TUESDAY: March 15, 2022: WHEN you’re hot, you’re hot!
Three winners – and it should have been four - in four days has boosted Hawkesbury’s dual Group 1 winning trainer Edward Cummings’ season tally to 12; only one short of last season’s benchmark of 13.
Following on from his brilliant Australian Cup triumph with Duais at Flemington last Saturday, Cummings scored with Adamas Prince ($9.50) at yesterday’s Canberra Cup meeting and then backed up with another winner, Have Mercy ($1.55 favorite), on his home track today.
Adamas Prince, one of the first horses to join the trainer’s team when he set up shop at Hawkesbury three years ago, clinched his third victory, overcoming a big weight (60.5kg) and outside barrier in the Class 2 Handicap (1200m) at Canberra.
In spite of two provincial placings at Gosford since resuming this campaign, the gelding was largely overlooked by punters, who preferred the $1.70 local hotpot Devils Triangle.
However, not even a 3.5kg weight difference could deny Cummings’ four-year-old.
Ridden by Duais’ Cup jockey Josh Parr, Adamas Prince crossed and led and then bravely held off the favorite.
“Josh is in great form, and took both the big weight and awkward draw out of the equation,” Cummings said this afternoon.
“I’ll look for another suitable provincial race for Adamas Prince, and then hopefully go on to a midweek in town.”
Whilst Cummings was of course pleased to get another win on the board with the gelding, he was understandably disappointed not to make it a Canberra double with lightly-raced filly I’m Divine ($4.80 favorite) in the Benchmark 75 Handicap (1600m).
The three-year-old cost herself victory by racing erratically in the straight and veering toward the outside fence, and Clyde ($11) got her down in the closing stages.
I’m Divine would have won easily had she kept a straight course.
“I’m Divine has a lot of ability, and I’m going to have to try some different gear with her to hopefully correct the problem,” Cummings said.
“I will take her back to the trials before she races again.”
Cummings made it 12 for the season when American Pharoah filly Have Mercy broke through in the Priestleys Gourmet Delights/Masterfoods Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1100m) today.
Have Mercy’s rider Tom Sherry took control of the race from the outset, and she was never threatened, scoring by two and a half lengths, Marc Chevalier’s Pitavago ($6.50), making it a Hawkesbury quinella.
“If they have ability, they usually win within their first five starts, and this was her fifth start,” Cummings said.
“I took the ear muffs and nose roll off her today, and it was great to see her get the maiden out of the way.”
Unfortunately, RacingNSW stewards later reported Have Mercy had bled from both nostrils for the first time, and Cummings said he would now spell her.
Cummings outlaid $210,000 to purchase Have Mercy as a yearling at the Gold Coast in 2020, fully aware his brother James and late grandfather Bart trained her dam Blissful, a Lonhro mare.
“Blissful was an immature filly and unsound, and never raced. This filly (Have Mercy) has a really good pedigree, and I’m sure the best is yet to come.” . HOOFNOTE: Duais has safely arrived back at Cummings’ Myrtle House stables and is on track to chase another Group 1 victory in Saturday week’s Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Cummings will start Three Wise Men (Tom Sherry) in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1550m) on the Kensington track tomorrow as a test for a tougher mission in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) against his own age (three-year-olds) at set weights at the same Rosehill meeting next week.