Aidan O'Brien hit the bar again as Johannes Vermeer finished third behind Boom Time in the BMW Caulfield Cup at Caulfield on Saturday.

O'Brien is just one winner away from equalling Bobby Frankel's record of 25 victories at the highest level in a year and Johannes Vermeer was well supported for this 12-furlong heat.

Johannes Vermeer was beaten just a head in the Ladbrokes Stakes last Saturday and Ben Melham was happy to settle in the chasing pack as first Amelie Star and then Sir Isaac Newton took the field along.

Sir Isaac Newton, who was trained by O'Brien until this year, built up a healthy lead of 10 lengths with around five furlongs to run, but he was quickly reeled in before the top of the straight with Boom Time poised to challenge while Johannes Vermeer was on his heels.

When Cory Parish gave the signal, Boom Time kicked on with about a furlong to run but Johannes Vermeer could not quite follow him through, eventually finding a gap to narrowly lose out on second to Single Gaze.

Hughie Morrison's Melbourne Cup hope Marmelo ran an eyecatching race in the hands of Hugh Bowman, making up plenty of ground in the straight to finish just out of the frame. 

Melham felt Johannes Vermeer stayed well enough on his step back up to 12 furlongs but felt his position in the race was not ideal.

He said: "He ran really well, he just took a step backwards as the barrier opened. I just wasn't quite happy with where we were and would have preferred to be a couple of spots closer in the run, but nevertheless he was in a good rhythm, he was breathing and relaxed.

"We just had to pick and weave through the corner, but he was really strong on the line."

Marmelo is now among the favourites for the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 7 after dead heating with Abbey Marie in sixth.

"It was an excellent performance and he's right on track for the Melbourne Cup," Bowman said.

Willie Mullins fielded Wicklow Brave but he failed to figure under Joao Moreira, who thought a slow start and trouble in running cost him as he could finish only 12th.

Moreira said: "His reaction was a little bit slow out of the gate and that made it a bit harder for him as he gave a head start to the others, but he was still able to get on the fence and save ground.

"Unfortunately I got a little bit of interference at the 600 metres (three furlongs) which cost him places."