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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Goodwood record-breaker Cross Counter will head to Melbourne Cup

Easy peasy: the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter lengthens clear of Dee Ex Bee in the Group 3 Qatar Gordon Stakes
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Charlie Appleby will aim Saturday's Gordon Stakes winner Cross Counter at the Melbourne Cup after his track-record-breaking exploits at Glorious Goodwood. 

Cross Counter easily beat Investec Derby second Dee Ex Bee in Saturday's race and is a general 25-1 shot for Australia's most famous race on November 6.

William Buick celebrates as Wild Illusion comes back in after winning the Nassau Stakes

Appleby said: "We respected Dee Ex Bee and would have been happy with second, but we were confident we could make a race of it and it was great to see him win like that.

"The plan was always to use the race as a platform for a trip to Australia, and that should get him straight into the Melbourne Cup. If it doesn't then he'll still go down there and hopefully get into the race via one of the trials."

Cross Counter stretches away from his three rivals in the Gordon Stakes

Cross Counter is a gelding and thus ineligible for the St Leger, but Appleby has few regrets on that score.

He said: "He had a setback and we decided do two operations at the same time in the new year. He was a bit of a boy, and he was always one that was going to be going a mile and a half plus and hopefully be campaigned internationally, so it seemed the right thing to do.

"Whatever happens in Australia he'll come back hopefully, and he has the right profile for the Carnival in Dubai as well."

Another heading for Australia is Walton Street, who had to be withdrawn at the start of the 1m6f handicap won by Sir Chauvelin on Saturday when he arrived at the start without cheekpieces.

Walton Street (blue, white cap) was third to Dash Of Spice at Royal Ascot

Appleby said: "It's never happened before and the person responsible held their hands up to it. I'm very confident they won't do it again.

"He'll run in another valuable handicap in two weeks time and is pencilled in for Australia after that."

A fine Goodwood for Appleby and Godolphin also featured a Nassau victory for Wild Illusion, about whom he added: "I was delighted for Wild Illusion, whose win in the Nassau was well deserved.

Making all: Wild Illusion leads from start to finish in the Nassau Stakes

"She's been so consistent, from her win in the Marcel Boussac, then the Guineas fourth and Oaks second, then there was Royal Ascot, so it was very pleasing to see her get her head in front in another Group 1 as a three-year-old.

"She's going to have a little break now and then return in the Prix de l'Opera before hopefully going on to the Breeders' Cup."

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The plan was always to use the race as a platform for a trip to Australia, and that should get him straight into a Melbourne Cup

Key data

Charlie Appleby
E.W. Terms
Sky bet