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HAWKESBURY'S NEWEST GROUP 1 TRAINER - IT'S ONLY THE BEGINNING


SUNDAY: June 6, 2021: IT’S only the beginning!

Aussie singer-songwriter Deborah Conway’s 1991 release with that title might have been three decades ago – but it could easily fit the current state of Edward Cummings’ solo training career.

The young Hawkesbury mentor capped a breakout season when his classy filly Duais brilliantly won yesterday’s $600,000 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm, giving him not only a breakthrough Group 1 triumph, but boosting his prizemoney earnings beyond $1m in 2020-21 in the process.

Jockey Hugh Bowman, who clinched his third win in the race and his 99th Group 1 success, rode heavily-backed $2.80 favorite Duais like the best filly in the race – and she was.

He eased her back to last from an awkward alley, bided his time and then brought her with an overpowering run in the straight to outclass her rivals.

Cummings trained in partnership with his father Anthony at Royal Randwick for a number of seasons before deciding to go it alone just over two years ago, and set up shop at Hawkesbury.

He had only a handful of starters in the last few months of the 2018-19 racing year and his first success came with Gin Runner at Wellington in July, 2019.

Cummings trained four more winners the following season for stakemoney of $192,735, and has gone to a different level this season.

Duais, his major contributor of course, was his 12th winner this racing year, and her Oaks success lifted his prizemoney tally to $1,040,665.

Cummings afterwards said a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” had gone into getting him to this stage, but added there was plenty more hard work to be done and his filly’s superb performance had bolstered his hopes of chasing even loftier goals with her next season.

TAB.com.au today listed Duais at $26 for both the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 16 and Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley a week later.

“Duais has pulled up well, and will go to the paddock tomorrow,” Cummings said this evening.

“It’s too early to accurately say what we will target, but I’m sure it will be a nice race.”

Cummings has done a superb job with Duais, considering it was only early December when she won a 1300m Provincial & Country Maiden Plate at Newcastle when resuming and having only her third start.

It was his fourth winner of the season – already equalling his number the previous full season – and he made a prophetic statement following that victory.

“She is definitely going to appreciate longer distances, and hopefully will develop into an Oaks type next year,” he said at the time.

Fate often works in strange ways, and it was a chance meeting at Cummings’ local golf club which led to him getting Duais to train in the first few months of beginning his career at Hawkesbury.

“I met Matt Irwin, who along with the Harris family, bred Duais,” Cummings revealed.

“Matt mentioned they had bought Duais’ dam, the Johannesburg filly Meerlust (who won a Grafton Maiden from only five starts) at Scone as a yearling, and had a nice Casino Prince mare (Baccarat Baby) out of her.”

Baccarat Baby won eight races – including the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas and Listed Princess Stakes, both 1600m – for Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke and recently fetched $650,000 at the National Broodmare sale at the Gold Coast.

“I mentioned to Matt that Dad trained Johannesburg’s best horse (Turffontein, whose five wins included two Melbourne Group 1 sprints) and also Casino Prince, who was also a Sydney Group 1 winner and was placed five times at that level,” Cummings continued.

“I must have struck a chord as it wasn’t long after that meeting at the golf club that Matt contacted me about getting Duais broken in and training her.

“I started at Hawkesbury in February, 2019 and she came to me around April.”

. Whilst Cummings says he hasn’t had time to play golf “in ages”, he is chasing further Group 1 glory at Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap meeting at Eagle Farm.

He will accept with both Dark Rebel and Two Wise Men (scratched from Rosehill Gardens yesterday) for the $1m JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m).

“Both are guaranteed starts as there are 16 two-year-olds left in the race at present (the maximum field is 18) before final acceptances are taken on Tuesday morning,” Cummings said.

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