Cross Counter out to spoil Stradivarius party in Qatar Goodwood Cup

Cross Counter will bid to spoil the Stradivarius party in the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

By Rob Atkins
Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 4:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 5:03 pm
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy and Cross Counter, left, win the Melbourne Cup. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy and Cross Counter, left, win the Melbourne Cup. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Charlie Appleby’s four-year-old son of Teofilo is being primed for battle in the £500,000 Group 1 contest on Tuesday, July 30.

And he will take on red-hot 5/6 ante-post favourite Stradivarius, who will target a third successive victory in the prestigious race on the opening day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Cross Counter, rated 118, broke the 12-furlong course record at Goodwood when he tore to Group 3 Gordon Stakes glory ahead of Dee Ex Bee last summer.

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He is unbeaten in two starts over two miles – including a dominant display in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington in November.

And Appleby believes his charge, who was a close fourth to Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last month, will relish a return to the South Downs.

The Newmarket trainer said: ‘Cross Counter has definitely come forward since his run in the Gold Cup and dropping back to two miles at Goodwood will suit him well.

‘It was a very pleasing run at Royal Ascot.

‘He travelled into the race well from a position that may have been slightly further back than ideal.

‘But we wanted to ride him that way on his first try over two-and-a-half miles.

‘I don’t think we would have beaten the winner if we had ridden him closer to the pace but we may well have been bang there for second.

‘We can ride him more aggressively back over two miles.

‘And he broke the course record for a mile-and-a-half at Goodwood in the Gordon Stakes last year, so we know he acts on the course.’

Stradivarius, who beat Dee Ex Bee in the Gold Cup, is aiming to become the first treble winner of the Goodwood Cup.

Cross Counter in now priced the 4/1 second-favourite after 21 entries remained following the latest scratching stage.

Dashing Willoughby, who won the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, heads the six three-year-olds left in.

They will receive 15lb from their older rivals – a significant advantage which Stradivarius made the most of when winning his first title in 2017.