US Army Ranger (Image: Steven Cargill/Racingfotos.com)
Macedon Lodge have backed young Irish horseman Joseph O'Brien, doubling his hand in this year's Emirates Melbourne Cup with the addition of US Army Ranger.
The five-year-old has been transferred into the trainer's care from that of his famed father Aidan O'Brien, having been recently purchased by five-time Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams.
A son of Galileo, US Army Ranger won the G3 Chester Vase (2500m) as a three-year-old before a brilliant second to Harzand in last year's G1 Epsom Derby (2400m).
While his form has wavered this season with six winless starts, that of his new stablemate Rekindling has been exceptional for O'Brien and Williams.
The son of High Chaparral has won two of his six starts in 2017, including the G2 Curragh Cup (2800m), and was beaten only two lengths in the St Leger (2900m) at Doncaster last month.
Speaking from Werribee on Wednesday morning, Nick Williams said the reports out of Ireland about the progress of both horses had been positive ahead of their arrival in Melbourne on Saturday.
"They've been quarantined over in Ireland and Joseph is very happy with both horses," Williams said.
"I think Rekindling in particular is a very promising young horse, he's a three-year-old and he's got 51.5kg in the Cup.
"He's a very light horse and he won't take much work when he gets here."
The Williams family have raced several top-class horses with Aidan O'Brien in recent years, including three-time G1 hero Order Of St George, and Nick Williams said he was delighted to provide his son with his maiden Australian runner this spring.
A multiple Group 1-winning rider during a short-lived career in the saddle, O'Brien has trained more than 70 winners since taking out his licence in 2016.
"Joseph, without question, is going to be one of the world's leading trainers," he said.
"He's only young and he's only been going two years but he's got some huge support in Europe and he's doing a wonderful job."
Williams also confirmed that Almandin had pulled up well from his unplaced effort behind Amelie's Star in Saturday's G3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington and would defend his Emirates Melbourne Cup crown without another lead-up run.