Apr 26, 2019 | News

Cross Counter lands first qualifier for 2019 WH Stayers’ Million

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 Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup, the first qualifying race for the 2019 WH Stayers’ 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 from 500m out. Ispolini surrendered the lead 250m from the finish, where Cross Counter forged ahead to gain victory by one and a quarter lengths in a time of 3min 19secs, 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 over the last 500m to be third, three lengths off the first two and four lengths ahead of Gold Mount, Hong Kong’s first runner in the race.

Winning trainer, Charlie Appleby, said: “It was his first opportunity to run since Melbourne and he answered all the questions. 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.”

The focus of the WH Stayers’ Million now turns to Navan for the Vintage Crop Stakes on Sunday, 28th April.

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