Weir un­locks Hu­mi­dor

Sunday Herald Sun - - Racing - LEO SCHLINK leo.schlink@news.com.au WITH WIRES

IF Casterton track-watch­ers last week had dis­missed Hu­mi­dor as a le­git­i­mate Makybe Diva Stakes con­tender based on the er­ratic Kiwi’s work, Dar­ren Weir and Damian Lane would have for­given their scep­ti­cism.

Prone to melt­downs, Hu­mi­dor has built a rep­u­ta­tion as much for way­ward­ness as un­de­ni­able tal­ent.

Since ar­riv­ing at Weir’s sta­ble last year, the geld­ing has slowly re­formed. But many of those doubts were ban­ished yes­ter­day when Lane bounced back from a fall to pi­lot Hu­mi­dor to a defin­ing Group 1 win at Flem­ing­ton.

Six months on from an em­phatic Aus­tralian Cup tri­umph, Hu­mi­dor rock­eted into Caulfield Cup favouritism as TAB slashed his odds from $11 to $5.

For Lane and Weir — and his pa­tient staff — Pro­ject Hu­mi­dor is start­ing to bear se­ri­ously good fruit, as ev­i­denced by the gap­ing mar­gin over Hart­nell and Black Heart Bart.

“Hu­mi­dor ran un­be­liev­able re­ally. He’s al­ways promised to do that, but it’s been a mat­ter of get­ting him right. And the team have worked hard try­ing to get his man­ners bet­ter,” Weir said “It’s clear at his last two starts that it’s work­ing.

“He’s pa­raded a lot bet­ter and Damian’s done a lot of the hard yards go­ing to Casterton and Col­eraine do­ing all his track­work.

“There’s been a lot of hard work by the crew be­hind the scenes, but he still wanted to lay in a lit­tle bit get­ting around the corner. “But he’s get­ting there. “In track­work, he’s got his head in the right spot and he’s not sweat­ing up as much as he nor­mally would. I think we’re win­ning the bat­tle.”

Lane thought his day may have been over when he crashed with Lime­stone in the Dane­hill Stakes, but won the Let’s Elope Stakes on Sword Of Light be­fore the Hu­mi­dor win.

“For a few mo­ments there I thought I’d def­i­nitely at least be miss­ing the rest of the day,” Lane said.

“But I gave it five or 10 min­utes and I felt good to go. I’m lucky to have es­caped with no in­jury.”

Lane said Hu­mi­dor was a tal­ent.

“He lobbed along out the back and he trav­elled up un­der­neath me turn­ing for home,” Lane said. “I thought I was the win­ner a long way out.

“He’s come such a long way since he came into the sta­ble. “Credit to Dar­ren and all his team. “They’ve got such a good knack of get­ting th­ese horses to re­lax and he’s ... show­ing it now.

Weir said Hu­mi­dor was likely to head to the Turn­bull Stakes at Flem­ing­ton on Oc­to­ber 7.

Ker­rin McEvoy said Hart­nell didn’t fin­ish off as he ex­pected.

“He fin­ished off OK but the win­ner showed more dash than me there to­day,” McEvoy said.

Pic­tures: MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AAP, RON WELLS

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