Rekindling, the British-born racehorse who won the 2017 Melbourne Cup, is reportedly being chased by several A-League clubs ahead of the start of Australia’s premier soccer competition. The clubs are said to be keen for a combination of eye-catching speed and a “big name” to reverse last season’s disappointing fall in crowd attendance and TV ratings.
It comes after news that the Central Coast Mariners A-League club had granted sprint legend Usain Bolt a six-week trial, as the Jamaican track-and-field star seeks an ongoing contract as an A-League “marquee” player.
Rival clubs are said to believe Rekindling could counter Bolt’s famed speed while offering a comparable level of ball skills, plus a drastically lower risk of damaging “handballs” in the penalty area.
A spokesperson for Football Federation Australia, which is reportedly in talks with Rekindling’s agent in support of attempts to lure to racing star to the league, denied attempts to bring the racehorse to the A-League was just a “gimmick”.
“Rekindling will have to prove his skills are up to it. And I know some armchair critics question his capacity to do more than run hard down the wing after a long ball, then fail to do anything useful with the ball, but honestly, have they ever watched the A-League? That’s what we specialise in!”
The spokesperson said a further benefit may be the example Rekindling could set on the controversial issue of players faking injuries: “Rekindling has a definite vested interest in not rolling around on the ground holding his leg in agony at the slightest touch.
“After all, I reckon even Neymar would stop his theatrics pretty quick if he feared it might cause a trainer to come on to the pitch with a shotgun.”