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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: February 23, 2023: HAWKESBURY’S Edward Cummings produced a brilliant training performance to win with a debutante carrying a famous set of colours, at Kembla Grange today.

And the good news came on top of an inspection of his triple Group 1 winner Duais, who is set to return to his stables on Monday.

Cummings could not have been more pleased to land the Maiden Plate (1400m) with first starter Arts ($21), raced by the Kelly family of Newhaven Park fame.

Ridden by Sam Clipperton, the Xtravagant three-year-old was wide on the home turn but sustained a determined run to overhaul Zarni ($10) and Align The Planets ($21).

Cummings trialled Arts at Rosehill Gardens last June as a late two-year-old, then a few months later when third at Hawkesbury in September as an early three-year-old.

He turned her out again and prepared her for today’s debut with another placing over 1080m at Randwick earlier in the month.

“Arts required a bit of time, and I gave it to her because Richard Kelly and the family have been involved in racing long enough to understand what needs to be done,” Cummings said this evening.

“It was nice to repay their patience by winning with a filly who is talented.”

Arts provided Cummings with his sixth success this season, and his 42nd since launching his solo training career at Hawkesbury four years ago.

He also nominated the filly, a daughter of three times Victorian winner Graphic (by 1987 Cox Plate winner Rubiton), for a 3YO Maiden Handicap (1200m) on the Kembla program but, as it turned out, wisely opted for the slightly longer assignment.

Cummings was thrilled with Duais when he inspected her today at the Wild Oaks agistment and pre-training facility in the Camden Valley, and will bring her back to his stable on Monday.

“She is raring to go, but won’t race in Sydney this autumn,” he said.

“We will be guided by her progress as to where she goes, but naturally won’t take any risks with her.”

Duais in five starts last spring failed to reproduce her previous season form (which included Group 1 triumphs in the Australian Cup at Flemington and Tancred Stakes at Newcastle, transferred from Rosehill Gardens).

However, a scan taken after she returned home following an unplaced Melbourne Cup performance at Flemington in early November resulted in her undergoing surgery, and subsequent rehabilitation.

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