Charlie Appleby and Cross Counter after their 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup win (Image: Racing Photos)
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has confirmed that 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter will run in the race for the third time in November, if COVID-19 protocols permit.
As part of a Racing Post stable tour column, Appleby said the Lexus Melbourne Cup was firmly on the cards for last year's topweight, who finished eighth behind Vow And Declare in the race.
Cross Counter has started just once since the Lexus Melbourne Cup when fifth over 3000 metres at Riyadh but has returned to England to be prepared for another Cup assault following the cancellation of the Gold Cup in Dubai.
"He was fresh and well when he went to Riyadh for the Saudi Turf Handicap in February, and he did a bit more than we wanted - he was a bit gassy," Appleby wrote.
"He was fifth, beaten seven lengths. The Gold Cup in Dubai was cancelled and he's arrived back in Britain in good order.
"An accomplished international campaigner, Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup in 2018 and was beaten a length-and-a-half in eighth last year. If it is logistically possible, the Cup will be his end-of-year target once again."
A decision on possible international participation in the Spring Carnival is still to be made, with the hope COVID-19 restrictions could be eased to accommodate European runners.
Appleby also hinted his impressive comeback horse Barney Roy could also come to Australia for a possible Cox Plate tilt if the trip was possible.
"He showed his class, winning twice at Meydan at the Dubai World Cup Carnival - his turn of foot can be devastating," Appleby wrote.
"He showed that he's back to his best, and next month's Prince of Wales's Stakes at Ascot is his next assignment.
"He will also be on our international team later in the year."