Melham keen to play his part in O'Brien's record-breaking mission on Vermeer
Ben Melham could play a pivotal role in helping Aidan O'Brien create history as victory on Johannes Vermeer in the BMW Caulfield Cup on Saturday would see the trainer equal Bobby Frankel's record of 25 top-flight victories in a year.
It is something Melham is thrilled to be part of and there is no fear of the 29-year-old keeping his cards close to his chest. Oh no. He's laid them out on the table for everyone to see.
Melham said: "Johannes Vermeer ran a super race on Saturday and I think he's going to be very hard to beat.
"He looks to have every single attribute you need to win the race. He's got good gate speed, he relaxes well and he's got a really good turn of foot to get himself out of any trouble."
The four-year-old warmed up for a crack at the Caulfield Cup with a fast-finishing second in the Ladbrokes Stakes at the track last Saturday, failing by a head to catch Gailo Chop.
Melham, who replaces Katelyn Mallyon this weekend, has never ridden for O'Brien, but what better way to mark your debut than to engrave your name in the history books.
"It's such a big thrill for me to be riding a live contender in such a prestigious race as the Caulfield Cup and for a trainer as big as Aidan O'Brien," said Melham.
"I'm absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity."
So where does O'Brien rank in Melham's pecking order of trainers around the world?
"Oh, Aidan is the best trainer in the world," he replies instantly. "We're all well aware of his achievements over here in Australia. He has a massive reputation. He's the best.
"To be able to play a small part in helping him enter the history books on Saturday would be very special. I've ridden 14 Group 1 winners. I won the Golden Slipper last year and won on Black Caviar too, but to win the Caulfield Cup for Aidan would be up there with the best moments of my career."
TJ Comerford, travelling foreman for O'Brien in Australia, said: "He ran very well on Saturday but we thought he would as he's been absolutely flying since he's come out here.
"Since he's arrived his work has come on again from what he was showing back at home. He'll run again this weekend and the jockey never knocked him about last time. He's come out of the race so well. It was actually just like a piece of work to him."
Joao Moreira, meanwhile, has been granted permission by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to partner the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave in the Caulfield Cup, but he must immediately return to Hong Kong to fulfil riding engagements at Sha Tin on Sunday.
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