Wednesday 16 October 2019

Magic Wand and Latrobe head strong Irish team as O'Brien family target more Melbourne Cup success

Joseph O'Brien with his father Aiden
Joseph O'Brien with his father Aiden
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

The famous O'Brien racing family – father Aidan and son Joseph – are strongly represented with 10 passengers between them as the second wave of European challengers entered quarantine before heading to Australia for this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Sixteen overseas contenders will spend the next fortnight in pre-export quarantine facilities in Tipperary and Newmarket before boarding a flight from London, which is scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on October 12.

Among them is a quartet from Joseph O'Brien as the 26-year-old bids for another Melbourne Cup victory on November 5 in Flemington having landed 'the race that stops a nation' with Rekindling two years ago.

Ascot Gold Cup third Master Of Reality heads an O'Brien trio owned by Melbourne Cup specialist Lloyd Williams, who is also responsible for Twilight Payment (formerly trained by Jim Bolger) and last year's Irish Derby hero Latrobe.

Latrobe competed in last year's Spring Racing Carnival and came within a neck of winning the Group One Mackinnon Stakes on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

O'Brien's jet setters bound for Melbourne are completed by talented stayer Downdraft, which is owned by Australian syndicate OTI Racing, while his father Aidan has a formidable six-strong team led by Group Two winner Magic Wand.

Magic Wand has a Royal Ascot victory on her resumé having landed last year's Ribblesdale and finished a brilliant second behind stablemate Magical in the Group One Irish Champion Stakes on her last outing.

Stable companions Il Paradiso, Hunting Horn, Norway and Mohawk will join her on the plane while multiple Group One-winning sprinter Ten Sovereigns has some interesting engagements Down Under.

Ten Sovereigns has been nominated for the Manikato Stakes at The Valley and the Darley Sprint Classic at Flemington but will first fly to Sydney – where he is scheduled to compete in the Everest – before travelling south to join his stablemates at Werribee.

Willie Mullins's exciting mare True Self was part of the first lot of European horses that entered quarantine two weeks ago and will be arriving in the coming days ahead of an autumn campaign in Australia.

Southern France, formerly trained by Aidan O'Brien, will be transferred to the stables of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace upon arrival while last year's Melbourne Cup victor Cross Counter heads the English team making the long trip.

Cross Counter leads Charlie Appleby's possible team of five along with Ispolini, D'bai and either Walton Street or Setting Sail (both will travel if another international contender does not make the trip) while Hughie Morrison's stayer Marmelo is also set to check in.

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