Horses at the opposite ends of their careers will be out to enhance trainer Anthony Cummings’s reputation as a carnival giant killer at Randwick on Saturday.
Cummings will saddle up rising nine-year-old Zavite (Queen Elizabeth Stakes) and freshman filly Houston Benefactor (Champagne Stakes) as his Group One runners for Sydney’s autumn carnival swan song.
Whenever there has been a genuine carnival upset this year Cummings hasn’t been too far from the action, starting with Smart Missile’s win over eventual Golden Slipper Sepoy in the Todman Stakes.
Three races later Zavite sprung a $101 surprise with his Ranvet Stakes win and more recently Lucha Libre was the second least fancied runner before winning the South Pacific Classic last week.
Cummings finds himself in familiar territory on Saturday with Zavite an $11 chance and Houston Benefactor posted at $16.
He thinks both can defy early betting trends to play a part in their races.
“Zavite is back to his Ranvet form … his work during the week suggests that,” Cummings, who won the race with Road To Rock last year, said.
A $2.4 million earner, Zavite made his way in front in the Ranvet and fought back for Glen Boss to beat Descarado.
He was well below that level in the BMW but there is no way Cummings is writing off the warrior on Saturday – and beyond.
“He has shown before he can rebound,” Cummings said.
While Zavite holds a special place on the Cummings stable honour roll, Houston Benefactor represents the future.
She is a two-year-old maiden with suspect barrier manners but Cummings likes her prospects after a fast-finishing Keith McKay Quality Handicap placing last week.
Houston Benefactor steps up from 1200 to 1600 metres and Cummings has taken every measure on the track to make sure she is ready.
“I lengthened her work a bit earlier this week and basically rolled the arm over with some evens work this morning,” Cummings said on Thursday.
Tim Clark will ride Houston Benefactor with the young rider out to continue his Group One momentum after last week’s Doncaster Mile and Galaxy wins.