Why ironhorse Humidor is turning back Melbourne Cup clock

He threatened to spoil Winx's Cox Plate party and now Darren Weir's ironhorse Humidor will wade into spring carnival waters not tested in almost a decade by contesting all three of Melbourne's spring carnival majors in the one year.

Not since Master O'Reilly ran in the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in 2008 has a horse contested three of Australian racing's four grand slams in the space of 17 days, but Weir will wind back the clock for the $6 million race.

It is a program which has become almost obsolete in the modern-day, cotton wool caper of nursing horses to their major targets, yet Weir is adamant Humidor is thriving with repeat races.

Elvstroem is the only other horse to have tackled the big three in the same year in recent times, winning the 2004 Caulfield Cup before progressing to the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

He ran fourth in the second of Makybe Diva's three-peat, coincidentally the same place Master O'Reilly finished when chasing home the Blake Shinn-ridden Viewed.

Shinn was confirmed on Monday as Humidor's rider for the Melbourne Cup after Godolphin surprisingly paid up for last year's placegetter Hartnell, who was widely tipped to run in the Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival.

Damian Lane, who was admonished by Weir for his aggressive Caulfield Cup ride on Humidor, will partner Hartnell should James Cummings elect to start him.

Shinn was widely praised for his canny ride on Humidor, which almost crashed Winx's bid to equal Kingston Town's three Cox Plate wins, less than an hour after he racked up his fourth winner on one of Australian racing's biggest days.

And he will now have the chance to add a second Melbourne Cup to his trophy cabinet after his success on Viewed in 2008.

"It's as good a chance I will have to win a second Melbourne Cup," Shinn said. "It's exciting. It shows his toughness. Darren's able to peak them after hard runs and I know I'll be on a fit horse."

Humidor remains a $7.50 second favourite with Sportsbet for the Melbourne Cup, shadowing Lloyd Williams' Almandin ($6.50).

"He put it to the great mare on Saturday and he gave me an unbelievable feel," Shinn said. "The blinkers definitely helped and knowing Darren is happy to run him again just gives me so much confidence.

"I'm thankful to the owners for making the decision to keep me on."

Meanwhile, trainer Alain Couetil flew into Melbourne and had his first look at Tiberian as the French stayer attempts to emulate the feats of Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) in winning Australia's most famous race.

"I think he'll run very well," Couetil said. "The owner of Dunaden didn't think he was capable of running [and winning a Melbourne Cup], but he's said from the start this one is capable of running and adapting to the racing out here.

"Americain didn't win a group 2 in France and came here [to win a Melbourne Cup]. On paper he's probably better. I think for Tiberian, with 24 runners, the race is very difficult.

"[But] the horse is really well. I think he'll run well. The horse is really intelligent and he adjusts to the ground he's galloping on. A little bit of rain would be good. I think he's got the speed to go with them."

Tiberian is part-owned by Darren Dance's Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, which also brought Heartbreak City Down Under last year when the horse was a gripping second to Almandin.

One of Europe's most prolific riders, Olivier Peslier, has been booked to ride Tiberian. Connections are hoping Peslier will familiarise himself with Flemington on his first Australian visit with rides on Derby Day.???

This story Why ironhorse Humidor is turning back Melbourne Cup clock first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.