Anthony Cummings isn’t a trainer who beats around the bush when he finds a good horse.
And Cummings was at his ambitious best when Muraqaba kept his unbeaten record in tact with an against-the-odds win in in the Hylands Race Colours Handicap (1900m) at Canterbury on Wednesday.
Muraqaba will be given the chance to make an impact on racing’s biggest stage with Cummings considering a start in the Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week.
“Our long-range plan was to try to turn up for the Emirates on the last day of the Flemington carnival,” Cummings said.
“I’m not sure about that now, not that he’s not up to it but it’s whether it’s going to be a far enough distance by that time.
“Plainly he’s a carnival horse, maybe not in Sydney – that might come a bit early – but he’ll be a big player down in Melbourne during the carnival.”
Having just his third start after wins at Hawkesbury and Wyong, Muraqaba was walled up behind horses approaching the home turn and spotting the leaders a big start on a track that had been favouring frontrunners.
Shinn didn’t panic, weaving a passage through towards the inside and finding clear galloping room for Muraqaba to power home and overwhelm his rivals.
“He had things against him, especially from the half-mile onwards,” Shinn said.
“We were last at the turn and he weaved through and showed a good turn of foot.”
“Who knows where he’s going to end up this horse? But he’s progressive and it’s exciting for Anthony.”
Muraqaba was the second leg of a double for Shinn who won the opening event on the Gai Waterhouse-trained Dark Steel, another horse set to figure in better races this spring.
By Redoute’s Choice out of a half-sister to top sire Snitzel, Dark Steel led all the way to break his maiden, drawing high praise from his trainer.
“Blake let him have a little breather in the middle stages and he kicked away and said, `easy-peasy’,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s got the makings of a very serious colt.”
Dark Steel has been nominated for the Caulfield Guineas.