Williams wheels out big guns for Cup
WITH Johannes Vermeer poised to end a 15-month absence in Saturday's Group 2 Blamey Stakes at Flemington, owner Lloyd Williams is contemplating a multi-pronged Australian Cup onslaught.
Johannes Vermeer is one of five Australian Cup nominations for Macedon Lodge on March 9, but the Melbourne Cup runner-up is likely to be spelled before a spring campaign after the Blamey.
Williams has confirmed plans to target the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) with Melbourne Cup winners Rekindling (2017) and Almandin (2016).
Rekindling has not started since his Cup triumph after suffering a setback last season.
Almandin resumes after finishing eight in the Sydney Cup last April.
Dual Sandown Classic winner The Taj Mahal is also expected to contest the Australian Cup after his first-up eighth behind Avilius in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield.
Midterm is also among Macedon Lodge's nominations.
Williams last won the Australian Cup with stable favourite Zipping in 2010.
The most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history with six victories, Williams prefers to give his stayers light autumn campaigns with a focus on spring glories.
Avilius heads Ladbrokes' Australian Cup markets at $2.20 ahead of Night's Watch ($7.50) with Material Man ($11) on the next line of betting ahead of Ace High and Stars Of Carrum $13).
Rekindling is at $16, with Almandin at $23.