Joseph O'Brien given Melbourne Cup boost as Twilight Payment joins team heading to Australia
Two years after landing the Lexus Melbourne Cup as a rookie trainer, Joseph O'Brien will head Down Under seeking a slice of the whopping €5m prize money once again and his team have been greatly boosted by the acquisition of Twilight Payment.
O'Brien famously fended off his father Aidan to land the 2017 renewal for owners Lloyd and Nick Williams with Rekindling and the same connections have purchased Twilight Payment from Irish trainer Jim Bolger, with the Flemington showpiece on November 5 his target.
Twilight Payment landed the Group Two Curragh Cup from Joseph O'Brien's Irish Derby hero Latrobe in June with subsequent Ebor Handicap winner Mustajeer back in fifth, while it may be a good omen that Rekindling won the same race in 2017 before landing the spoils in Melbourne.
Twilight Payment, a six-year-old which has won five races from 23 efforts, has shown his best form this season and joins Buckhurst, Downdraft, Latrobe and Master Of Reality in O'Brien's five-strong team heading to Oz.
"Twilight Payment has recently joined our yard and the plan is to send him for the Melbourne Cup. He will run somewhere next month, possibly in the Irish St Leger in which he finished fourth last year," the 26-year-old Kilkenny trainer said yesterday.
His father Aidan has never landed "the race that stops a nation" and last year's English St Leger winner Kew Gardens heads an impressive team of 11 from the Ballydoyle maestro, while Willie Mullins and two-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Dermot Weld are also represented.
The 18 Irish hopefuls in the Melbourne Cup:
Buckhurst (Joseph O'Brien)
Cape Of Good Hope (Aidan O'Brien)
Constantinople (Aidan O'Brien)
Downdraft (Joseph O'Brien)
Eminence (Aidan O'Brien)
Hunting Horn (Aidan O'Brien)
Il Paradiso (Aidan O'Brien)
Kew Gardens (Aidan O'Brien)
Latrobe (Joseph O'Brien)
Magic Wand (Aidan O'Brien)
Master Of Reality (Joseph O'Brien)
Mount Everest (Aidan O'Brien)
Norway (Aidan O'Brien)
South Pacific (Aidan O'Brien)
Stivers (Dermot Weld)
True Self (Willie Mullins)
Twilight Payment (Joseph O'Brien)
Western Australia (Aidan O'Brien)