Talented galloper Humidor secured his third Group One victory in last Saturday’s New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) and the Teofilo gelding will now be set on a path towards the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) next month, where he will attempt to spoil Winx’s party.
The Darren Weir-trained six-year-old provided the record-setting mare with one of her sternest tests when a narrow second in last year’s Cox Plate and his winning performance on Saturday indicates that he is back in career-best form.
Part-owner John Carter was pleased with his first-up unplaced performance in the Gr.2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m), but said Saturday’s win was a bit unexpected.
“I actually thought his run in the PB Lawrence was a lot better than it looked,” Carter said. “He basically had nowhere to go on the fence.
“But he did everything we were hoping he was going to do in that race. Saturday was somewhat of a surprise but we knew he had improved quite a lot from that first run.”
It was Humidor’s third victory at the elite level and Carter said the win meant just as much to him as his other two Group One’s despite him being unable to be on course to enjoy it on Saturday.
“Unfortunately I was unable to make it there for the race because of family commitments, so we were back home in Auckland watching it on tv. It was a very pleasing result, we are thrilled with it.
“Obviously the first Group One was very exciting and I was on course for the first two. He has won at (Group One-level over) 1400m, 1600m and 2000m, so they are all at the same level for me.
“You’re racing against the best and there was only one horse missing (on Saturday) and that was Winx, but she can’t run every weekend. Every other top-notch horse was there on Saturday, so he wasn’t avoiding anybody.”
Although Humidor won the Gr.2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) in the autumn, Carter said the gelding has been a bit flat since last year’s busy spring campaign and it is good to see him back to his best ahead of this year’s spring targets.
“Darren said he has pulled up very well since Saturday, but the horse hasn’t been pushed,” Carter said.
“He took a long time to recover from last spring where he did the Melbourne Cup preparation and in hindsight that was probably the wrong thing to do, but you don’t often have a horse that is good enough to run in the Cup.
“We learnt our lesson the hard way. He went alright in the autumn, but he has had a really good break since then and his goals are a bit later on in the spring at weight-for-age, he won’t be in the Caulfield Cup or handicap races.
“He’ll have another two runs before the Cox Plate and then he’ll head to the Emirates.
“He’s going to the Makybe Diva next and then there could be the Caulfield Stakes, the Turnbull or the Underwood. So there are still plenty of options for him.”