to life being by the champion Galileo.

So back to Persian Secret who is a daughter of Persian Heights.

From his time at stud in Australia, Persian Heights sired the Caulfield Cup and MacKinnon Stakes winner Paris Lane and in Europe sired David Elsworth's mighty warrior Persian Punch. As game a horse that has ever looked through a bridle, Persian Punch finished third in Ethereal's 2001 Melbourne Cup and the same place again in Jezabeel's 2003 Melbourne Cup.

A stakes-winner in France, Persian Secret has produced 11 winners led by the stakes-winner Sheba (Alzao) who was third in the G1 Mother Goose Stakes, and the Gr III Prix de Meautry Royal Barriere winner Do The Honours (Highest Honor) who won 5 of her 10 starts.

To a mating with Kingmambo, Do The Honours produced the stakes-placed Waitress who is the dam of Cross Counter.

While still only a Northern Hemisphere three-year-old, Charlie Appleby set the Melbourne Cup as a goal for Godolphin's gelding when easily defeating Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee in a record-breaking performance in the Group III Gordon Stakes over a mile and a half at Goodwood on August 4.

He was sent out a red-hot favourite when second behind his stablemate Old Persian in the Voltigeur Stakes at York a fortnight later but he didn't shirk his task to be beaten a head.

A standard-bearer for his sire Galileo in Australia, Teofilo (IRE) has been a wonderful success despite not having the best fertility.

After four seasons at Darley Australia at a fee of $22,000, Teofilo (IRE) missed two years before returning triumphantly in 2016 and 2017with a fee of $44,000 after leaving the likes of Kermadec, Humidor, Happy Clapper, Palentino and Sonntag.

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