Cross Counter successfully bridged the gap between Australia and the UAE with a brilliant victory for jockey William Buick over Isopolini – like the winner a 4-year-old owned by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby – in the Dubai Gold Cup with a purse of $1.5 million.
Winner of the Melbourne Cup last November, Cross Counter defied the lengthy lay-off, showing great courage as the two stablemates drew clear of their eight rivals nearing the head of the straight. Ispolini surrendered the lead about an eighth from the finish, where Cross Counter forged ahead to gain victory by one and a quarter lengths in a time of 3:19.00, the third-best in 11-year history of the race.
Cross Counter, who gave both his trainer and jockey their first successes in the race, was taking his career record to six wins and two second placings from nine races.
French-trained Call The Wind stayed on to be third, three lengths off the first two and four lengths ahead of Gold Mount, Hong Kong's first runner in the race.
“It was his first opportunity to run since Melbourne and he answered all the questions,” said Appleby. “William was put in a bit of a pocket in the race but you're actually never too worried when you're working with the nice horses and good jockeys we have.
“I'm delighted with the result, it's what tonight is all about and it's good to get the first one out of the way. I just spoke to His Highness and we said we'd let the dust settle before come up with a plan but we could maybe go for the Gold Cup. But we'll sit back and enjoy today before deciding where we go.”
— Meydan Racing (@MeydanRacing) March 30, 2019
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