Horse racing: Rekindling rivalry between father and son

Rekindling, ridden by Corey Brown, wins the 157th Melbourne Cup by half a length from Johannes Vermeer at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne yesterday.
Rekindling, ridden by Corey Brown, wins the 157th Melbourne Cup by half a length from Johannes Vermeer at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne yesterday.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Rekindling, ridden by Corey Brown, wins the 157th Melbourne Cup by half a length from Johannes Vermeer at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne yesterday.
Joseph O'Brien, 24, has been a trainer for 20 months.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Rekindling, ridden by Corey Brown, wins the 157th Melbourne Cup by half a length from Johannes Vermeer at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne yesterday.
Aidan O'Brien, 48, has trained 27 world record Group 1 winners this year.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Young trainer Joseph pips his famous father Aidan to a first Melbourne Cup victory

MELBOURNE • Irish trainer Joseph O'Brien edged out his famous father Aidan to land the Melbourne Cup as Rekindling led an all-Irish sweep of the placings after a close finish yesterday.

Aidan has trained a world-record 27 Group 1 wins this year but his 24-year-old son beat him to a debut victory in the A$6 million (US$6.3 million) race, when Rekindling wore down Johannes Vermeer to snatch it by half a length in the famous 3,200m handicap at Flemington.

The Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite, who was second in 2015, finished three lengths behind.

Rekindling, a 14-1 shot, gave his Australian owner Lloyd Williams his sixth success in the Melbourne Cup and was jockey Corey Brown's second win in the race.

"I can't believe it," Joseph, the youngest trainer to win the Cup after training for just 20 months, said. "It's not often in a big race that everything goes so well... Dad's horse was second, but I would have been delighted for him and, obviously, he's delighted for me."

In the race's 157th edition, Rekindling becomes the third Irish-trained stayer to win following Vintage Crop (1993) and Media Puzzle (2002), and the sixth overseas winner overall. Williams also owns runner-up Johannes Vermeer.

"He's an absolute star," property developer Williams said of Joseph in quotes carried by the BBC.

  • 20 
    Months Joseph O'Brien, 24, has been a trainer.

  • 27 
    World record Group 1 winners Aidan O'Brien, 48, has trained this year.

"I have 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."

Aidan, regarded as one of flat racing's greatest all-time trainers, was on holiday in Barbados yesterday but congratulated the eldest of his four children, who are all involved in racing, over the phone.

Like the 48-year-old, Italian jockey Frankie Dettori has made a number of bids to win the "race that stops a nation".

But he is still without a victory following his 16th ride in the Cup, finishing 12th with last year's winner Almandin, another of Williams' six runners.

Brown was dumbfounded after his second win in Melbourne following his ride on Shocking in 2009.

"It is a dream to even ride in the race," the jockey said.

"To come out and win it again, I'm lost for words.

"I chased the ride about six weeks ago and with a light weight (thinking I was) a big chance to get on him."

Rekindling, at just 51.5kg, was the first three-year-old to win the Melbourne Cup since Skipton in 1941.

The result was the perfect response to a cheeky full-page advertisement that appeared in The Australian yesterday, announcing that the Everest race would boost its prize money to A$13 million.

The inaugural A$10 million Everest race, initiated by Racing New South Wales, took place at Sydney's Royal Randwick last month, irking powerbrokers in the state of Victoria as it clashed with the start of top racing in Melbourne.

Rivalries look set to escalate, with the timing of the announcement by organisers of the world's richest turf race diverting some attention from the Melbourne Cup.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2017, with the headline 'Rekindling rivalry between dad & son'. Print Edition | Subscribe