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Joseph O’Brien strikes Melbourne gold again with Twilight Payment

Joseph O’Brien once again denied his father Aidan in the Lexus Melbourne Cup as Twilight Payment made all to lift the Group One contest at Flemington.

The trainer registered his first win when Rekindling held off O’Brien snr’s Johannes Vermeer by half a length in 2017, and the distance was the same this time around as Tiger Moth just failed to reel in the Jye McNeil-ridden winner.

Charlie Fellowes’ British raider Prince Of Arran, placed in the last two Melbourne Cups, came agonisingly close to victory once again, finishing with purpose to be beaten a head in third in a race that was marred by the death of last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, who was euthanised after fracturing a fetlock.

Of beating his father once again in the Australian event, O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing: “We both realise how hard it is to win on the world stage in these big, big races, but I am very lucky that I have been able to win a couple of big races.

“Dad has been very lucky, he has won a lot of big races, I’d be delighted for him if he had won, and I’m sure he is for me having won. We do our best on the track and whatever happens out there happens.

“I was really too nervous to see what was going to happen. I was hardly able to watch, but it was a fantastic ride by Jye and a fantastic effort by all the lads with the horse.”

McNeil executed a perfect front-running ride, with the field well strung out on the home turn before Twilight Payment, who was previously trained by Jim Bolger and finished 11th in the race last year, kept finding for pressure in the finish.

McNeil told www.racing.com: “I encouraged him (Twilight Payment) to go forward, because that was the plan. Then he just found such a lovely tempo at the top. It was just a matter of amping the rhythm up at just the right stage and I am glad it all worked out.

“Joseph wanted me to be a step ahead of the field and really get them chasing. What he lacks in class, he makes up in his staying ability.

“I’m peaking on my run 200m out. I’m using all of my might not to use too many whips, very vocal, trying to encourage him.

“It was very surreal crossing the line in front. I’ve got goosebumps from then and they’re still here now.”

O’Brien added: “Jye gave the horse a fantastic ride. Credit goes to the lads who have looked after Twilight Payment for the last month or so. They’ve done a fantastic job with the horses down there.”

Kerrin McEvoy was thrilled with Tiger Moth’s effort in second, beaten half a length, on what was only his fifth career start, but there was a sting in the tail for the rider, who was fined $50,000 and banned for 13 meetings for misusing his whip.

McEvoy pleaded guilty to the charge after it was found he hit Moth 13 times before the 100-metre (half-furlong) mark and 21 times in total. He is not permitted to strike his mount more than five times before the 100-metre mark.

Tiger Moth finished second for Aidan O'Brien
Tiger Moth finished second for Aidan O’Brien (PA)

McEvoy said: “It was a great run for a young horse having only his fifth start in a race. He’s run really well.”

Fellowes and rider Jamie Kah were ruing their luck after Prince Of Arran endured a troubled passage at the top of the straight, before flying home to claim third, adding to his second of last year and third in 2018.

The Newmarket handler said: “He’s a remarkable horse. He’s done everything right and if he had enjoyed a bit more luck, he could well have gone even closer.

“He was just very unlucky on the home bend. Jamie had him in a perfect position, she got him into a good rhythm and then he couldn’t find a run, which we knew was a risk from his draw, but he’s run a great race.

“Take nothing away from the winner though – Jye McNeil gave him a brilliant and brave ride from the front and he got his fractions absolutely spot on. The best horse won on the day.”

Prince Of Arran is now likely to head to the Saudi Cup meeting at Riyadh in February, with Fellowes not planning too far ahead with his stable star.

He added: “I just felt this year was his year. He had a perfect preparation and it looked a winnable race, but we just needed a bit more luck.

Prince Of Arran was placed once again
Prince Of Arran was placed once again (Graham Clark/PA)

“We will get him home and see how he is, but Saudi Arabia would likely be the next stop.

“We will just take it one race at a time with him. He’s a seven-year-old and while he does save a bit for himself, which perhaps could give him a longer shelf life at that top level, if ever we were worried about him, either in preparation or after a race, we wouldn’t take any chances.

“He’s an amazing horse and owes us nothing.”

Anthony Van Dyck sustains fatal Melbourne Cup injury

Anthony Van Dyck, winner of last year’s Derby, has been euthanised after fracturing a fetlock in the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old famously prevailed in a tight finish to the Epsom Classic last term and struck gold in the Prix Foy at ParisLongchamp in September, beating three-times Gold Cup hero Stradivarius.

Anthony Van Dyck was saddled with top weight in the Melbourne Cup after being edged out in the Caulfield Cup on his most recent outing, but he was pulled up by Hugh Bowman in the feature race.

Racing Victoria’s executive general manager – integrity services, Jamie Stier said: “It is with sadness that we confirm that Anthony Van Dyck had to be humanely euthanised after sustaining a fractured fetlock during the running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

“The horse received immediate veterinary care, however he was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained.

“Our sympathies are extended to the owners of Anthony Van Dyck, trainer Aidan O’Brien and all his staff who cared for the horse and are greatly saddened by their loss.”

Stier added a fatality report will now be prepared by the RV integrity services team as is standard practice.

He said: “The fatality report gives consideration to the circumstances of the incident and any potential learnings to assist in the prevention of similar injuries in the future.

“The report will include the findings of a post-mortem which will now be conducted by the University of Melbourne Veterinary Clinic and we expect it will be several weeks before we have a completed report for consideration.”

Anthony Van Dyck won six of his 19 starts, amassing over £2.3 million in prize money, with the son of Galileo also counting the Tyros Stakes, the Futurity and Lingfield Derby Trial amongst his victories.

The Victoria Racing Club tweeted: “The Victoria Racing Club extends its condolences to the owners, trainer Aidan O’Brien and his team who cared for Anthony Van Dyck and are saddened by their loss. We would like to thank the track and veterinary staff for their prompt and humane care of the horse.

“The Club remains totally committed to the welfare of all equine athletes and the ongoing focus on their wellbeing and will continue to work with the industry to understand the cause of this incident.”

Joseph O’Brien bags second Melbourne Cup with Twilight Payment

Joseph O’Brien sent out his second winner of the Lexus Melbourne Cup as Twilight Payment triumphed in the Group One contest at Flemington.

O’Brien claimed the two-mile event with Rekindling in 2017 and he again was on the mark as Jye McNeil’s mount fended off Tiger Moth, trained by O’Brien’s father Aidan, to take the prize.

Charlie Fellowes’ British raider Prince Of Arran, placed in the last two Melbourne Cups, again finished with a flourish to take third.

However, the race was marred by a fatal injury to last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, who was euthanised after fracturing a fetlock.

McNeil had his mount prominent throughout with Tiger Moth also to the fore in the early stages before settling back into third.

With five furlongs to run, the 23-strong field was well strung out and Twilight Payment was winding it up in front and Twilight Payment had lengths to spare entering the closing stages.

However, Tiger Moth charged home late, but Joseph O’Brien again denied his father, as he did three years ago when Rekindling beat Johannes Vermeer.

Joseph O'Brien is now a dual Melbourne Cup winner
Joseph O’Brien is now a dual Melbourne Cup winner (PA)

O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing: “Jye gave the horse a fantastic ride. Credit goes to the lads who have looked after Twilight Payment for the last month or so. They’ve done a fantastic job with the horses down there.

“This was our first full year with him, he came to us halfway through last year. Going through the summer, he ran a couple of huge races at the Curragh.

“I was worried today he might have got a bit of pressure on the lead, but the horse has an incredible heart and Jye gave him a fantastic ride and he has a huge will to win.”

Twilight Payment was previously trained by Jim Bolger, until he was bought by Lloyd Williams, who also owned Rekindling.

O’Brien said: “It’s a privilege to train for the people that I train for and the horses that we have.

“We really appreciate the support and the success when it comes, but it’s a tough game as everybody knows and it’s a fine line from the top and the bottom. I’m just very appreciative.

“The proof that he got the fractions spot on is watching the race when you see Tiger Moth finish, but the horse is incredible and I’m just thankful of the support and the work everyone has done with the horse, at home as well.”

Aidan O'Brien had to settle for second behind Joseph again
Aidan O’Brien had to settle for second behind Joseph again (PA)

Of beating his father once again in the Australian event, O’Brien added: “We both realise how hard it is to win on the world stage in these big, big races, but I am very lucky that I have been able to win a couple of big races.

“Dad has been very lucky, he has won a lot of big races, I’d be delighted for him if he had won, and I’m sure he is for me having won. We do our best on the track and whatever happens out there happens.

“I was really too nervous to see what was going to happen. I was hardly able to watch, but it was a fantastic ride by Jye and a fantastic effort by all the lads with the horse.”

Tiger Moth finished second for Aidan O'Brien
Tiger Moth finished second for Aidan O’Brien (PA)

Kerrin McEvoy was thrilled with Tiger Moth’s effort in second, beaten half a length, on what was only his fifth career start.

He told www.racing.com: “We were able to get across into a nice spot. We dropped in and got a nice lead and he travelled really well.

“The winner kept running, I just had to pick up to get into the race, which he did, but the winner was just a bit strong today.

“It was a great run for a young horse having only his fifth start in a race. He’s run really well.”

Prince Of Arran was finishing fastest of all at the line and jockey Jamie Kah was left ruing her luck after their three-quarter-length defeat.

She said: “He was super unlucky. He really deserves it. He just had no luck on the turn.”

Fellowes tweeted: “Incredibly proud of Prince Of Arran. Another wonderful run in Australia’s great race. Thank you
@AledBeech for looking after him so well, thank you Jamie Kah for a lovely ride, thank you to the Obaida family for sending him to me to train. 4th time lucky next year?”

Dashing Willoughby finished down the field at Flemington
Dashing Willoughby finished down the field at Flemington (Bill Selwyn/PA)

The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum was 20th and jockey Jordan Childs said: “He ran OK. We got up on a nice spot, travelled good. They were just a bit slick for him when the pace quickened.”

Dashing Willoughby beat just one horse home for trainer Andrew Balding.

His rider Michael Walker said: “He’s not right, the horse. He’s not right. Action-wise he’s not right.”

German runner Ashrun finished 10th while last year’s winner Vow And Declare was 18th.