The Melbourne Cup turned into an all-Irish affair on November 7 thanks to a 1-2-finish for the O’Brien family.
Ahead of Australia’s most prestigious horserace, all eyes were on the betting favourite Marmelo. Bidding to become the first British-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup, Marmelo took to the start line as the 7/1 betting favourite in Melbourne, Australia, ahead of last year’s winner, Almandin.
O’Brien Family Comes Out Top
However, as the racing world waited to see if Marmelo could complete the 3,200-metre race in the fastest time, it was Irish-trained Rekindling that powered through to victory. Trained by Joseph O’Brien, the three-year-old was a 14/1 shot prior to the race, but came through to beat Johannes Vermeer to win the $6.2 million race.
For trainer O’Brien, the win not only marked a successful first year in the business, it saw him get one over on his father, Aidan. Although his father has long sung the praises of his son, it was his name on everyone’s lips heading into the race.
Thanks to a record-breaking year in which his horses managed to win 27 top-class races around the world, including the Breeders’ Cup in California, Aidan’s Johannes Vermeer looked a strong bet for the Melbourne Cup. However, according to jockey Ben Melham, the extra weight on Johannes Vermeer was probably the difference in the final furlong.
Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Regardless of the possible reasons Melham couldn’t get his horse over the line in first place, the day belonged to O’Brien junior. With the win, Joseph cemented not his reputation as one of the best up and coming trainers in the sport, but became the youngest trainer to win the Melbourne Cup.
While the O’Brien family will be celebrating their own personal victory at Flemington Racecourse, the Irish racing community will be buoyed after the November 7 race. Thanks Willie Mullins’ Max Dynamite coming in third, Irish-trained horses performed a clean sweep in Melbourne and proved, once again, that the Emerald Isle has a world-class pool of racing talent.