Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed is finally a Melbourne Cup winner

It has taken 30 years and millions of dollars, but Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum can now finally cal...

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 10:46 AM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 10:46 AM

It has taken 30 years and millions of dollars, but Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum can now finally call himself a Melbourne Cup winner.

His Cross Counter, a three-year-old bay gelding ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, came from the outside to beat Marmelo by a length to bring home the $2.8 million Melbourne Cup following years of disappointment for the billionaire Dubai ruler.

Animals

Australia

Continents and regions

Dubai

Endurance sports

Equestrian events

Equestrian sports

Europe

Horse racing

Horses

Life forms

Mammals

Melbourne Cup

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Northern Europe

Oceania

Running and jogging

Sports and recreation

Sports events

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

Cross Counter's historic victory was described by his British trainer, Charlie Appleby, as "everybody's dream."

"This is 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," Appleby told the website of Godolphin, the Maktoum family's global horse-racing stable founded by the Dubai ruler in 1992.

READ: Cross Counter wins rain-soaked Melbourne Cup

Cup drought

The win by Cross Counter, the first English horse to triumph in the Melbourne Cup, came 30 years after Sheikh Mohammed fielded his first horse, Authaal, in the "race that stops a nation." It was also 20 years after Faithful Son became the first runner for the Godolphin operation in Melbourne.

Since its foundation in 1992, Godolphin, which was named after Godolphin Arabian, a stallion imported to England three centuries ago, has fielded 4,664 horses in more than 26,000 runs. In the past 26 years, Godolphin horses have won 5,190 races, including 288 Group 1 wins.

That's a strike rate of 20% for the group -- the racing arm of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley breeding operation -- which has outposts in Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Ireland, France, the US and Australia.

Still, until this week, Godolphin had only three second places and two third places to show for in the Melbourne Cup, despite investing as much as A$1.1 billion ($800 million) in the sport Down Under, according to a 2016 report by the Australian Financial Review citing Godolphin Australia's financial results filed with the country's corporate regulator the year before.

"Learning curve"

In 2016, Godolphin sent five horses to Australia to compete in the race, only to walk away empty-handed once again.

This year, Sheikh Mohammed had three runners in the Melbourne Cup, spread across his three training operations headed by Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor in the UK and UAE and James Cummings in Australia.

Bin Suroor's Best Solution and Cummings' Avilius finished eighth and 22nd respectively, but Appleby struck gold.

"We've been competitive, but we've learnt more on each trip about what will make us more competitive," said Appleby, who was saddling his third Melbourne Cup entry after stepping up from assistant trainer in 2013 following the eight-year ban handed to then Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni for illegally administering steroids to some of his horses.

"That's what it's all about, the learning curve. I'm just in a fortunate position to have the horses to make the call on which are the right ones to bring down here."

The Newmarket-based Appleby, who gave Godolphin its first Epsom Derby winner, Masar, in June, added: "This is huge for everybody. For me, of course this is the biggest thing along with the Derby. This year has just been one of those amazing years."

READ: The equine superstuds giving Federer and Messi a run for their money

Stellar 2018

After some fallow years, this season has proved to be stellar one for Godolphin, which ended the British Flat racing season as the leading owner, claiming 113 wins, including its first Epsom Derby, and winning £4.5 million in prize money, according to the website of the British Horseracing Authority.

Bin Suroor's Thunder Snow also won the $10 million Dubai World Cup in Meydan in March.

But horse racing is a costly business and often prize money doesn't cover the costs unless the horse is used for breeding.

During the 2018 Flat season, Goldophin fielded 242 horses in Britain. With the cost of training a thoroughbred averaging around £20,000 ($26,000) a year, that means it may have spent as much as £4.8 million on getting the animals race ready.

Trying to win races in Australia is even more expensive, with flights from Europe costing as much as $68,000 per animal.

Victoria Racing Club chairwoman Amanda Elliot paid tribute to the persistence of Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

"There is no one who has put more horses into this race and this is his wonderful first win," Elliott told the New Zealand Herald. "I hope he's watching. We send him our best. And many, many congratulations."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 29684

Reported Deaths: 1103
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds238239
DeSoto148616
Madison126734
Jones110449
Neshoba98171
Lauderdale90079
Rankin88812
Forrest85142
Harrison84210
Scott76215
Copiah59216
Jackson58416
Leake57019
Holmes54441
Wayne53513
Lee53218
Oktibbeha53226
Washington5319
Warren49618
Yazoo4936
Leflore48049
Lowndes47212
Lincoln44334
Lamar4407
Grenada4325
Pike40712
Monroe38830
Lafayette3774
Attala35823
Sunflower3467
Newton3389
Covington3345
Panola3256
Bolivar32114
Adams29318
Simpson2833
Pontotoc2736
Marion27011
Tate2709
Chickasaw26918
Claiborne25610
Jasper2566
Winston2546
Noxubee2538
Pearl River24832
Clay24710
Marshall2173
Smith21611
Clarke20524
Coahoma1916
Union1919
Walthall1804
Kemper17714
Lawrence1701
Yalobusha1677
Carroll16411
Itawamba1348
Humphreys1329
Calhoun1284
Tippah12811
Hancock12613
Webster12610
Montgomery1242
Tallahatchie1224
Jefferson Davis1094
Prentiss1023
Greene1018
Jefferson993
Tunica933
Wilkinson929
Amite892
George783
Tishomingo741
Quitman730
Choctaw724
Perry654
Alcorn631
Stone571
Franklin412
Sharkey340
Benton300
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 74°
Columbus
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather