A star was born Down Under this week as Joseph O’Brien landed a sensational victory in the Melbourne Cup, the biggest event in the Australian calendar. The young Irishman only started training horses a year ago but has already achieved a feat that has long escaped his famous father. Aiden O’Brien has enjoyed a record-breaking season and has won virtually everything worth winning across the globe during a long and glittering career, but the Melbourne Cup continued to elude his grasp. He came ever so close to winning it this week, only to be outdone by his 24-year-old son. O’Brien senior’s Johannes Vermeer was leading the race with 100m to go and looked on course for a comfortable victory, but O’Brien junior’s Rekindling soared through the chasing back, took the lead and won it by half a length.
Rekindling’s owner, Lloyd Williams, said after the race: “I’ve been telling anyone who will listen to me that Joseph will be the leading trainer in the world in years to come, his father needs to watch out. You have just seen the start of an amazing career kick off right here in Melbourne. He’s an absolutely extraordinary young man and this is an amazing achievement.” They are bold words, but O’Brien junior is perfectly poised to go on to dominate a sport he has grown up around. But can he ever eclipse his father.
O’Brien senior said it was the “perfect result” in the Melbourne Cup and he must have been proud of his boy. But Joseph has a long way to go before he can come close to emulating his father’s achievements. Aiden broke the world record this year for the most Group 1 wins any trainer has ever secured in a single season. He has dominated the Champion Trainer title in Ireland for many years and has produced such superstars as Galileo and Giant’s Causeway. He is a household name around the world, and his son has extremely large footsteps to follow in.
But O’Brien junior looks to be on the brink of a magnificent career of his own. As a jockey at the age of 19 he rode Camelot to win Epsom Derby, the 2,000 Guineas and the Irish Derby. He was Irish champion jockey in 2012 and retained the title the following year with a record-breaking 126 winners. He stepped down in March 2016 to pursue a career as a trainer and made a dream start to life when he landed an absolutely sensational four timer on his debut. He put forward six runners at Gowran Park and walked away with four wins – a day to make everyone sit up and take notice. He has since gone on to more enjoy success and capped it all with the Melbourne Cup win.
Rekindling should lead him to further glory going forwards. He is likely to now enjoy a spell at Macedon Lodge before returning to Ireland for a 2018 summer campaign, with the ultimate goal being the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Betonline will offer great action, review them first before placing a wager, and Rekindling looks a great candidate. He’ll have a little break and then I think he might come back to Europe next season for maybe a try at an Ascot Gold Cup or something like that in the summer, he’s an exciting horse for next season.
“There’s no reason why he wouldn’t train on, he’s had a busy year this year and he’s looked to get better throughout, his last run in Europe was his best before this which is obviously a career best,” said O’Brien junior. “I’d like to think he will travel to Australia again, absolutely, although it’ll be tough to try to win the Melbourne Cup again. He has to stay sound and a lot of things have to go right for him to come back again next year.”