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  • John Curtis


THURSDAY: September 9, 2021: IT could hardly have been a better day for Edward Cummings.

The talented young Hawkesbury trainer not only won with both his runners Three Wise Men and Sunborn at his home meeting today to clinch his first provincial double, but also left the track happy with the work of stablemates Duais and Prompt Prodigy, who galloped between races.

Cummings had intended to also start three-year-old Dark Rebel in the HRC Motel Class 1 Handicap (1600m) but, after carefully considering his 59kg and outside barrier, wisely chose to keep him against his own age in the Listed Dulcify Stakes (1500m) at the Rosehill Gardens meeting at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

So he settled for a breakthrough provincial double, having trained his inaugural double (with Tri Nations and Gin Runner) on the same country program at Scone in March last year.

Group 1 winner Duais’ jockey Hugh Bowman put the finishing touches to Cummings’ Hawkesbury success with a pair of favorites, getting both Three Wise Men ($3.10) and Sunborn ($2.15) home in the TAB Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m) and Lander Toyota Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) respectively.

Three Wise Men, having his first start since tackling Group 1 company in Brisbane in June, did a good job under his 59kg topweight to edge out fellow Hawkesbury runner, Garry White’s What A Prince ($6), whilst Sunborn continued her excellent form, making it two wins from her last three starts.

Cummings, understandably, was quick to praise Bowman’s skill on both horses and acknowledged him as a good friend.

“Hugh takes a real interest in the horses, and is always very helpful with his advice after he has ridden them,” he said.

Cummings purchased Three Wise Men, a lightly-raced three-year-old by 2016 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas winner Divine Prophet, for $50,000 after he was initially passed in at last year’s Gold Coast Magic Millions yearling sale.

“I liked his pedigree,” he said. “His dam Moonlight Music is a Redoute’s Choice mare out of an American mare by Woodman.

“Three Wise Men has a bit of attitude, and Hugh felt the same today. He didn’t think he was going to win 50 or so metres out, but dug in and got there.

“At this stage, we’ll take him through his grades, but later in the carnival a feature race against his own age (the $1m Bondi Stakes, 1600m at Royal Randwick on October 23) looks appealing.”

Coincidentally, Bowman was aboard Three Wise Men’s dam in two of her four wins, including her maiden victory over 1400m at Hawkesbury 13 years ago.

Cummings has had to go back to scratch with four-year-old mare Sunborn, who fractured a lateral splint bone in her near foreleg and required two operations, after being lucky to stay on her feet when she suffered severe interference in a dramatic 2YO Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill on July 25 last year.

“We had knocked back a good offer after she ran fifth in the $2m Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm earlier in her two-year-old season,” he said.

“I had always been bullish about her ability and, but for that incident, she could easily have put me on the map six or 12 months before Duais did (winning the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm in June).

“We’ve just had to be patient and pick up the pieces, and it’s obviously very gratifying to see her racing so well again.”

Cummings knew plenty about Sunborn’s pedigree before he paid $58,000 for her at the 2019 Inglis Classic yearling sale. His father Anthony trained both her sire (Group 1 winner Casino Prince) and dam, the Fastnet Rock mare Honeymoon Cruise, who raced only three times.

. Duais is ready to begin a spring campaign following an exhibition gallop with stablemate Prompt Prodigy after the third race today.

“Prompt Prodigy ran second in the Tulloch Stakes (Group 2) at Rosehill in April a week before Duais won the Adrian Knox Stakes at Randwick, so I’m fortunate to have a good galloping companion for her,” Cummings said.

“I’ll nominate Duais for both the Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle next Friday and Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick the following day, and then study the weights before deciding where she will run.

“Prompt Prodigy will have his second run back in either the Bill Ritchie or a Benchmark 78 Handicap over the same 1400m that day.”

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