Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
The 2019 Memsie Stakes odds on defending champion Humidor are on the drift but co-trainer Ciaron Maher believes there is still plenty left in the tank of the evergreen seven-year-old.
On Saturday Teofilo gelding Humidor, formerly prepared by Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir, will have his third consecutive run in the Group 1 $1 million Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Two years ago, he ran eighth behind Vega Magic before winning the Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington next-up.
Last season he returned, improving to win the Memsie narrowly as a $31 roughie hope.
His Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in 2018 also went on to include three other Group 1 placings, most notably his last start third behind four-time hero Winx in the Group 1 $5 million Cox Plate (2040m).
He chases back-to-back Memsie Stakes wins for the first time since the great mare Sunline (2010-11) and has last year’s winning hoop Damian Lane in the saddle again.
The Memsie Stakes field for 2019 features a class line-up of 13 with Humidor in gate 10.
Last October’s Cox Plate run was his latest start, but he’s been brought on fitness-wise with two recent trials at Cranbourne this month including a 900m win in the mud back on the 18th.
Still, his record fresh is far from impressive with the galloper yet to win in six previous first-up runs.
Humidor, known for his quirk of laying-in under pressure during races, also suffered a suspensory ligament injury during last year’s Cox Plate that has kept him sidelined until now.
Maher though is full of confidence the $3.9 million earner is back better than ever, even suggesting maturity has him straightened out – literally.
“I saw Humidor from afar when Darren (Weir) trained him and he always looked like he was quite a handful,” Maher, who trains in partnership with David Eustace, told Racenet this week.
“But Maddie Raymond who ran Darren’s Warrnambool stable and did the pre-training on Humidor says it is now like he has just sort of matured.
“She reckons the break has just done him the world of good and he has seemed a lot happier and his gallops, where he normally always lays in, have been very straight.
“I know he is an older horse but they don’t get much of a break when they are in work and Maddie reckons the break been wonderful for him.
“Damian Lane obviously knows the horse very well and he has also done quite a bit of work on him for me.
“He reckons he is great in his action and seems to be going pretty true.”
It is a tough first-up assignment on Saturday with the likes of star mare Alizee ($3.30) and Godolphin’s great galloper Hartnell ($7.50) in the mix.
Win or lose, Maher confirmed Humidor was again targeting a Cox Plate run this season at The Valley, for which the horse pays $18 to win through race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
“Damian rode him on Tuesday morning and the horse had a bit of a blow – he will certainly improve from whatever he does on Saturday,” Maher said.
“It has been a gradual sort of prep and the Cox Plate is his target.”
The 2019 Ladbrokes Cox Plate runs on October 26 with first acceptances closing on September 10.
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