Kerrin McEvoy and Charlie Appleby with the Melbourne Cup trophy

Kerrin McEvoy and Charlie Appleby with the Melbourne Cup trophy (Image: Racing Photos)

Melbourne Cup drought over for Godolphin

Charlie Appleby put paid to two curses in one hit when he became the first English trainer to win the Melbourne Cup while finally ending 20 years of heartbreak for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin team.

And what a year to do it.

The Godolphin global outfit is on track to beat their record for winners for the year after bringing up win No. 600 to start the month of November but few, if any other race, will be as special for the Godolphin owner than Cross Counter's win in the 158th running of the Melbourne Cup.

"I know how much this race means to him - he's been trying to win if for a while and so I am so happy this horse has been able to do it for him," a delighted Appleby said of his boss.

Godolphin enjoyed 650 winners in 2015 and broke the 600 mark on November 12 that year, meaning they are about 12 days ahead of schedule this year with seven weeks of the year remaining.

Cross Counter's win was Godolphin's 30th Group 1 winner for 2018.

Newmarket-based Appleby also became the first English trainer to win the race after 25 years and 61 runners.

WATCH: Hear from Appleby

Sheikh Mohammed first tried to win the Melbourne Cup in 1998 when he brought out Faithful Son, who was an impressive horse but one that did not stay the 3200-metre trip. He followed up with more dour types, but they were too slow.

He has been represented most years since but this year came into the race with three runners prepared by three different trainers.

The early signs in the Melbourne Cup were not good, however. When the Coolmore horse The Cliffsofmoher broke down near the winning post the first time, he went back into the lap of James Cummings' Avilius, who was forced out of the back of the field and out of contention.

Cross Counter copped the backwash also with jockey Kerrin McEvoy - who now has three Melbourne Cup wins after Brew (2000) and Almandin (2016) - narrowly avoiding a collision.

"We were lucky, on the first turn, with that horse breaking down. We were lucky to get through," McEvoy said later.

WATCH: Hear from McEvoy

Best Solution, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, won the Caulfield Cup from up the front but was always back out of his ground, leaving the young galloper Cross Counter to carry the hopes of the side.

But, with 800 metres to go, he was still back at the tail with his stablemate. The only difference with him was that he was travelling.

"I could see he was travelling nicely but whether he could get him through I wasn't sure," Appleby said. "He just needed a gap and got it and I couldn't be more pleased with the way he finished."

The year will be a memorable one for Appleby even away from his Melbourne triumph as he also managed to win the English Derby with Masar.

"I am just lucky to be in the position to train these horses," Appleby said before the presentation.

"I am really humbled and so happy to have to chance to repay Sheikh Mohammed for the faith he's shown in me."

Appleby said he and Sheikh Mohammed spoke specifically about taking a Northern Hemisphere three-year-old to the race this year after the win of Rekindling in 2017 and Cross Counter was the obvious youngster.

WATCH: Cross Counter's win

McEvoy rode in Dubai for Sheikh Mohammed in 2001 and 2002 and said winning a Melbourne Cup for him was at the top of his list of things to achieve.

"It's great to repay a bit of the faith that Sheikh Mohammed showed in me and win his first Melbourne Cup," he said.

"I said to (wife) Cathy, in all these years, they're going to win it one year and I wanted to be in their camp this year.

"It's a huge thrill to do it in the blue colours, I must say."

While Godolphin was celebrating their success, another global giant was licking its wounds after a race to forget for the Irish outfit Coolmore.

The Cliffsofmoher had to be put down after fracturing a shoulder in the run while the rain in the morning upset carefully laid plans with the favourite Yucatan.

Last year's winning trainer Joseph O'Brien was representing his father Aidan at Flemington on Tuesday and he said the conditions played against Yucatan, who finished 11th as the $6 favourite.

"James McDonald said he travelled good but the ground was a bit loose for him," O'Brien reported. "He travelled good in the race but never really threatened in the straight.

"In Europe, whenever there is some juice in the ground he struggled so it was something we were quite worried about pre-race."

Racing Victoria vets found Yucatan was lame in the near foreleg after the race.

He said he felt proud of Coolmore's three-year-old Rostropovich ($21), who loomed to challenge but was clearly upset about losing The Cliffsofmoher.

"Unfortunately these things can happen to a horse galloping around a field at home," he said.

"It's very sad but it could have been worse. Ryan (Moore) could have had a fall or someone else could have got injured."

Magic Circle started the $7 second favourite in the race for English trainer Ian Williams and his flamboyant owner Marwan Koukash but he wound up in 16th spot with RV vets later reporting he had an internal bleed.

WATCH: Hear from the beaten jockeys