Which was the first British-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup?
Billed as ‘the race that stops a nation’, the Melbourne Cup is a handicap run over 3,200 metres, or approximately two miles, at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria on the first Tuesday in November each year. Worth A$8 million, or £4.3 million, in prize money, it is, unquestionably, the most famous horse race run in Australia.
The first horse trained in the Northern Hemisphere to win the Melbourne Cup was Vintage Crop, trained by Dermot Weld at The Curragh, Co. Kildare, in 1993. Vintage Crop tried, and failed, to win the race again in 1994 and 1995, but Weld did so in 2002, courtesy of Media Puzzle.
However, the first horse trained in mainland Britain to win the Melbourne Cup was Cross Counter, a 3-year-old owned by Godolphin and sent out from its Moulton Paddocks yard by trainer Charlie Appleby in 2018. Patiently ridden by Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who was winning his third Melbourne Cup, Cross Counter produced a strong run in the final furlong and a half to win, readily, by a length.
In so doing, he led home a 1-2-3 for British-trained horses, with Marmello, trained by Hughie Morrison, in second place and A Prince Of Arran, trained by Charlie Fellowes, in third, a further 2 lengths away. In an eventful race, Hugh Bowman, jockey of Marmelo, received a lengthy ban for various infringements, while five other jockeys, including McEvoy, were fined for excessive use of the whip.