Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Jockey Ben Melham looks a genuine chance to enjoy a maiden Caulfield Cup winning ride after an ideal barrier two draw for race favourite and his mount on Saturday Johannes Vermeer.
One of three internationals in the 17 starter field for this year’s Group 1 $3 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), the Aidan O’Brien-trained Galileo stallion Johannes Vermeer was one of the big winners in Tuesday morning’s barrier draw.
The punters have come for the visiting five-year-old in Caulfield Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au since the barriers were announced, Johannes Vermeer backed in from $5 to $4.80 to continue the nice recent record of the raiders in the race.
Taufan’s Melody (1998) made history as the first international Caulfield Cup winner scoring a big upset at 66/1.
Since then a further three internationally-trained raiders have gotten the upper hand over the locally-trained stayers in the Caulfield Cup results: All Too Good (40/1 in 2008), Dunaden (12/1 in 2012) and most recently the ill-fated Japanese galloper Admire Ratki (10/1 in 2014).
The Caulfield Cup odds on Johannes Vermeer to be the next visitor to steal the show are much shorter than any to have done it before him.
Melham was chuffed with the gate, but history shows that the last Caulfield Cup winner to salute from barrier two was the David Hayes-trained import Tawqeet in 2006.
“He relaxes well and he’s the right type of horse for a Caulfield Cup,” Melham told the media on Tuesday.
“I’m pretty confident.
“I’m in good hands. It’s going to be a high pressure race.
“I’ve got the right draw.”
Tawqeet was the third since 1983 to win from the barrier joining the Noel Eales-trained Mr. Lomondy (2 of 18 in 1986) and the mare Arctic Scent (2 of 18 in 1996).
Incredibly the three to have done so were each a decade apart, meaning barrier two is overdue to produce a Caulfield Cup champion this year.
Favourites in Caulfield Cup betting meanwhile have saluted for the punters twice in two years with Mongolian Khan (4/1 in 2015) and Jameka (13/4 in 2016).
Before that however there was a drought for the Caulfield Cup favourites, Master O’Reilly (8/1 in 2007) the other most recent to get the job done.
Johannes Vermeer is second-up in Australia and on the quick back-up having run a close second to Gailo Chop last Saturday in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield when ridden by Katelyn Mallyon.
Defeated just a neck carrying 59kg, the horse will enjoy the weight relief coming back to 54.5kg this weekend as he chases a maiden win over further than 2011m.
“It was an exceptional run and he pulled up well,” Melham said.
It would be ideal if I could repay them [trainer Aidan O’Brien and owner Lloyd Williams) with a win.”
Mongolian Khan (3rd in 2015) was the last Caulfield Cup winner to back up off a Ladbrokes Stakes run.
Mallyon meanwhile also has a Caulfield Cup ride for Williams partnering the Robert Hickmott-trained Sir Isaac Newton from the outside barrier (17 of 17).
Sir Isaac Newton is a $61 roughie in the Caulfield Cup markets, the import out to improve on his seventh in the race last year.
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