Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir will head to The Valley on Saturday with a two pronged attack against the mighty mare Winx in the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
Weir will saddle up last year’s Cox Plate runner up Humidor who will have the blinkers back on and beaten Caulfield Cup favourite Kings Will Dream who will be wearing the blinkers for the first time.
Unlike most of Winx’s rivals, Weir is giving himself a chance of ending the reigning weight for age champion’s winning run and is talking up the chances of Humidor who got to within half a length of Winx last year when trainer Chris Waller’s super star mare claimed her third straight Cox Plate win.
“I have the greatest respect for Winx as a racehorse and Chris Waller as her trainer,” Weir wrote in his column on Racenet.
“But I might be the only person going to the Cox Plate on Saturday hoping to see her get beaten.”
“I know how hard that task will be and it’s probably the greatest challenge there is right now but I’m not going there to run second. The money is too good and it’s a race I want to win.”
“And I can look back on last year’s Cox Plate and know Humidor at his best has the ability to stretch her. They are both a year older but I think my horse is in the right form. And I know she is too.”
“We are adding the blinkers for the first time this preparation, it is exactly what we did last year and that got us pretty close.”
Weir said he will have Humidor at his peak after coming through a trial on Monday in great shape and goes to the races on Saturday full of confidence.
“We actually gave him a gallop and a trial on Monday to bring him to where we want him for Saturday so I can say we have him in as good order as possible,” Weir said.
“Now it’s up to him to see if he is good enough. I think he is, I hope he is, but when you are racing against Winx it’s probably more hoping than anything else.”
Humidor added to his Group 1 winning tally with a victory in the $1m New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 1 but the six year old hasn’t found his way back to the winner’s stall at his next three Spring Carnival outings.
Two starts back Humidor made up ground from the back for a third behind Homesman and Tosen Basil in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield and was third again at Caulfield in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) a fortnight ago.
Damian Lane will again be aboard Humidor who has drawn barrier seven in the eight horse Cox Plate field while Kings Will Dream who will jump from gate four with John Allen taking over the reins from Craig Williams.
Kings Will Dream is following the same path that Humidor did last year and heads to the Cox Plate after finishing sixth to Best Solution in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
“With Kings Will Dream we are also doing a little bit of Humidor from last year by adding blinkers for the Cox Plate. And like Humidor he had run in the Caulfield Cup as well last year before backing up in the Cox Plate,” Weir said.
Kings Will Dream finished less than two lengths behind Winx when third in the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 6 and weir can see that as a good form line going into the Cox Plate.
“His weight-for-age form has been good and he was competitive with Winx in the Turnbull Stakes when he probably didn’t get the best run. So he won’t disgrace himself, he’s a good horse too,” Weir said.
Winx has drawn barrier six with Hugh Bowman in the saddle again and is the dominant $1.22 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to win her fourth consecutive Cox Plate and take her unbeaten run to twenty-nine win.
Humidor’s odds have drifted out from $13 to $16 while Kings Will Dream is one of the outsiders of the Cox Plate field at $31.