Connections with Rekindling at Werribee on Wednesday (Image: Racing Photos)
Joseph O'Brien is confident Emirates Melbourne Cup champion Rekindling can train on next season and develop into one of the world's premier stayers.
Speaking after casting his eye over Rekindling at Werribee on Wednesday, O'Brien said the son of High Chaparral would likely spell at Macedon Lodge before returning to Ireland for a 2018 summer campaign geared towards the Group 1 Gold Cup (4000m) at Royal Ascot.
And the 24-year-old didn't rule out Rekindling returning to Flemington in 12 months' time to defend his Cup crown, but stressed that the horse would need to remain sound and in form to warrant another Melbourne campaign.
"He seems to have pulled up well, he's in good form here this morning," O'Brien said.
"He'll have a little break and then I think he might come back to Europe next season for maybe a try at an Ascot Gold Cup or something like that in the summer, he's an exciting horse for next season.
"There's no reason why he wouldn't train on, he's had a busy year this year and he's looked to get better throughout, his last run in Europe was his best before this which is obviously a career best.
"I'd like to think so (that the horse will travel to Australia again), absolutely, although it'll be tough to try to do it again.
"He has to say sound and a lot of things have to go right for him to come back again next year."
Also at Werribee was owner Lloyd Williams, who echoed O'Brien's sentiments about the stayer's development but said until Rekindling enjoys a spell, any plans about future racing campaigns would be premature.
"You hope that he'll go forward, he's a good staying horse," Williams said.
"But he's been going since April and it's the second week of November now so we're going to send him up to Macedon Lodge and give him three or four weeks on the grass.
"It would be great to see him in the Gold Cup, it would be a good race for him but time will tell, that's a long way off."