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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


Updated: Mar 29, 2022

SUNDAY: March 13, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S Edward Cummings is now a dual Group 1 winning trainer – with a real possibility of more to come back home this autumn.

Having brilliantly won yesterday’s $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington with his classy mare Duais – with whom he snared last year’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) – Cummings has set his sights next on the $1.5m Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday week.

And another Group 1 feature, the $2m Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 9 during The Championships, looms as another target if she wins or races well in the Tancred.

The Australian Cup was run at weight-for-age and so is the Tancred, whereas the Sydney Cup is a handicap.

“Duais has only 51kg in the Cup, and cannot be penalised for her Australian Cup victory, nor the Tancred if she also wins that,” Cummings said this evening.

“It would be very hard not to run her in the Cup with that weight if she performs as I expect she will in the Tancred.”

Cummings clinched his 10th winner this season (only three short of last season’s benchmark) and his 28th overall since branching out on his own at Hawkesbury and saddling his first runner (Gin Runner in the Black Opal Stakes at Canberra) three years ago.

Superbly ridden by Josh Parr, Duais ($7) – who is on her way home this evening – swept home from the back to convincingly defeat Think It Over ($3.10 favorite) and Melbourne Cup placegetter Spanish Mission ($3.70).

In the process, she boosted her earnings to nearly $1.8m as well as greatly enhancing her value as a broodmare when she retires from racing.

Cummings purposely sent Duais to Melbourne last Monday to beat the flood crisis which enveloped the Hawkesbury region, and thus was able to give her a look at the Flemington course proper prior to the Cup.

“Some of my staff were affected by the floods, and it was becoming difficult to work the horses,” he said.

“I wanted to make sure we got her out and off to Melbourne early in the week.”

Duais’ barnstorming victory provided her trainer with both satisfaction that he was able to show Melbourne racegoers her true ability and great delight in joining his legendary late grandfather, Hall Of Famer Bart Cummings, on the Australian Cup honour roll, having won it a remarkable 13 times.

“Whilst Duais won the Group 3 Coongy Cup at Caulfield last spring, she was ridden too close in the Caulfield Cup three days later and wasn’t able to show her best,” he said.

“It was nice to go back and see her do that yesterday.

“Joining Bart as an Australian Cup winner was pretty special, and for our family as well.”

Cummings said Duais had come back in better shape this campaign, and was a more mature mare.

“As a result, it is easier to maintain her fitness, she is holding her condition and is better behaved.

“We have had a faultless preparation with her.”

Cummings paid tribute to Josh Parr, who has ridden Duais in both her trials and all her three starts this time in (Hugh Bowman won three races, including the Queensland Oaks, on her last year).

“Hugh couldn’t commit to Duais at the start of this campaign, and there are a lot of similarities between he and Josh,” he said.

“Josh is a great bloke and very good rider, and won on Amiche (a half-sister to Duais) for myself and Duais’ owners at Rosehill last November.

“He could have ridden my father Anthony’s filly She’s Extreme (which won at Rosehill yesterday and ensured a Golden Slipper start), but wanted to stick with our mare.

“Naturally, he has first refusal of the Tancred mount and the Cup, but I’m not sure he could make her 51kg there.

“We’ll worry about that later if the Cup becomes a reality.”

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