MONDAY: March 16, 2020: WHAT a red letter day for Edward Cummings at Scone today!
Now training in his own right at Hawkesbury since setting up shop just over 12 months ago after previously training in partnership with his father Anthony at Royal Randwick for a number of years, Cummings claimed his first double.
And it was no surprise either to the grandson of the legendary Bart Cummings, who prepared a remarkable 12 Melbourne Cup winners.
His great grandfather Jim also prepared a Melbourne Cup winner (Comic Court in 1951).
Tri Nations (Rory Hutchings, $3.60 joint favorite) turned in an impressive performance, coming from last to overpower his rivals in the Maiden Plate (1300m).
Then the stars aligned for Cummings to make it a day to remember when $17 chance Gin Runner beat Wyong stablemates Value Abbey ($21) and $3.60 favorite Hubble in the Class 2 Handicap (1400m).
Gin Runner was Cummings’ first runner in the Group 3 Black Opal Stakes at Canberra last March, and gave him a breakthrough success at Wellington last July in a 2YO Maiden Plate (1100m) when he was ridden by Ashley Morgan.
Mitchell Bell had the mount on Gin Runner today, but was indisposed after riding in the previous race – and fortunately Morgan was in the right place to substitute.
It was only Morgan’s second ride for the Hawkesbury mentor, and thus maintained a perfect record for him; a fact which he light heartedly mentioned on dismounting.
Cummings, a fifth generation trainer, was confident about Tri Nations’ prospects first-up and his hopes for a double rose after the three-year-old’s last to first victory.
“Both my Scone winners galloped together on the course proper at Hawkesbury last Thursday morning,” Cummings said on his way home.
“The trackwork rider of Gin Runner was obviously happy with his work because he asked me after the gallop where he was heading, and I told him he was going to Scone on Monday.
“It’s been a great day; a terrific result for our stable.”
Cummings’ double boosted his number of winners this season to four, following on from Sunborn at Newcastle in December and Vendome at Bathurst in January.
Tri Nations, a three-year-old by Wandjina, is well named. His dam Lovetorn was born in Australia but raced in South Africa, and he was initially pinhooked as a weanling before Cummings bought him for $40,000 in November, 2018 at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run yearling sale.
Now that he has shed his maiden status, his trainer is hoping he can continue to progress and perhaps measure up to a nice race toward the end of the Sydney autumn carnival.
Cummings described Gin Runner’s victory as “tradesmanlike”. “He did a good job; it was his first run in five weeks and the track at Scone had a bit of give in it and suited him perfectly,” he said.