After going close in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups a year ago, jockey Ben Melham is striving for a better result this year.
Melham’s Caulfield Cup hopes on Saturday are pinned on imported stayer Homesman who the jockey rode to a Group One win in the Underwood Stakes two starts ago.
Melham rode Johannes Vermeer to third in last year’s Caulfield Cup when the $5 favourite didn’t have the clearest run in the home straight.
In the Melbourne Cup at Flemington, Johannes Vermeer burst to the front at the business end of the race and Melham later admitted he thought he was home only for Rekindling to chase them down.
“They’re bloody hard to win,” Melham said.
“I went well in the Caulfield Cup last year and the Melbourne Cup. So it would be good to win this year.”
Like Johannes Vermeer, who was trained by Aidan O’Brien last year, Homesman carries the colours of prominent Australian owner Lloyd Williams.
He is trained at Macedon Lodge by Williams’ private trainer Liam Howley.
Melham has ridden Homesman three times for two wins and a second.
While Melham was in Sydney for last Saturday’s Everest meeting at Randwick, Homesman contested the Group One Caulfield Stakes (2000m) with Jordan Childs aboard and faded late in the race to finish seventh after leading.
He drops 6kg to 53kg and has barrier four.
“He’s drawn well and was really good in the Underwood,” Melham said.
“To the eye he might have gone a bit keenly the other day.
“He had a good hit-out so you’d think he would be hard-fit now for the 2400 metres and he’s got the right barrier to have a cosy enough run.”