by Kristen Manning
Cornwall Park proudly announced an exciting addition to the 2021 roster – Galileo’s high class son Johannes Vermeer.
An eye-catching €300,000 Goffs Orby Yearling Sale graduate who earned Australian fans with his gutsy second to Rekindling in the Melbourne Cup, Johannes Vermeer put his class on display racing successfully in the best of company in four countries.
Showing enough at two to be sent out an odds-on favourite in a 1500m contest at Tipperary, the Aidan O’Brien trained bay was beaten but game in the placings – quickly atoning with a dominant victory stepping up to 1700m at Killarney; racing on pace and putting 4 1/4 lengths on his rivals.
Up in class at just outing number three, Johannes Vermeer proved 1 1/2 lengths too good in the Gr.3 Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown – a win that saw him compete solely at Gr.1 level for the rest of his debut season.
And he was excellent each time; a close up fourth in the Grand Criterium at Longchamp and a fighting second in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster followed by another trip to France.
Showing considerable two-year-old fortitude, Johannes Vermeer just eight days after his Doncaster run dug deep to win the Gr.1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud; outclassing Stormy Antarctic who would hold up the form with an easy Gr.3 Craven Stakes victory at his next start.
From six juvenile starts, Johannes Vermeer was a Gr.1 and Gr.3 winner, adding another Gr.3 placing at his only three-year-old outing; that campaign thrwated by injury.
He returned at four, adding to his resume the Gr.3 International Stakes at The Curragh before heading to Australia where he was honest in all four of his Melbourne runs.
Shuffled back at the 600m in the Gr.1 Caulfield Stakes, Johannes Vermeer caught the eye charging home late, only just failing to pick up fellow northern hemisphere bred galloper Gailo Chop with the high class New Zealander Jon Snow third.
“Coming into the home straight, he quickened up so much underneath me that I thought he would go past anything,” jockey Katelyn Mallyon told the press. “He probably peaked just a little bit before the post came but overall it was a great run,” she said, adding that “he is a beautiful big horse who relaxes so well.”
On the strength of that effort Johannes Vermeer was sent out favourite in the Caulfield Cup, not having the best of passages home but still finding the line for a determined third behind Boom Time and Single Gaze.
“He ran really well,” jockey Ben Melham reported. “He just took a step backwards as the barriers opened and I wasn’t quite happy with where I was; I would have liked to have been a couple of spots closer in the run but, nevertheless, he was in a good rhythm, he was breathing and he was relaxed. I had to pick my way through the corner and he was really strong at the line.”
Melham also had the ride in the Melbourne Cup and was excited when Johannes Vermeer gave a kick with 300m to go – only to be run down late by Rekindling. “I was spending my money at the furlong,” he said, “I thought we were home! But just the weight was the difference.”
Carrying 3kg more than Rekindling, Johannes Vermeer was game in defeat with O’Brien noting that “he has run a terrific race once again and I am delighted with him.”
Remaining in Australia, Johannes Vermeer resumed in the Gr.2 Blamey Stakes, getting back in the 1600m contest and finishing off strongly for a close up fourth behind Fifty Stars.
Retiring to Cornwall Park as the winner of four of his 16 starts with over $1.8 million in stakes, Johannes Vermeer is one of the latee Galileo’s 336 stakes winners and 91 Gr.1 winners. Already 33 of Galileo’s sons have sired stakes winners, 19 of those represented by Gr.1 winners.
And his juvenile Gr.1 winners are amongst his best horses; the likes of Frankel, Churchill, Love, New Approach and Teofilo.
Johannes Vermeer is a son of the lightly raced Holy Roman Emperor mare Inca Princess, a winner from just three starts. She has fared exceptionally well at stud, also producing the Gr.2 winner Elizabeth Browning and the Listed winner Sapa Inca – both also being by Galileo.
Inca Princess is a daughter of the Gr.2 Royal Ascot Ribblesdale Stakes winner Miletrian, half-sister to the dual Group winner Mr Combustible from a high class international family – one which also produced the Epsom & Irish Derby winner Shirley Heights and fellow dual Gr.1 winner Pentire.
Both of those horses have made an impact at stud, Shirley Heights siring 59 stakes winners (seven Gr.1 winners) whilst Pentire did a great job from his New Zealand base with 49 stakes winners including of 16 Gr.1 winners.
South Australian Derby winner Markham is also a member of this family as are the multiple Gr.1 winners Divine Proportions and Whipper; another horse who has fared well at stud with 26 stakes winners whilst another Gr.1 galloper from the family in King’s Bench sired 18 stakes winners.
Bred on the same prolific Galileo/Danehill cross as Frankel, Highland Reel, Magician, Serpentine, Order Of Australia, Anthony Van Dyck, Sovereign, Intello, Minding, Love, Japan and Teofilo and 32 other Gr.1 winners, Johannes Vermeer has much to offer the breeder. He was fast and tough at two, durable and classy in Europe and Australia – winning from 1400m to 2000m with his 2400m and 3200m placings memorable.
There is considerable depth to his pedigree with so many big names close up – Sadler’s Wells, Mr Prospector, Danehill, Secretariat, Last Tycoon, Dancing Brave and Mill Reef giving him genetic strength.
“We are excited to be standing a horse of the Group One calibre of Johannes Vemeer,” Cornwall Park’s Peter Boyle said. “He ticks all the boxes being an eye-catching, tough, high class performer with an impeccable pedigree.”
Johannes Vermeer makes his debut at a fee of $11,000 (incl gst). For further information visit www.cornwallpark.com.au or contact Peter (0427 459 795).
Kristen Manning is a freelance racing writer and pedigree analyst based in Melbourne. A keen owner/breeder who loves every aspect of thoroughbred horseracing, she has written two books focusing on the deeds of Fields Of Omagh and Prince Of Penzance.