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Melbourne Cup hero Rekindling to be aimed at Gold Cup

7 Nov 2017

Royal Ascot top of the agenda for three-year-old colt after famous win for Joseph O'Brien at Flemington

O’Brien and Brown celebrate the victory of Rekindling. Picture:

Rekindling is to be aimed at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next year after his victory in the the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday morning.

The three-year-old colt, trained by 24-year-old Joseph O’Brien, overhauled Johannes Vermeer, representing his father Aidan, in the closing stages of the iconic two-mile contest to win by a neck under Corey Brown.

Rekindling had previously been unplaced in the Investec Derby and fourth in the William Hill St Leger. It was an Irish cleansweep because the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite was a further two and a half lengths back in third.

The victory caps a memorable year for the O’Brien family, with Aidan having surpassed Bobby Frankel’s world record when sending out a 26th Group One winner of the year at Doncaster last month.

O’Brien Jr, who scooped 12 victories in QIPCO British Champions Series races between 2012 and 2014 as a jockey, was enjoying the finest moment of his fledgling training career.

He said: “I can’t quite believe it yet. I’m so delighted for Lloyd and Nick [Williams, owners]. They suggested to bring him down and that he would have a good chance in the race.

“He had a very light weight and Corey gave him a great ride. It’s not often in a big race like that the whole run goes so well. I’m over the moon. I spoke to my dad and he’s delighted. I’m going to enjoy today and hopefully we’ll have a horse good enough to come back.”

Lloyd Williams, who was winning the race for the sixth time, hailed the achievement and suggested that the young O’Brien could one day even eclipse his father’s success.

“It’s absolutely extraordinary,” he told a news conference. “It is close to being able to walk on water. It is an amazing achievement. I won’t be here long enough, because I’m in the last quarter, but you are going to see a career kicked off here seriously at the Melbourne Cup. He will emulate his father, and maybe even more.”

Williams later added that Rekindling would be aimed at the Gold Cup.”We’d better give Order Of St George a bit of competition,” he said.