There was cause for a double celebration when Johannes Vermeer pulled clear of rivals to annex the G3 Willis Champions Juvenile Stakes (1600m) at Leopardstown in Dublin, Ireland overnight, with the progressive colt raced in partnership and co-bred by members of the China Horse Club.
Johannes Vermeer’s dam Inca Princess is among a select band of mares the China Horse Club owns in partnership with Coolmore. Importantly, she is once again in foal to champion sire Galileo ensuring she is carrying a full brother or full sister to the club’s 101st winner.
The colt himself was always well regarded from an early age and when offered for sale at the 2014 Tattersalls Yearling Sale was shortlisted as a target by the quartet of owners that raced that year’s Derby winner Australia.
The above mentioned Australia saluted in the same event in 2013 before going on to snare three successive G1 wins the following season and being crowed Co-World Champion Three-Year-Old at the Longines IFHA World’s Best Racehorse Awards. And while there was no talk of emulating such heady heights with Johannes Vermeer, trainer Aidan O’Brien gave a positive post-race assessment after the victory.
“I’m delighted with him. He was a bit disappointing first time in Tipperary but that can happen over seven furlongs there,” the trainer said.
“He came forward great from that and won nicely in Killarney where Emmet (McNamara) liked him. Joseph was very happy with him today. He picked up plenty when he asked and battled well.”
Johannes Vermeer had a length and a half to spare over his nearest rival on the line. Having settled just behind the race leader he was steered outside of heels to make his run at the 300m mark and showed great character when asked to quicken in the yielding ground by jockey Joseph O’Brien.
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