Otago Daily Times

Waller chas­ing 5th Cox Plate


- Sports · Horse Racing · Melbourne · Island of Ireland · Josh Wink · Kolding · Ocean Park Hong Kong · Caulfield

MEL­BOURNE: Chris Waller has a re­ju­ve­nated vet­eran and a re­cent Syd­ney Group 1 win­ner as his run­ners in the $A5 mil­lion ($NZ5.34 mil­lion) Cox Plate at Moonee Val­ley.

The horse who al­most ru­ined Winx’s win­ning streak in the WS Cox Plate has emerged as an un­likely can­di­date to give the great mare’s trainer a fifth win in the race.

Hu­mi­dor, writ­ten off to­wards the end of last sea­son, has found a new lease on life in Chris Waller’s sta­ble and is now rated one of the bet­ter out­siders in the $A5 mil­lion race at Moonee Val­ley.

In an in­trigu­ing twist to the weight­for­age cham­pi­onship, Hu­mi­dor has thrived un­der Waller’s train­ing and is close to the form that al­lowed him to give Winx a run for her money in 2017.

That marked the third of Winx’s four Cox Plate wins on her way to con­firm­ing a place among the true cham­pi­ons of Aus­tralian turf.

Her Cox Plate se­quence also sealed Waller’s rep­u­ta­tion as a mas­ter trainer, a rat­ing that will only be fur­ther en­hanced if he can pull off a win with Hu­mi­dor, an 8­year­old geld­ing.

A Craig Wil­liams ride, Hu­mi­dor is one of two run­ners for Waller as the trainer tries to win his sec­ond Mel­bourne ‘‘ma­jor’’ in the space of a week.

Waller won last Satur­day’s Caulfield Cup with Verry Ellee­gant and he will also send out the well­per­formed Kold­ing against an in­ter­na­tional field on Satur­day.

Kold­ing is a son of the 2012 Cox Plate win­ner Ocean Park and he, too, has re­turned to his best in win­ning the George Main Stakes and Hill Stakes in Syd­ney at his past two starts.

But Waller said both Hu­mi­dor and Kold­ing would need to go to an­other level to win a Cox Plate.

‘‘We are de­lighted to have two well­cre­den­tialed and in­form horses in this year’s edi­tion but both horses need to show their ca­reer­best form,’’ Waller said.

Spe­cial­ist big­race rider Glen Boss will at­tempt to add a fourth Cox Plate to his three Mel­bourne Cups when he rides im­port Sir Dragonet, who fin­ished sec­ond at his last run in Ire­land in July.

‘‘He ob­vi­ously has to bring his form, but if he can bring any­where near his rat­ing then he is go­ing to be right in the race,’’ Boss said.

Sir Dragonet is by the dual Derby­win­ner Camelot, the same sire as eas­ing favourite Rus­sian Camelot.

The north­ern hemi­sphere­bred Rus­sian Camelot won the Un­der­wood Stakes over 1800m but found Perth mare Ar­ca­dia Queen too strong in the Caulfield Stakes over 2000m last start.

Draw­ing the out­side bar­rier has ex­tended Rus­sian Camelot’s odds, trainer Danny O’Brien leav­ing the early tac­tics to jockey Damien Oliver.

‘‘You don’t worry about how it’s go­ing to pan out if you’ve got an out­stand­ing rider on the horse. We’ve cer­tainly got that,’’ O’Brien said.

Mean­while, Jye McNeil has stripped weight to ride Grand­slam, the youngest horse in the race, at 49.5kg. — AAP

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