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Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter set for Dubai Gold Cup on Meydan's big night

Cross Counter, who made history by becoming the first British-trained winner of the Melbourne Cup, is set to have his next run in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on March 30.

Trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, Cross Counter won the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in August before finishing second to stablemate Old Persian in the Great Voltigeur at York's Ebor meeting.

He was then a fluent winner of the Melbourne Cup under Kerrin McEvoy at Flemington in November.

"Cross Counter has come back from Melbourne stronger and brighter than ever and he has put on 25kg in body weight – he looks great," said Appleby, who could also field Prix Niel winner Brundtland in the same race on Dubai World Cup night.

"After discussing his programme with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, we have pencilled in the Dubai Gold Cup as a starting point for 2019, and we'll see where that takes us.

"It will be an opportunity for His Highness to see Cross Counter on the big night, and also for Godolphin fans in Dubai to give the horse the home-town welcome he deserves."

The Melbourne Cup, Australia's showpiece race, will again be the Teofilo gelding's main target this year.

"A defence of his Melbourne Cup crown is an obvious long-range target but we know he'll be getting a lot more weight this time," said the trainer, whose team on World Cup night could also include Old Persian.

He could use the Dubai City of Gold on Super Saturday (March 9) as a prep for the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, while Group 2 winner Loxley may be aimed at the Jebel Hatta on Meydan's trials night on Super Saturday before the Dubai Turf.

Blue Point, successful in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, has the Al Quoz Sprint – from which he was withdrawn seconds before the off last year after blood was spotted in his nostrils – on his radar and might also warm up for that on Super Saturday.

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