Wary of the Winx formline, Hugh Bowman knows Humidor faces just one challenge in Tuesday's $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Winx, the world's best turf horse, won her third-consecutive Cox Plate last weekend but it was her narrowest victory in the Australasian weight-for-age championship, with Humidor breathing down her throat over the concluding 100m.
"I must admit, I was surprised to see him that close," said Bowman, who will ride Marmelo in the Melbourne Cup.
"And there was no fluke about it, he's a serious animal and we put a space on the third horse."
Each year the Melbourne Cup is 'full of the same characters' - no, not the same horses but each year we have similar titles assigned to the 24 runners.
You have 'the favourite', the one that's 'beaten the handicapper', 'the sentimental hope', 'the outsider' and then there's 'the class horse', who to the racing purist is essentially the weight-for-age star.
In years gone by this tag has been worn to success by Makybe Diva, Saintly and Let's Elope and in 2017 we're blessed to have two weight-for-age Group 1 winners in Humidor and Hartnell.
It's the former that Bowman fears. But on one condition.
"If he can stay the 3200m then he's a big chance," he said.
"Any horse that can get that close to Winx when she's at her best is worthy of respect in any race but he has to get the trip."
Sydney's champion hoop put Marmelo through his final serious gallop at Werribee on Thursday before Tuesday's big race.
"He's right where you'd want him. I hadn't sat on him since before the Caulfield Cup and he feels as though he's improved," Bowman added.
Marmelo reeled off the fastest closing sectionals in the Caulfield Cup when sixth.
"He half missed the start and I didn't want to drive him mad but next week I expect him to be closer in the run," Bowman said.
"His form suggests he's much better over a bit further than the 2400m (of the Caulfield Cup) - I'm expecting a big run from him." - racing.com
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