Cross Counter third in G1 Gold Cup
Cross Counter produced another excellent effort to finish third behind outstanding stayer Stradivarius in the G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday, 18 June.
The 2018 G1 Melbourne Cup winner, fourth behind the same horse in the two and a half-mile showpiece in 2019, was held up at the rear of the eight runners for most of the race as Nayef Road and Withhold ensured a strong test of stamina on soft ground.
Cross Counter was last turning for home before staying on in the straight under James Doyle to go third approaching the final half-furlong. The Charlie Appleby-trained son of Teofilo battled away to go down by 18 lengths behind Stradivarius, who recorded his third consecutive victory in the Gold Cup with an exceptional performance.
Charlie Appleby said: ““I am very pleased with Cross Counter. The plan was to ride him cold, let him float round the back and pass horses.
“I think since the Melbourne Cup, we haven’t ridden him too differently, but he has been ridden slightly more positively. I just thought today that we would let him go past horses and see if the enthusiasm is still there.
“I was delighted to see him do what he did and he galloped out on ground he doesn’t really enjoy. James thought he would nick a bit of ground coming on the inside, but it was an encouraging run.
“The G3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park (Sunday, 5 July) will be on his agenda. He won’t have to carry a penalty and thankfully there will be no Stradivarius. The long-term target has always been the Melbourne Cup. He ran a very creditable race in it again last year. I think more importantly, from what we have seen today, he is back to where he was in Melbourne.”