The Darren Weir trained Humidor is jumping out of his skin in the lead up to a re-match with super mare Winx in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday.
Weir gave Humidor the all clear to back up this week following a session over the jumps at his Warrnambool base on Tuesday morning.
Humidor is backing up week to week after finishing fifth to the bolter Boom Time in last Saturday’s Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield but he has seven and a quarter lengths to make up if he is to match it with Winx after finishing that far behind her two starts back when third in the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 7.
Humidor has been under the care of Weir’s Warrnambool foreman Jarrod McLean who told the boss that the five year old enjoyed a session over the hurdles and was fit and well to line up against Winx in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
“Jarrod took him to the beach Sunday and Monday and then Tuesday he popped him over a few hurdles to do something different,” Weir told RSN’s Racing Pulse.
“He said that he looked great and after he schooled he was very bright and well.”
“He said there was no reason from his point of view that we shouldn’t be backing up.”
“It is only the first time. We had nice soft ground so we decided to just put him over a few jumps and he really enjoyed it. It is good for his mind anyway.”
Humidor will race with the blinkers back on and Weir is hoping the addition of the head gear will help rectify his wayward racing manners that he has been displaying at his recent outings.
“It was always the plan if we decided to run in the Cox Plate,” Weir said.
“It was always my plan to probably put them on to try and get him to concentrate a bit more.”
Weir will be instructing new rider Blake Shinn to settle Humidor in the second half of the field from barrier eight after the master trainer was critical of Damian Lane’s ride in last week’s Caulfield Cup when he was too close to the pace in the early and middle stages of the race.
“He certainly won’t be ridden like he was last start,” Weir said.
“They weren’t the instructions so I will saying that he will be in the back half and ride him to be running through the line.”
“If he doesn’t run through the line we will be pulling up stumps and if he runs through the line well we will head onto the Melbourne Cup.”
Weir will also saddle up last start Ladbrokes Stakes winner Gailo Chop who has drawn barrier four with Mark Zahra in the saddle again.
The premiership winning trainer has a slight leaning towards Humidor but said both horses were fit and well and is hoping for top rated performances from both.
“If both horses turn up on the day and run to the best of their ability and do everything right, I guess Humidor might be a touch in front,” Weir said.
“Gailo Chop has such a great racing style and makes his own luck and doesn’t do anything wrong.”
“We are just really happy with the order of both horses.”
Winx sits at the top of the market order at $1.16 with Ladbrokes.com.au to win her third successive Ladbrokes Cox Plate while Humidor and Gailo Chop are both marked at $20.