Melbourne Cup glory for Rekindling and Joseph O'Brien
Rekindling led home an Irish 1-2-3 in the Emirates Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
The Joseph O'Brien-trained horse edged past Johannes Vermeer - trained by Joseph's father Aidan - in the closing strides for a sensational win. The Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite finished third and they were comfortably clear of the chasing pack.
The three-year-old Rekindling, who was last seen when finishing fourth in the St Leger at Doncaster, was settled in behind through the early stages by jockey Corey Brown as Boom Time, Gallante and Cismontane were among the first to show, with the latter eventually setting the pace.
Hughie Morrison's Marmelo also raced prominently in fourth, while Mullins' Thomas Hobson and the winner's stablemate US Army Ranger were towards the back of the field.
As the pace turned up a notch approaching the home turn, Marmelo threw down his challenge, but Johannes Vermeer appeared to be travelling well on his heels and he kicked on with around a furlong-and-a half to run.
Max Dynamite tried to go with him on the inside but Corey Brown was really just getting to work on Rekindling and the colt found an extra gear on the outside to get up on the line.
O'Brien 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.
"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."
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!"
THE FULL FINISHING ORDER FOR THE 2017 MELBOURNE CUP
1. Rekindling (22) $17.10 win, $5.90 place (S’TAB)
2. Johannes Vermeer (7) $4.20
3. Max Dynamite (9) $5.20
4. Big Duke (13)
5. Nakeeta (18)
6. Thomas Hobson (21)
7. Tiberian (4)
8. Libran (17)
9. Marmelo (5)
10. Wicklow Brave (12)
11. Red Cardinal (6)
12. Almandin (2)
13. Cismontane (24)
14. Amelie’s Star (23)
15. Boom Time (15)
16. Wall of Fire (20)
17. Single Gaze (19)
18. US Army Ranger (14)
19. Humidor (3)
20. Hartnell (1)
21. Ventura Storm (10)
22. Bondi Beach (8)
23. Gallante (16)