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Cross Counter has won the 2018 Melbourne Cup, beating out the rest of the 24-strong field to claim the race that stops the nation.
Marmelo finished a length behind in second, while A Prince Of Arran ran a tight third in front of Finche in fourth.
It was a stunning finish from veteran jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who guided Cross Counter past the post from the back to storm home for his third Melbourne Cup.
The win for Cross Counter, who was trained by Charlie Appleby, marks the first victory for Godolphin, who were fighting a long Melbourne Cup drought leading into the race.
It’s McEvoy’s second win in three years, after he rode Almandin home in 2016. His first win in the famous race came back in 2000 in the saddle of New Zealand gelding Brew.
The race started with Magic Circle, Avilius, Yucatan, Caulfield Cup victor Best Solution and the eventual winner all jumping well, before Finche and Muntahaa led as the pack passed the post for the first time. Finche would hang on to the pace of the field for quite some time in what was a standout performance from the chestnut five-year-old in just his second Group 1 outing.
It was Marmelo who jumped first from a bunched pack in the final 300 metres and looked like sneaking a win from the inside as he came out of nowhere after a disappointing outing in the Cup just one year earlier.
It took a sensational final stretch from McEvoy to bring Cross Counter home on the outside of Marmelo, sneaking past by a head with 50 metres to go before passing the post a full length in front.
Unfortunately, The Cliffsofmoher, trained by Aiden O’Brien, pulled up shortly after the post on the first lap, and was unable to finish the race having suffered a fractured right shoulder. Connections have since stated that the five-year-old could not be saved.
Pre-race favourite Yucatan couldn’t find enough room through the middle in the final stages, struggling to make headway after starting out wide and finishing in 11th.
It was a similar story for the James Cummins-trained Avilius, who was caught at the very back of the pack across the back straight and simply had no way to recover with little experience on the longer distance runs, ending a disappointing run in second last at the post.
1. Cross Counter
3. A Prince Of Arran