Esteemed Irish horse trainer Aidan O’Brien is expected to return to Australia for the 150th Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 2, the successful mentor looking to add the elusive ‘Loving Cup’ to his vast trophy cabinet.
O’Brien, who works extensively training horses for Ballydoyle Stables and Coolmore Stud, last had a Melbourne Cup starter two years ago, but his 2008 Cup endeavour was anything but successful.
Having won premier races in six countries including two Irish St Legers in his home country, the Canadian International, the Prix Royal-Oak in France and a plethora of British classics, O’Brien is yet to train a Melbourne Cup winner.
In 2008 he had three starters in the Melbourne Cup with Septimus, Alessandro and Honolulu, but in a devastating result that saw O’Brien questioned by stewards post-race, his runners finished 18th, 20th and 21st respectively in the 22 horse race. Honolulu officially finishing dead last after Gallopin failed to finish.
Reportedly O’Brien is still embarrassed by his thwarted efforts to win the Melbourne Cup, especially as rival Irish trainer Dermot Weld has managed to win the world’s richest handicap twice.
Weld saw success with Media Puzzle (2002) and Vintage Crop (2003).
It takes a special kind of horse to win the Melbourne Cup and O’Brien is still trying to pinpoint the exact qualities and type of training needed to produce a Cup winner.
Whether he thinks any of his stable stars suited to the conditions of the 2010 Melbourne Cup will be revealed over the next few months as this year’s Melbourne Cup field begins to take shape.