Godolphin's Cross Counter wins Australia's rain-soaked Melbourne Cup

British horse Cross Counter, ridden by jockey Kerrin McEvoy wins the Melbourne Cup ahead of fellow British horse Marmelo.

(CNN)Godolphin's Cross Counter has won Australia's most prestigious horse race, the Melbourne Cup, setting a series of firsts but giving jockey Kerrin McEvoy his third Cup trophy.

The British-bred horse saw off rivals in a field of 24 to take the Cup, the annual blockbuster event at Flemington Racecourse that this year was drenched by heavy rain that soaked spectators and the 3200-meter (two mile) track.
Trained by Charlie Appleby, Cross Counter became the first English-trained horse to win the race, taking the top prize of $2.8 million. With Marmelo finishing second and A Prince of Arran coming third, it was an all-English podium finish.
It was also first win for Godolphin, the mega-stable founded by the Vice President of the UAE and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
    "It's great to be stood here and it's fantastic for Godolphin," Appleby told CNN affiliate Seven News Australia after Cross Counter and McEvoy's win.
    "He made a beautiful move around the outside, down the back straight there, got himself into contention. He just needed the gaps there, that's all he needed."
    As the first British trainer to win, he said: "I'm so lucky... to be in this position to be able to train these horses. I'm just delighted that I can repay his Highness Sheikh Mohammed for putting me in this position, and trusting me in the position to do what I'm doing. It's just great for the team."
    Irish horse ThecliffsofMoher, ridden by Ryan Moore, pulled up lame during the race and was later euthanized, the Australian RSPCA confirmed. It was the sixth horse to die in the race since 2013, the tweet from the anti-animal cruelty organization noted.
    Ahead of the race, Aidan O'Brien-trained Yucatan, owned by six-time Melbourne Cup winner Lloyd Williams, was strong favorite but the sodden conditions threw the form book out the window. Godolphin's Cross Counter, a four-year-old gelding with just seven race starts, along with another British challenger Magic Circle, trained by Ian Williams, took most of the punters' money in the minutes ahead of the race.
    Horses jockey for position during the Melbourne Cup.
    Heavy rain slowed progress on the track and created challenging conditions in the stands, with Australian media reporting that the roofs had collapsed of some facilities at Flemington.
    Temporary boardwalks had to be laid down to save punters' shoes from the rising floodwaters at Flemington's world-famous Birdcage, but the skies had cleared by the time the main event came around at 3 p.m. local time (12 a.m ET).
    Water builds up in the mounting yard before race 2 during Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse on November 6, 2018.

    'Crazy' conditions

    Ahead of the Bumble Stakes warm-up race, jockey Beau Mertens said the conditions were "crazy" and that visibility was severely limited by the downpour.
    "There's a lot of surface water and I couldn't see too many meters in front of me," he told the official Flemington website.
    "(They are) crazy conditions. Craziest conditions I've ridden in. I think I've got a kilo of water in each boot."
    Race-goers take shelter from the rain ahead of the Melbourne Cup.
    Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Efron told CNN affiliate Seven News that almost 18mm of rain fell in the area in the four hours leading up to 11 a.m.
    The rain caused delays to races two and three, and also to trains bringing racing fans to the course, according to tweets from Melbourne's public transport network.
    Nearby Flemington Station had been shut down and racegoers were advised to walk from the Showground station, 20 minutes away, the ABC's Nathan Stitt reported on Twitter.