Why Charlie Appleby is 'excited' by chances of Melbourne Cup champion Cross Counter in mouthwatering Qatar Goodwood Cup battle

Charlie Appleby is hoping for a good, clean fight in the mouthwatering battle for Qatar Goodwood Cup glory on Tuesday (3.35pm).

Monday, 29th July 2019, 10:27 am
Updated Monday, 29th July 2019, 4:58 pm
Cross Counter and jockey William Buick cruise to a course record in the Gordon Stakes last season. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Newmarket trainer will send Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter to war with the likes of hat-trick hopeful Stradivarius and Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee in the Group 1 feature on the opening day of the Glorious festival.

Appleby is bullish about the hopes of his four-year-old son of Teofilo, who broke a course record when winning the Gordon Stakes last season.

Cross Counter and jockey James Doyle were a close fourth when Stradivarius retained his Gold Cup crown in the hands of Frankie Dettori at Royal Ascot.

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Appleby knows the ‘supreme champion’ will once again be the one to beat on the South Downs.

But he is hoping there are no problems in running and the best horse wins.

The Suffolk handler said: ‘I’d like to find a negative in Stradivarius but he’s a supreme champion and a credit to all his connections.

‘We all know he’s the horse we’ve got to try to beat.

‘He’s dangerous wherever Frankie parks him up and if you try to work out their tactics you only scupper yourself.

‘We have our own plan in mind, so let’s hope it’s a clean race and the best horse wins.’

Cross Counter’s record-breaking victory in the Gordon Stakes at the festival last summer has given connections reason to be hopeful.

Britain’s first Melbourne Cup champion followed up November’s win at Flemington with success in Meydan in the spring.

And Appleby reckons his run-in to the Qatar Goodwood Festival has been spot on, even if the reappearance at Royal Ascot did not go according to plan.

‘I’m very pleased with Cross Counter,’ added the trainer.

‘He ran a very creditable race in the Gold Cup.

‘I thought he was one of those you had to take out of the race because he was a bit further back than ideal the way it panned out.

‘It was his first time over two-and-a-half miles and we purposefully wanted to drop in but they didn’t go as quick as we had hoped.

‘It wasn’t James’ fault as those were his instructions.

‘Cross Counter did all his best work towards the end and most importantly he came out of the race well.

‘Dropping back to two miles on a track where he holds the record over a mile and a half suggests he is going to be an exciting horse for Tuesday.

‘You can’t beat course experience at Goodwood and it looks like being lovely ground.

‘They are all positives and I can’t really give a negative towards him.’