JAMES Cummings became the fourth generation of his family to win the Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington with Prized Icon.
Cummings followed in the footsteps in his father Anthony, grandfather Bart and great grandfather Jim Cummings in winning the Victoria Derby and it’s a moment Cummings will savor for a long time.
“I think like most trainers it will take a little while for this to sink in,” Cummings said. “To win staying races like these, horses just love to be in their own comfort zone, their own space.
“He’s been a model of consistency since he won the Group one. Although win-less leading into today, he just continued to show such strength and the miles and miles of Cummings training have kicked in and he’s kicked away to win a Derby nice and convincingly.”
Cummings didn’t show confidence in taking the son of More Than Ready to the 2017 Melbourne Cup and will instead target the Group 1 Doomben Cup next winter.
“Well, I wouldn’t be talking about a Melbourne Cup with a Group one-winning colt, son of More Than Ready, out of a Danehill mare, I think I might get into a bit of trouble like that, but I’m actually thinking about setting him for the Doomben Cup.”
Winning jockey Glyn Schofield gave the $17 chance at Sportsbet the ideal trip in transit and when the pressure went on around the home turn, Schofield has positioned his runner in the perfect spot outside favourite Sacred Elixir, which fought on well for second.
“He was too good today. These races are very hard to win, but when you do win them they’re sweet,” Schofield said. “My run was perfect, couldn’t have a better barrier, had the run of the race, followed the right horses, got out at the right time.
“He accelerated a tad quicker than I thought he would, he probably hit the front a furlong too soon for my liking. He always felt to me like he had enough in the tank to fight off anything that came.”
Beaten favourite Sacred Elixir didn’t travel like the winner throughout and it got into a bumping duel around the home turn. Trainer Tony Pike was disappointed with the result, but still proud of Sacred Elixir’s efforts.
“It was a solid run, he just got on the bridle a couple of times, got into a fair bumping duel as well,” Pike said. “Just turning into the straight when Zac (Purton, jockey) was trying to get out, he could have possibly got himself into the race earlier as well, but he’s come back on the line.
“Good solid run, but disappointing not to get the win.”
Team Hawkes-trained Inference ran on well for third and part-trainer Wayne Hawkes was happy with the run considering its wide barrier.
“He ran really well, barriers draws cost you don’t they,” Hawkes said. “He drew the outside barrier, went back to last, got two checks up the straight.
“That’s one we’ll have to forget, but onward and upwards to the AJC Derby now.”