Slow start costly for Cross Counter in Cup

Mathew Toogood
A tardy start has conspired against Cross Counter's bid for successive Melbourne Cup wins

Jockey William Buick believes a slow start has played against Cross Counter who has finished eighth in his defence of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

Only four horses in the Cup's history have won back-to-back, with champion Makybe Diva the most recent with her three-straight successes from 2003 to 2005.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter was striving to become the first international to win the Cup more than once but was forced to settle further back in the 24-horse field than Buick planned after jumping away slowly.

He came from worse than midfield, carrying top weight of 57.5kg, to be beaten just over 1-1/2-lengths.

"He ran a huge race," Buick said.

"He missed the break from drawing barrier five. I tried to get a better position than what we were in but obviously it was difficult so I couldn't get to where I wanted to.

"He finished off his race really well.

"He didn't get the run that he needed."