There is confidence that only comes with success and Johannes Vermeer's jockey Ben Melham has that heading into the Caulfield Cup, along with an "uncomplicated plan" for victory.
Melham has the benefit of two of racing's great minds in Lloyd Williams and Aidan O'Brien, the Irish master trainer who prepares Johannes Vermeer, and has spoken to both about the Caulfield Cup. But there is a calmness around Melham in the build-up to riding the favourite, which has been $7 into $4.20 in the past week.
"I'm coping with the pressure well. After winning the Golden Slipper on She Will Reign I learnt a bit about these big races and having Lloyd Williams and Aidan O'Brien helps as well," Melham said. "I spoke with Aidan about [Johannes Vermeer] the other night and he was very level-headed and uncomplicated about the race but there was some fine detail and he left it a little bit open.
"I will speak to him again and Lloyd before the race but I'm confident on what we saw from the horse last week and that he is ready to go."???
Johannes Vermeer charged home from back in the field, only just failing to run down Gailo Chop in the Caulfield Stakes last week, but connections have already informed stewards the Irish-trained stayer will be closer over the 2400m. Bookmakers are wary of Johannes Vermeer, which inherited favouritism after Admire Deus broke down and the fitness concerns over Bonneval following her disappointing sixth in the Caulfield Stakes.
"You want to take this horse on because he an international on the back-up but the money just continues to come for him and not much else. It is not a big betting race," Michael Sullivan said. "He is shortening basically because we could not get any money for the other favourites."
UBET's Gerard Daffy added "they have only just discovered Bonneval and Humidor in the past 24 hours, before that it [was] all Johannes Vermeer. Now Bonneval has been cleared by the vets she is $9 to $7 but Johannes Vermeer will start a clear favourite."
If Melham can win the Caulfield Cup on the son of Galileo it would mean O'Brien equals Bobby Frankel's record of 25 group 1 wins in a calendar year with the likes of Highland Reel, Churchill and Caravaggio to come at Champions day at Ascot on Saturday night.
It would cap a great past 12 months for Melham, in which he rode his 1000th winner. He started to ride for Williams around the time he was won the Golden Slipper, his 14th group 1 victory.
"You are riding for a world leader in Aidan O'Brien and it is very exciting to get this stayer, especially after seeing what he did last weekend," Melham said. "I have been riding for Lloyd for about nine months and it would be great to [have] repaid him for all his help by winning him a Caulfield Cup.
"I just feel confident about the race and have a clean head about what I have to do."
Melham won the first leg of the Australian racing grand slam when She Will Reign took the Golden Slipper and is now the favourite in second leg and will certainly have a good Melbourne Cup ride from the Lloyd Williams team.
"If he goes well it could even be this bloke," Melham said.