GBI RACING

Johannes Vermeer set for swift return in Caulfield Cup

Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer is set to make a swift return to action inSaturday's BMW Caulfield Cup after narrowly failing to strike at Caulfield over the weekend.

Aidan O'Brien's charge was beaten just a head in the Group One Ladbrokes Stakes, making eyecatching late headway but just failing to catch Gailo Chop over 10 furlongs.

The four-year-old is now in line to step up to 12 furlongs just seven days later, with connections considering a midweek gallop to keep him ticking over.

"He ran very well, we thought as much, he was absolutely flying since he got here, I think since he got here his work has come on again," said O'Brien's travelling head lad TJ Comerford.

"I don't think we need to do a whole lot with him, but we will think about going on the grass on Wednesday, just putting him back to his normal routine.

"It (Caulfield Cup) does come a bit quick so we just have to change things around a little, but not a whole lot, the horse is fit and well, he is fresh, he actually looks very well.

"(Backing up) would only be a problem if they don't come out of his races well, he always seems to come out of his races well, he hasn't been knocked about at all really, he had a lovely race, he came back, ate up at night and that is where we are now, I'm 100 per cent happy with him," he told www.racing.com.

O'Brien is still in hot pursuit of Bobby Frankel's record of 25 top-level winners in a year and Johannes Vermeer will provide the next opportunity for the Ballydoyle handler to equal that mark.

Comerford indicated that the O'Brien team are still aiming to press on to the Cox Plate with The Taj Mahal, who finished 10th at Caulfield.

"The Cox Plate is the big option for him, we can change a few little things around with him the next time, I will have to see what Aidan and Lloyd (Williams, part-owner) think, but I do think it would be an option," he added.

"(The) Taj Mahal just ended up being a bit lazy, he probably needed that to wake him up because he is a good horse you know, there is better to come from Taj Mahal, I don't doubt that he will improve."

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