There is no escaping the fact that James Cummings sending out his first runners for Godolphin in Australia signals a new era for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s stable in a thriving racing environment still with the potential for growth.
Cummings is a fourth generation trainer, and when saddling Prized Icon to win the G1 Victoria Derby at Flemington last November, he followed his great-grandfather (Jim), his grandfather (Bart) and father (Anthony) in training the winner of the premier Classic.
Low-key his first day may be — Warwick Farm and Kembla Grange are a million miles from Randwick and Flemington — but it will be his first few weeks in the job that sees the important groundwork for the Spring established. On this score, his timing is impeccable.
James Cummings has made the perfect start to his new role as Godolphin’s Australian head trainer with his first runner in the royal blue silks coming home a winner.
Manicure, a two-year-old daughter of Exceed And Excel, showed courage and dash to win the TAB Rewards Handicap at Sydney’s Warwick Farm track, with Cummings passing credit to his predecessor Darren Beadman.
“Darren will be very pleased with that, he’s got a lot of time for this filly,” Cummings said.
“She’s a stylish filly who has trained on nicely.”
Cummings has had a previous relationship with Godolphin’s founder and guiding force, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, through the G1 winner Hallowed Crown who is now a Darley stallion.
“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was involved in the ownership of Hallowed Crown, but this is my first runner in the Godolphin colours,” he said.
“The period ahead is one that I’m going to really enjoy. I can focus on being a horse trainer, enjoy the processes and continue to learn and build with a really good team around me.”
Manicure (Corey Brown), who was having her third start, showed speed from the gates before settling just behind and looked beaten until being asked for the supreme effort that put her nose in front of runner-up Brook Magic in the last stride.