WHEN Hugh Bowman got Marmelo to the front inside the last 200 metres of Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup it looked like the former Bathurst apprentice jockey was about to claim his first win in the race that stops a nation.
That was until Cross Counter ($9), ridden by Kerrin McEvoy and trained by Charlie Appleby, flew home down the outside to give the Godolphin stable their first taste of victory in the $7.3 million race.
Bowman and the Hughie Morrison-trained Marmelo made an improvement on their ninth place finish from last year’s Cup but had to settle for a one length runner-up result.
A Prince Of Arran (Michael Walker) ran third a further two lengths behind for trainer Charlie Fellowes, making it an English-trained trifecta in the Cup.
“Had his race. Ran his race. Disappointed but proud of the horse,” Bowman said following his return to scale.
“Congrats to Hughie for bringing him over in such good order.”
When the gates flew open at Flemington it was Geelong Cup winner Runaway who led the field past the winning post for the first time.
Vengeur Masque trailed up along the rail with Finche and Ace High working towards the head of the field.
There were early dramas when The Cliffsofmoher fractured its shoulder and went back to the rear of the field, checking Avilius along the way.
Working onto the back of the track Marmelo sat towards the rear of the pack. Cross Counter sat right on his tail and stable mate Best Solution was running on his inside.
Only Avilius, who was playing catch up from the earlier incident, galloped behind the trio.
Turning for home Runaway showed he wasn’t going to run out the trip and Finche took over.
Sir Charles Road and A Prince Of Arran moved up on the rail and outside respectively to offer challenges to the leader.
Marmelo and Cross Counter – who sat right next to each other on the turn – took different approaches down the straight.
Bowman ducked for the rail and found a path down the inside of Sir Charles Road to take the lead with 200m to go.
It took a barnstorming run from Cross Counter down the centre of Flemington’s straight to deny Marmelo.
Bowman has enjoyed another magic season with champion mare Winx, who recently won her fourth Cox Plate, but Australia’s richest staying prize continues to elude him.
Prior to Tuesday’s run – his eighth attempt in the Cup – Bowman’s best result had been a fifth on Who Shot Thebarman in 2016.
McEvoy won his third Cup following on from his successes on Brew (2000) and Almandin (2016).
"I was back a bit further than what I wanted," McEvoy said.
"I had to go my own way and we were full of running. I thought mate, is this happening again? And yeah look, I'm just lucky I can ride light on these lovely stayers prepared unbelievably well by Godolphin and Charlie Appleby."
Bathurst’s Mick and Stacey Whittaker finished 12th with Nakeeta.
The couple purchased a small share in after it was decided their 2017 Cup contender Tiberian wouldn’t target this year’s edition.
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