Joseph O'Brien tops father Aidan as Rekindling rules in Melbourne Cup

Joseph O'Brien bettered his father Aidan as Rekindling outpointed Johannes Vermeer to lead home an Irish clean sweep of the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

The three-year-old, who was last seen when finishing fourth in the St Leger at Doncaster, found an extra gear in the final half-furlong to see off Johannes Vermeer by a long neck and give his 24-year-old trainer the biggest win of his career so far.

The Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite was a further two and a half lengths back in third in what was a notable result for the Irish team.

The result 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.

"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," said the winning trainer.

"His prep went really well. Corey gave him an unbelievable ride and I'm just so delighted for everyone - all the lads at home and the lads that have been down here have done an unbelievable job.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet to be honest.

"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, told Channel 7: "I'm so proud of this young man - he's a star.

"I've been telling people the father needs to watch out!"

Brown was riding his second Melbourne Cup winner after Shocking in 2009 and said :"I'm speechless. It's a dream to even ride in the race, but to come out and win it again, I'm lost for words."

Max Dynamite was beaten just half a length in second two years ago and Mullins was thrilled to see him make the frame again, with his other two runners also finishing in the top 10.

He told www.racing.com: "I'm delighted with him. I thought about halfway up the stretch that if he could get room, he might get out and do it, but I think his age maybe caught up with him.

"We're delighted with him and Thomas Hobson, who eventually got into sixth, and Wicklow Brave who was 10th, what more can you ask for?

"We'll just have to get a new group of horses probably (to come back). These guys are probably at the end of their career at this level, but I'll be back."

Ben Melham pointed to the heavier weight of Johannes Vermeer, who was beaten a long neck in second, as the probable reason for defeat.

He said: "He had a great run throughout. I thought we were home, but probably the weight was the difference."

Iain Jardine's Ebor winner Nakeeta kept on well to finish fifth and rider Glyn Schofield said: "It was a super run. He just kept coming strongly, it was a good run."

Morrison also felt Marmelo had not given his best performance and is keen to have another attempt in 2018.

He said: "You'd have to say he ran a bit flat. He's had a run recently and he's had a long season, he didn't disgrace himself but I think the form book says he's better than that.

"He's only a young and inexperienced horse and hopefully we'll be back next year with a bigger, stronger horse. He's got it in him to go very close in a race like this.

"I will certainly be trying to persuade everyone to come back next year as we've had a fantastic time and with regards to the result, we've gone back with an experience we'll be telling everyone about at home."

Hugo Palmer's Wall Of Fire had also been well fancied for the race, but he trailed home 16th with jockey Craig Williams believing he had just not shown his best.

He said: "It was a bit of a muddling stop-start race and I thought my horse responded really well under those conditions. He came off the bridle at the 700 (metre mark) which is normally to his liking.

"Once I cut the corner and balanced him up, I expected him to start staying on and if he'd stayed on strongly he might have been back a little bit far back, but he just didn't stay on at all.

"Hopefully he comes through the race well, he just didn't run up to his European form."

US Army Ranger came home 18th and Jamie Spencer: "He passed a few beaten ones, never got hold of him."

Frankie Dettori teamed up with last year's winner Almandin but he reported the Robert Hickmott-trained runner had failed to fire in 12th.

He said: "I was stuck three wide and the horse was flat, he never carried me today. He ran like a flat horse."


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