Sunday 17 February 2019

Latrobe could lead O'Brien's Melbourne encore

Joseph O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Joseph O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Joseph O'Brien shocked the world last year when the rookie became the youngest winning trainer of the Melbourne Cup with Rekindling, and his Irish Derby hero Latrobe could make the trip Down Under for this year's renewal in November.

While Saturday's English St Leger is first on his agenda, Latrobe has been handed a weight 8-3 for the race that stops a nation as the Kilkenny-based trainer bids for back-to-back wins in the Flemington showpiece.

Rekindling led home an Irish 1-2-3 on that occasion with his father Aidan's Johannes Vermeer a close second while Willie Mullins' Max Dynamite was back in third and it could be another family affair on November 6.

Aidan O'Brien has a dozen entries as he bids to go one better and claim a first Melbourne Cup with Lancaster Bomber (9-1), Cliffs Of Moher (8-13), Idaho (8-11) and English St Leger favourite Kew Gardens (8-5) some of the most prominent among the 183 entries.

Mullins also has a handful of candidates including Max Dynamite (8-7), Thomas Hobson (8-3) and Royal Ascot heroine Lagostovegas (7-12) while ante-post favourite Withhold (12/1) will also be aiming for history.

No English trainer has won the 24-runner stamina test but Roger Charloton's Northumberland Plate winner is not guaranteed a run having been allotted 8-5, which means he sits 58th on the list.

Elsewhere, Aidan O'Brien has hailed the "incredible" Order Of St George after the 2016 Ascot Gold Cup hero was retired yesterday instead of opting for another tilt at Sunday's Irish St Leger at the Curragh, a race he won twice.

"We did not want to be greedy and risk him. It's nothing serious, just age has caught up with him, and we thought it was the right thing to do for the horse. He was an incredible stayer but had the class to be competitive in an Arc," the Ballydoyle maestro said.

Irish Independent

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