7th September 2020 Two-pronged attack on Cox Plate looms for Carter family

Humidor storms through a gap to claim the Gr.2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley Photo: Natasha Morello

Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo) barnstorming finish to land victory in Saturday’s Gr.2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley forced part-owner John Carter into a change of plans on Sunday morning.

Carter, who shares in the ownership of the Teofilo eight-year-old with brother Mark and sister Rachel under their Jomara Bloodstock banner, spent a good part of his Saturday evening celebrating the win and was feeling the effects the next day.

“I had a few things planned for this morning but that didn’t eventuate as we celebrated pretty hard last night,” Carter said.

“Watching the race, it looked like it was set up for him and I was actually just hoping he wasn’t going to disgrace himself.

“As it turned out it was a twelve out of ten ride by Damian Lane, it was just perfect as he rode him a treat.

“I think the ride won him the race as he was positive on him and the old boy showed just what he can do when he’s right.”

Humidor was having his first start for trainer Chris Waller after below average campaigns with Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and then Lindsey Smith. Waller had expressed confidence that he had him on track before Saturday’s first-up effort for the stable.

“Chris has been in contact with us on a regular basis ever since we sent the horse to him from Lindsey,” Cater said.

“There had been plenty of discussion about retiring him before we took the decision to go to Chris and I must say that Lindsey has been great about that and was very supportive.

“The key to the horse has always been to have him rock hard fit and Chris has given him a number of jumpouts leading into the race.

“He was actually supposed to be in Sydney but with the border restrictions it put a spanner in the works so Chris set him for this race instead.

“He felt he was pretty right to go a good race and that judgement was spot on.”

Victory in the Feehan Stakes has also provided Humidor with a guaranteed place in the field for this year’s Gr.1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), a race he was controversially omitted from last year after finishing second to Winx in 2017 and third to the wonder mare again in 2018.

The decision to remove Humidor from the 2019 running of the event is one that still rankles with Carter.

“The decision to run in this year’s Cox Plate will be made by Chris and will depend on how he has pulled up from Saturday but if we did go to the race it would be ideal in my book,” he said.

“After he got jerked last year, especially with the excuses they gave, it would be nice to go back and prove them wrong.

“They even told us he would have got in last year if he had of run third in the Caulfield Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m).

“He ran fourth, beaten a nose after being held up in the straight so that didn’t wash with me.

“He loves the Valley and the tougher the course the more he seems to like it so we would like to have another crack at the race.”

If Humidor does contest the Cox Plate, he is likely to be joined by stablemate Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed) which would give the Carter family two runners in the Southern Hemisphere’s most prestigious weight-for-age contest, an achievement not lost on Carter.

“It would be something special to have two runners in the Cox Plate,” he said.

“Chris has certainly talked about running her (Verry Elleegant) in the race although he is focussed on the Melbourne Cup (Gr.1, 3200m).

“I’m only guessing but I don’t think she will run in the Caulfield Cup (Gr.1, 2400m) as, if she won, she would get too much weight for the Melbourne Cup so the Cox Plate looks a good option but that is Chris’ call.

“I guess the only disappointing aspect of the Cox Plate is not being able to be there as we won’t be doing two weeks quarantine on either side of the Tasman but I’m pretty sure we will be glued to the television that day.”

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