Five-time Melbourne Cup winning Australian owner Lloyd Williams is yet to make a call on whether or not his Curragh Cup champion Rekindling will make the trip down under for this year’s edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’.
The three-year-old High Chaparral colt, prepared by Joseph O’Brien, was ultra-impressive over the weekend winning the £200,000 Group 2 Comer Group Curragh Cup (2816m) with his half-length success over the William Mullins-trained favourite Wicklow Brave.
Despite being held up early, with three furlongs left in the staying showdown Rekindling was travelling well.
He improved to sit second with a furlong left and then stayed on well to hit the lead close to the line and draw clear in his longest distanced start to date.
“My greatest thrill here is Joseph O’Brien,” Williams said of the trainer, a son of top Irish horseman and 2014 Cox Plate winner with Shamus Award Aidan O’Brien, speaking to the media on Sunday.
“I’ve known him since he was very young and today he beat two of his Dad’s horses.
“No one is more pleased than Aidan, who is a very close friend of mine.”
Williams could now be tempted to plan a Victorian Spring Racing assault with Rekindling to target the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday, November 7.
A prolific businessman and goliath racehorse owner, Williams has won the world’s richest handicap five times to date with: Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012) and most recently Almandin (2016) last season.
He also has a part-share in the Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish galloper Order Of St George, recent runner-up behind Big Orange in the £400,000 Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4014m).
Galileo stallion Order Of St George bypassed last year’s Melbourne Cup in favour of run in the €4,999,999 (AUS$7.4 million) Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) in France where he ran third behind stablemates Found (1st) and Highland Reel (2nd).
As a three-year-old though he won the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) at The Curragh and that mid-September feature is the likely next-up option for Rekindling.
“We will see after The Leger [whether he travels to Melbourne],” Williams said.
“He is going on the same path as Order Of St George did as a three-year-old.”
Futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Rekindling listed as a $31 shot before nominations close at midday on Tuesday, August 29.