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Humidor ready for Cox Plate - NZ Racing Desk

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Reinvigorated galloper Humidor has been given the tick of approval from jockey Craig Williams ahead of Saturday’s A$5 million Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

Williams partnered the eight-year-old gelding at Tuesday’s Breakfast with the Best at Moonee Valley and was thrilled with the workout.

"He is ready for Saturday’s race," he said. "Basically, I was a passenger on his back this morning. I tried to control his work as Chris (Waller, trainer) and the stable foreman in Melbourne, Jo, asked me to do but he was sheer determined to get out there and strut his stuff this morning.

"He really stretched my limits of energy. I just love the way he is going, it gives me confidence and I can smile."

Humidor, who has drawn barrier 14 for Saturday, has a strong record in the weight-for-age feature having finished runner-up to Winx in 2017 and third in the 2018 edition which was also won by the champion racemare.

The veteran galloper won the Gr.2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley in his first start for new trainer Waller this campaign and has placed in both the Gr.1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Gr.1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m)

Williams noted Humidor’s affinity with the Melbourne track and his performance this preparation as positive signs as the New Zealand-bred gelding vies to claim his fourth Group One win.

"I could feel after riding him for a couple of times in a couple of races how much he has an affiliation with Moonee Valley," Williams said. "Humidor has been going really well through his preparation, he has been targeted for this year’s Cox Plate.

"If he is going to win his first Cox Plate it would be great to win the centennial running.

"He loves to bring his A Game to Moonee Valley. Even though his recent runs have been solid I know he saves a little bit up his sleeve for Moonee Valley."

Humidor commenced his career in New Zealand for Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard, for whom he was a Group One performer and he has subsequently been trained by Darren Weir, Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Lindsey Smith and now Chris Waller since crossing the Tasman.

Freshen-up for Avantage Avantage has had to play bridesmaid to stablemate Melody Belle in her last two starts and will now head for a short break before preparing for some summer Group One targets.

The Jamie Richards-trained mare came close to dethroning Melody Belle in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m), however, she was comfortably beaten by 2-3/4 lengths in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) on Saturday.

Richards has been pleased with her campaign, which also included a third-placing in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), and victory in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and said she deserves a well earnt break.

"We will give her a little freshen-up. She’s around at home in the front paddock," he said. "We will back off her for a couple of weeks and probably set her for sprinting races in the early part of the campaign and see how she comes through.

"She will follow a similar campaign as to what she did leading into the autumn last year."

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