Appleby makes fresh plans for Melbourne Cup contender
GODOLPHIN trainer Charlie Appleby has confirmed the Melbourne Cup is next on the agenda for three-year-old Cross Counter after the three-year-old gelding's second in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes (2400m) at York on Wednesday night.
Appleby trained the quinella, with Old Persian narrowly taking the win, but the trainer confirmed Cross Counter, $16 in Ladbrokes' early Melbourne Cup betting, would head in to quarantine as part of his team for the spring carnival.
"Cross Counter will start quarantine in four weeks' time," Appleby said on Godolphin's website.
"The early batch start quarantine tomorrow (Thursday) and are in there for two weeks, Cross Counter will be part of the second batch.
"I think we have a nice team going down there but it all depends on how they travel, that is the biggest challenge, but if they all turn up there in the nick they are in on this side of the water, they are going to be big players.
"We contemplated missing today with Cross Counter and going earlier to Australia. It is my first time taking a three-year-old to Australia and, with the experience I have had with the older horses, I felt taking a three-year-old down there and giving him a prep run going into the Melbourne Cup might be a bit challenging for him.
"I would rather get the weight off this side of the water and turn up fresh."
Cross Counter impressed in winning the Group 3 Gordon Stakes (2400m) at Goodwood last month.
He will join well-performed stablemate and last-start Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2700m) winner Hamada, which is $17 with Ladbrokes in Cup betting, on a flight to Melbourne in October.