Trained by 24-year-old Joseph O'Brien, son of Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien
Jockey Corey Brown previously won Melbourne Cup in 2009
Rekindling won Australia’s iconic Melbourne Cup race on Tuesday, the youngest horse to take home the cup since 1941.
Just three years old, the British-bred stallion is owned by Australian property developer and veteran owner Lloyd Williams and was trained by 24-year-old former jockey Joseph O’Brien.
“Speechless, I just can’t believe it,” jockey Corey Brown told CNN-affiliate Channel 7 after winning the race. ‘It’s a dream to even just ride in the race, but to win it again? I’m lost for words.”
Brown previously won the Melbourne Cup in 2009 racing on Shocking.
Twenty-four horses tore up the track at Melbourne’s famous Flemington racecourse in an attempt to win the coveted cup, which comes with a prize pool of $4.8 million (A$6.2 million).
Known as “the race that stops a nation,” workplaces and schools across Australia regularly grind to a halt every November to watch the event.
Run over 3,200 meters, the race was first held in 1861 and is now regularly attended by tens of thousands of racegoers. The event has grown so large it is now a public holiday in parts of Australia.
O’Brien is the son of famed Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, whose horse Johannes Vermeer came in second to his son’s stallion. “I can’t quite believe it, this is unbelievable,” Joseph told Channel 7 reporters.
Ahead of the race, British horse Marmelo and German thoroughbred Almandin were favorites to win in what was considered a fairly open field.
Tens of thousands of people from across Melbourne flocked to Flemington Tuesday dressed in suits, frocks and elaborate hats. For many people, Melbourne Cup day is a chance to show off the latest fashion, and there’s stiff competition for the best dressed.
Celebrations around Tuesday’s race were marred by protesters attempting to draw attention to the plight of refugees trapped without food or water in a recently closed detention center in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
Local media reported protesters had parked a car across train tracks leading to the Flemington race track, covered in messages saying “Evacuate Manus.”
Meanwhile other demonstrators climbed a crane close to the race course to display a banner reading “SOS: Evacuated Manus now.”
The race is also regularly the focus of complaints over animal cruelty, ranging from the whipping of horses during the race to the euthanizing of animals injured during the run.
Three-time Melbourne Cup runner up Red Cadeaux was euthanised after he was injured during the 2015 Melbourne Cup, shocking racegoers.
According to Australia’s Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, the racing industry doesn’t provide a full accounting of the number of injured or euthanized horses every year.