The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Some Melbourne Cup 2017 form experts are raising queries about the 3200m ability of Johannes Vermeer but part-owner Nick Williams said the Irish raider would run out the two miles no worries.
There are 11 Northern hemisphere-trained stayers making the raid on Tuesday’s Group 1 $6.25 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) due to run as Flemington Race 7 at 3:00pm (AEDT).
Three of the six Team Williams-owned Melbourne Cup horses are prepared overseas with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer, and the Joseph O’Brien-trained stablemates US Army Ranger and Rekindling.
Macedon Lodge, led by five-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams, also saddle-up the reigning champion Almandin from barrier 14, and his fellow Robert Hickmott-trained stablemates Bondi Beach and Gallante drawn opposite ends of the field in gates one and 18 respectively.
The team’s best fancied chance in the Melbourne Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $9 and easing is Almandin who was the comprehensive winner carrying 4.5kg less last year.
There has also been early support for Galileo entire Johannes Vermeer ($12 into $11) with the galloper drawing well in barrier three for jockey Ben Melham.
Barrier three has produced two Melbourne Cup winners in the past 30 years, most recently the Dermot Weld-trained Irish raider Media Puzzle (3 of 23 in 2002).
A five-year-old in Australia, Johannes Vermeer is one of the internationals who fit the Melbourne Cup form of having had a lead-up down under leading into the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’.
He ran second first-up behind Gailo Chop in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) narrowly beaten at weight-for-age as a $21 outsider before his slashing Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) third.
Johannes Vermeer, with Melham in the saddle for the mile and half classic on October 21, was under one and a half lengths beaten by the Lindsay Park-trained Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time.
Boom Time scored an upset at 50/1 odds and is currently pay $26 in Melbourne Cup betting to do the double last achieved by Ethereal (2001).
Johannes Vermeer carries the same 54.5kg weight he did in the Caulfield Cup lead-up and is looking for his first win over further than 2011m.
That and the fact he is untested over the two miles has pulled up some red flags for a few Melbourne Cup tipsters, but Williams has no concerns about the distance on Tuesday.
“[He’s] done nothing wrong since he’s been in the country,” Williams told the Herald Sun.
“There seems to be doubts about him staying the trip, I can tell you there are no doubts in the camp.
“We are very confident. I know Aidan [O’Brien] is very keen.
“When horses get on a plane to come to Australia, they seem to either gain a furlong or lose a furlong.
“This horse seems to have gained a furlong. He hasn’t missed a beat.”
To check out the latest Melbourne Cup 2017 odds on the horses in the field head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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