Cup winner eyeing Aussie return
CROSS Counter is likely to chase successive Melbourne Cup victories as Charlie Appleby revealed Joseph O'Brien's triumph last season with Rekindling formed a critical part of Godolphin's Flemington coup on Tuesday.
Elated at delivering the Cup for the first time to Godolphin patron Sheikh Mohammed, Appleby said lightly-raced Cross Counter had the perfect profile to continue racing internationally.
"He's a young horse, and it was only the eighth run of his career there yesterday," Appleby said on Wednesday.
"Like any of our horses that run, we'll just let the dust settle and make a plan for him in the new year of where we're gonna be.
"But he's a gelded son of Teofilo, so racing's going to be his game.
"As he's proven already, the international stage is for him.
"So I'm hopeful we will be back next year.
"They'll all (Godolphin horses) fly out on Sunday and he'll winter in Dubai.
"We'll formulate a plan in the new year.
"I'd strongly imagine he'll be back here next year."
In the 157-year history of the Cup only four horses - Archer, Rain Lover, Think Big and Makybe Diva (three times) - have won Australian racing's greatest prize in successive years.
Appleby admitted O'Brien's feat to snare the Cup with sparingly-raced northern hemisphere three-year-old Rekindling caught his eye.
"This is our third trip down and we've learned each year a little more about we needed to bring down," Appleby said.
"But no doubt about it, Joseph and his team did an amazing job last year and it certainly changed our views on what we might need to bring down.
"This horse has been on the radar for four months, but three months solidly.
"We had conversations with Kerrin (McEvoy) and there's no better man for advice on what we need to win a Melbourne Cup.
"This is a horse that had a great profile bar the setback we had two weeks ago. The last 10 days, he's ticked every box and the rest is history as they say.
Appleby said Cross Counter had recovered well as the youngster nibbled grass from the Loving Cup.
"He ate up last night, his legs are clean and he's had a little lead out there this morning," he said.
"He's had a pick of grass, so he's taken it well.
"We're very pleased with him and delighted for the team.
"He's a horse that deserves it."