Recommendation: Johannes Vermeer 11/1 win
Johannes Vermeer made his seasonal debut at Naas this year running fourth to the wonderful Minding. Injury forced her retirement after winning the G2 Mooresbridge Stakes. Alas we didn’t see her again but we have the prospect of Johannes Vermeer winning the Melbourne Cup, to a great deal of people the most coveted of all races in the world.
Johannes Vermeer was a G1 winner as a two-year old when he took the Criterium International at Saint Cloud in France in November 2015. Injury meant his three-year old season was curtailed to just one run when at the end of the year in October he ran third in the Darley Stakes at Newmarket.
Aidan O’Brien kept him for a four-year old campaign and that decision has been rewarded with a trip down under for the Melbourne Cup. He’s changed ownership for this transferring to the Williams family as has US Army Ranger who is now under the tutelage of son Joseph O’Brien. Jospeh’s other runner Rekindling likewise transferred offers most to fear here. There’s a lot to like about him and his fourth in the St Leger behind Capri is outstanding form coming into this race.
Back to Johannes Vermeer, two G1 outings followed the Nass run. The Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May and Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. He never threatened but he wasn’t beaten that far going down less than 5 L’s on both occasions.
In early July he was then dropped in class for a confidence booster and duly obliged when beating a very good horse in Success Days in the G3 International Stakes on Irish Derby day.
In early August he was then beaten a 1/2 L by stable companion Spanish Steps in the G3 Ballyroan Stakes. The loss wasn’t unexpected judging by the betting that night and while Spanish Steps might have had his day in the sun you can quite conceivably see that a plan was hatched for Johannes Vermeer to go to Melbourne after that performance.
In mid October he made his Australian debut in the G1 Caulfield Stakes where he was an unconsidered outsider going off at 30/1. He ran a cracker to just be denied a head by Galio Chop.
A week later he went off favourite for the much bigger Caulfield Cup when in an interrupted run when boxed in on the rail he couldn’t get out in time. He finished third. This was a case of full of horse with nowhere to go. He ate what was left of the ground but the post came too soon. Next time.
Next time comes now. He’s not the horse he led in the picture, none are, if she’d had a season we wouldn’t talk of Enable we ‘d have only talked of Minding.
It’s good to remember a day in May, now it’s November. A day for Johannes Vermeer to have a day in the southern hemisphere sun.