7 Nov 2017

Owners of Kiwi Melbourne Cup contender count blessings

7:06 am on 7 November 2017

Humidor didn't win the Cox Plate late last month, but that didn't prevent the Kiwi horse from bolting to the forefront of Melbourne Cup contention.

The 2016 Melbourne Cup field.

The 2016 Melbourne Cup field. Photo: Photosport

Owned and bred by former All Black Mark Carter and siblings John and Rachel, the five-year-old pushed the horse on everyone's lips all the way, finishing just half-a-length behind champion mare Winx as she notched her 22nd straight victory.

After showing nothing unusual as a foal, Humidor went through a troublesome period in his early years and it was only a trip to noted horse breaker Chris Rutten, the man responsible for training the horses for the Lord of the Rings films that got him to a point where he was trainable.

Co-owner John Carter said they count their blessing they decided to see; the horse who is set to be one of the top three favourites for the Melbourne Cup, alongside last year's winner Almandin and Marmelo.

"We would never in our wildest dreams thought we'd be in the position we are now.

"We knew he had ability and the breeding, he had it all there, we just thought we have our hands full with this guy and at the time if we'd got a half-pie offer for him we probably would have moved him on.

"But thank god we didn't."

The Melbourne Cup will be the longest of Humidor's career, but Carter is confident his horse will not struggle with the 3200m.

Humidor pulled up very well from his gutsy Cox Plate showing, while Crater reckons a "big heart" and "good New Zealand genes" should serve the bay gelding well.

As for how Carter himself will fare as he watches his first Cup runner, that is another story.

"I'll be a mess full of nerves.

"But hell, he's been in the Caulfield Cup, the Australian Cup and the Cox Plate, so hopefully I should be able to keep those emotions under control."

Someone also hoping to hold his composure in the race that stops two nations is New Zealand jockey Cory Parish.

The 28-year-old Rotorua-born jockey will make his Cup debut aboard Boom Time, after riding the Australian six-year-old to an upset win in last month's Caulfield Cup.

Parish was $45,000 in debt when he left New Zealand with his wife and daughter five years ago, working as a labourer while securing rides.

After earning almost $100,000 for two minutes and 27 seconds work in the Caulfield Cup, and securing a ride in the Melbourne Cup in the process, Parish said it is special to know all his hard work has been worth it.

"I suppose you get a lot of people that doubt you over the years and go 'you'll never make it' and things like that.

"I suppose at points you start to think like that, you think, 'will I ever make it'. Then when it does turn around and you do get that success you go, 'well yes, I can do it'.

"You just appreciate all the people that have stuck by you, given you the benefit of the doubt and opportunity."

Boom Time lies mid-field in most betting markets, but that won't stop plenty of punters backing him after he powered through traffic for an impressive Caulfield Cup win over a number of the horses who he will line up against at Flemington on Tuesday.

Add in a strong fourth at the Herbert Power Stakes the previous week, and Parish's assessment those races have often been a good indicator of Melbourne Cup results, and the Kiwi jockey's confidence is not diminished by the odds.

"It was a very good run in the Herbert Power and he topped it off with the Caulfield Cup," Parish said.

"Over the years that sort of form has been quite strong leading into the Melbourne Cup. Hopefully that sticks to its work and does the same again."