Otago Daily Times
Waller chasing 5th Cox Plate
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