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Downdraft could join Master Of Reality in Joseph O’Brien’s team for the 2019 Melbourne Cup

Joseph O'Brien (left) and owner Lloyd Williams (right) celebrate Rekindling's Melbourne Cup win in 2017.

Downdraft enters Joseph O’Brien’s reckoning for the Melbourne Cup, after a solid Listed victory at Roscommon over the weekend.

After falling short in handicap company at the previous two Royal Ascot meetings, Downdraft finally claimed the high-profile victory he needed at Rosscommon on Sunday afternoon. Joseph O’Brien’s charge was backed into a fairly short price on the day and everything went according to plan. Joseph’s brother, Donnacha gave the four-year-old a positive ride and the duo quickened away in the final couple of furlongs to land the Listed Lenebane Stakes by just over half-a-length.

"It went very smooth.” Donnacha O’Brien said following the race. My horse relaxed lovely and I knew he had a turn of foot,”

“I was happy to keep sitting second off a slow pace and once I asked him to quicken he quickened well.”

"I'll leave plans to Joseph but he's a smart little horse and he's versatile. I'm sure Joseph will pick a good option for him."

The Ebor Handicap at York, where £1 million in prize money will be up for grabs, looks a likely step for Downdraft. After that, however, there’s a strong chance he will be part of Joseph O’Brien’s raiding party to set out for Australia, with a Melbourne Cup entry a possibility.

Downdraft is owned by OTI Racing, a syndicate based in Australia and they would dearly love a runner in this year’s Melbourne Cup. OTI’s Terry Henderson spoke to Racing Pulse after watching his flag-bearer score at Rosscommon.

“He’s coming along well. (At Roscommon) he sat outside the joint-favourite, one of Dermot’s (Weld) good Agha Khan horses and was able to outstay him and hold off another challenger to the line,”

“It basically guarantees him a start in the Ebor and we know if you run well in the Ebor you’ve got a very good chance of coming to Melbourne and winning something.” 
Another Aussie owner targeting Melbourne Cup success with Joseph O’Brien is Lloyd Williams. Unlike OTI, Williams has tasted success in the big race at Flemington, lifting the famous trophy on a record six occasions and he looks set to fire a couple of O’Brien’s big guns at the 2019 Melbourne Cup.

Latrobe was rumoured to be in the mix for the Cup last year, only for connections to swerve that two-mile handicap in favour of the shorter Seppelt McKinnon Stakes. The surprise Irish Derby winner came agonisingly close to landing that £700k prize, losing out by just a head to Trap For Fools. Latrobe then had his stamina tested in the Curragh Cup at the end of June, but after being outstayed by Twilight Payment, O’Brien seemed unsure whether a Melbourne Cup bid would happen this year, with a return to the Seppelt McKinnon much more likely.

One who will fly the flag for O’Brien and Williams in the 2019 Melbourne Cup will be Master Of reality, who produced a career-best performance to finish a length behind the all-conquering Stradivarius in the Royal Ascot Gold Cup. An unheralded 66/1 outsider before the race, Wayne Lordan’s mount saw out the two-and-a-half mile trip extremely well on testing ground, holding on from the front to secure a huge wodge of place money.

Joseph O’Brien and Lloyd Williams lifted the Melbourne Cup together two years ago when Rekindling snatched a famous victory. After such a strong performance in a prestigious race like the Ascot Gold Cup, Master Of Reality is sure to make the cut for the Cup and he currently sits second in bet365’s Melbourne Cup market, behind last year’s champion, Cross Counter.

Fellow Williams-owned stayers, Buckhurst could also represent O’Brien at Flemington and he’s a general 33/1 shot in the Cup betting. Latrobe can currently be found at 50/1, with Downdraft even further adrift at 66s.

*Current Melbourne Cup (Flemington 4/11/19) betting with bet365*
18/1 Cross Counter, 20/1 Master Of Reality, Dee Ex Bee, Fierement, 25/1 Ghostwatch, Ispolini, Marmelo, Finche, 33/1 Bar


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Downdraft could join Master Of Reality in Joseph O’Brien’s team for the 2019 Melbourne Cup

Downdraft enters Joseph O’Brien’s reckoning for the Melbourne Cup, after a solid Listed victory at Roscommon over the weekend on Sunday 8th July.

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