INCREDIBLE IRISH 1-2-3 IN MELBOURNE
07 November 2017
Irish racing received one of its greatest ever endorsements overnight
in the Emirates Melbourne Cup with an extraordinary trifecta.
A range of stories to match the best from Australia’s
greatest race emerged as the lightly
weighted three-year-old, REKINDLING, wore down Johannes Vermeer (IRE) with a
short break back to Max Dynamite in third.
Trainer Joseph O’Brien defeating his record-breaking father,
Aidan, inside the final 100 metres of the Flemington homestretch will rank as
one of the most memorable subplots from a remarkable race. To have one of the
world’s most competitive and richest events boiled down to a family affair in
a different hemisphere is a total one-off and may never happen again.
The ability of the O’Brien family to break new ground is almost
taken for granted these days; Joseph becoming the youngest trainer to win the
Cup at the age of 24 is the latest chapter of their unique trailblazing.
Credit must also go to owner Lloyd Williams who owned both O’Brien-trained
horses and who would have been instrumental in plotting the first three-year-old
to win the Cup since 1941.
REKINDLING extends the legacy of the late High Chaparral (IRE)
who was also responsible for the Victoria Derby winner Ace High last Saturday. The winner is a full brother to Golden Sword whom O’Brien senior trained to
finish second in the Irish Derby of 2009.
spare a thought for those vanquished: Johannes Vermeer (IRE), placing for the
third time in a Group 1
since decamping to Australia – runner-up in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes, third
in the Caulfield
Cup and now second in the biggest of them all Down Under. He graduated from the
Sale for €300,000 in 2014.
Max Dynamite, a horse who was so unlucky to be beaten by 100-1 bolter Prince Of
2015, returned after a lengthy spell on the sidelines and gave everything to finish
third for trainer Willie
Mullins whose quest for a Cup win continues.
In fact, with a little more luck here and there, we would be
looking at a third consecutive Irish-trained winner of the Cup after Heartbreak
City was pipped on the line last year. Instead, it is our third winner in total
after Dermot Weld’s pioneering exploits courtesy of Vintage Crop in 1993 and
Media Puzzle in 2002.
Of the six Irish-trained runners in the field, four finished
in the top six with Thomas Hobson, taken back from his wide draw, ran past 18
rivals in the straight.
But the day belongs to Ireland and mostly to Joseph O’Brien.
As owner Williams exulted post-race: “He will be one of the
leading trainers in the world. He has a better pedigree than Galileo! He is the
next Aidan O’Brien.”