Saturday 18 November 2017

'Joseph O'Brien is going to be one of the best trainers in the world, and I've told his father that too'

Joseph O'Brien and owner Lloyd Williams pose with Melbourne cup after Rekindling won
Joseph O'Brien and owner Lloyd Williams pose with Melbourne cup after Rekindling won

Niall Cronin

Just over a week after his father Aidan had rewritten the history books today was the turn of 24-year-old Joseph O'Brien as he became the youngest ever trainer to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup on an incredible day for Irish sport.

Six of the 23 runners in the most famous flat race in the world were Irish trained and it was the O'Brien-trained Rekindling that led home a 1-2-3 for Irish based horses with Johannes Vermeer, trained by Aidan, finishing second and the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite back in third place.

The winner of the 157th running of "the race that stops a nation" carried the colours of Australia's most successful owner, Lloyd Williams, and the 77-year-old hailed the winning trainer as "extraordinary" after he watched his colours carried to victory for the sixth time.

"I've been telling people for a while now that Joseph O'Brien is going to be one of the best trainers in the world, and I've told his father that too," Williams said afterwards.

"To come down here and win this race in his second year as a trainer is close to being able to walk on water I would think."

The winning trainer, as modest as his father, couldn't come to terms with the magnitude of his achievement.

"Rekindling probably just outstayed Dad's horse as Johannes Vermeer has loads of speed, but I've spoken to Dad a few times and he is over the moon," O'Brien said. "I'd have been as happy if he had won as he is that I have won."

It hasn't sunk in yet, I really can't believe it. Lloyd and his son, Nick, have sent me some very nice horses and this horse just came to me at the start of the year and David Wachman (former trainer of Rekindling) told me that he was a very nice horse. He's still only a three-year-old, I can't believe it. Today is unbelievable."

O'Brien paid tribute to his staff who had looked after Rekindling when based at Werribee Racecourse since arriving in Australia.

"His prep went really good down here and the lads were happy with him. Mark, MJ, Shay that are down here with him have done an unbelievable job and all the lads at home all year around have done a great job, it really is a team performance."

O'Brien later said that the feeling of winning the Emirates Melbourne Cup even trumped his achievements as a jockey, including winning the Epsom Derby.

"This may be better than riding. There's so much more goes into training a horse than riding a horse and I really can't quite believe it."

Willie Mullins vowed to be back to Australia for a sixth attempt at winning the Melbourne Cup after he had to settle for minor honours this year but all three of his runners in the race made the top 10 with Thomas Hobson finishing sixth and Wicklow Brave back in 10th.

"I think seeing Irish horses finish first, second and third is a huge achievement," Mullins said. "We are probably gamey to come down for it. It is a big undertaking coming down here but I suppose, being Irish, we are prepared to travel and take a chance.

"I will probably have to find a new bunch of horses as I don't imagine any of these three will come back but I hope I have something at home that can."

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport