Ben Melham reckons he’s unlucky not to already have a Caulfield Cup on the mantelpiece after one ride on lrish horse Johannes Vermeer.
The jockey has now turned his attention to winning an even bigger prize -Tuesday’s $6 million Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer, who is raced by a group including prominent Australian owner Lloyd Williams, has produced two eye-catching spring carnival runs in Melbourne without getting a major prize.
His fast-finishing second with Katelyn Mallyon aboard in the Group One Caulfield Stakes (2000m) was followed up by a luckless third under Melham in the $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) a week later.
Johannes Vermeer is among the leading Melbourne Cup contenders in his first test at 3200m.
“He probably should have won the Caulfield Cup,” Melham said.
“We had a chequered run through them. He didn’t have a lot of luck and he still ran very well.
“Obviously he hasn’t been beyond the mile-and-a-half (2400m) but my gut feeling is he’ll run the two miles.
“And I think if he does run the two miles, he’ll obviously run very well.”
Co-owner Nick Williams said Johannes Vermeer had done nothing wrong since arriving in Victoria.
“There seems to be doubts around the place about whether he’ll see the trip out. Certainly none from within the stable,” he said.
“So we’re very confident with him.
“He’s drawn perfectly and we expect a really solid run. I know Aidan is very keen on him.”
Melham said it was a competitive Cup with many form lines from around the world, but Johannes Vermeer easily represented his best Melbourne Cup chance yet.
His previous best was Our Ivanhowe who finished 10th in 2015.
“He probably should have finished third or fourth but he ended up getting flattened at about the furlong,” Melham said.
Johannes Vermeer has barrier three and Melham says the horse is straightforward to ride and has versatility.
“It’s great to be on a great chance,” he said.
“And even better to be on a great chance that’s drawn well.
“Hopefully we can win.”