Two horses from the Irish stable of master trainer Aidan O’Brien are set to make their first Australian spring carnival appearances in the Group One Caulfield Stakes.
Taj Mahal and Johannes Vermeer arrived at the Werribee quarantine centre eight days ago and are both scheduled to contest Saturday’s 2000m Caulfield Stakes.
The pair had a work-out on the grass track at Werribee on Sunday morning, with Johannes Vermeer travelling behind Taj Mahal in the hit-out.
O’Brien’s travelling stable representative T J Comerford is happy with the pair.
“We expect them to run well,” Comerford said.
“It’s hard to know when you come here what you’re taking on but we do expect them to run their races.
“They’ve settled in well and they’re in good order.
“The plan is for both to run at Caulfield on Saturday and then we’ll see after that. Maybe the following Saturday for Johannes Vermeer in the Caulfield Cup 2017 and then maybe Taj Mahal in the Cox Plate 2017.
“We’ll see what (part-owner) Lloyd (Williams) thinks, see what Aidan thinks and we’ll take it from there.”
Comerford does not believe a seven-day back-up to the Caulfield Cup will be a problem for Johannes Vermeer, a last-start second in the Group Three Ballyroan Stakes (2414m) in Ireland in August.
Taj Mahal has won one and been placed seven times in 16 starts and appears suited over 2000m.
He was second in the Group One Secretariat Stakes (2012m) in America two starts ago -and finished fifth in the Group One Irish Champion Stakes (2012m) at Leopardstown last start.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin-owned Folkswood will also be paid up for the Caulfield Stakes with the Cranbourne Cup a day later also an option.