2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling has rejoined Joseph O’Brien’s yard with the six-year-old making an unlikely U-turn to come out of retirement.
He raced just once since his historic win for the O’Brien team in Australia, finishing last of 15 runners in the Australian Cup when in the care of Liam Howley. Rekindling was to go to stud but connections of the four-time winner have instead decided to have another crack at racing as he returns to O’Brien’s Owning Hill base.
“It’s great to have him back in the yard,” said O’Brien. “He had a couple of setbacks in Australia but he’s back home and training well. We’re looking forward to the year ahead with him.
“He’s still a young horse and when he won the Melbourne Cup he was only a three-year-old. We thought that there might be a bit of fun to be had with him and hopefully he can have a good season back in his old regime and facilities.”
Rekindling gave O’Brien the biggest success of his training career. Ridden by star Australian jockey Corey Brown, he held off the challenge of Johannes Vermeer, trained by Joseph’s father Aidan. The Irish were responsible for the first three home that day with the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite in fourth.
Yucatan, a previous Group 1 runner-up for Aidan, has also joined the Joseph O’Brien team.
“He’s another nice horse to have in the yard,” added O’Brien. “He’s had a few little setbacks previously too but hopefully he can do well for us.”
“Nick and Lloyd Williams have been fantastic supporters of mine and they look to have a nice team of horses.”