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Godolphin Cup verdict: it’s as simple as ABC

J A McGrath

Melbourne is a sporting capital like no other. Test cricket, Aussie Rules football, GP motor racing, golf, tennis and horse racing are staples in the diet of the sports fan in this incredible city.

Just over 24 hours before the running of the 158th G1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington, on Tuesday, 6 November, there was a parade through the streets of the city’s Central Business District.

A motorcade of 24 vehicles, carrying the connections of runners in Australia’s iconic two-mile handicap, paraded up Bourke Street, along Swanston Street to Flinders Street station.

Former Cup winners, their jockeys, trainers, owners, veteran racing scribes and commentators, special Cup ambassadors...the list was long and impressive.

And Godolphin were out in force. With three key runners in the big race, from the global stable’s three principal trainers, there is every chance of a favourable outcome in one of the most demanding races on the Australian calendar.

In fact, it may be as simple as ABC....Avilius, Best Solution and Cross Counter.

The James Cummings-trained Avilius has thrived in Australia since arriving from the stable of Andre Fabre at Chantilly, France. He won his first four races here on the trot before finishing a respectable fourth to Winx in the G1 Cox Plate.

Best Solution gave Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin their second G1 Caulfield Cup, but the question remains: has he the staying power to become only the second horse in 40 years to carry more than 57kg (9st) to victory?

Which leaves the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter, who comes to the Cup as the least experienced horse in the big field.

A three-year-old to European time, he has run only seven times — last year’s winner Rekindling, who boasted a similar profile, had run nine times before coming to Melbourne.

Opposition is strong, mainly in the form of Marmelo, Yucatan, Magic Circle, and Youngstar. 

But there are hopes that this could be Godolphin’s year.