James Cummings learned his trade from the best as the grandson and training partner of the legendary Bart Cummings.
But as Cummings made a dream start to his role as Godolphin’s head trainer in Australia on Saturday, the 29-year-old admits he is far from the finished product as a horseman.
Cummings prepared the two-year-old filly Manicure to win the TAB Rewards Handicap at Warwick Farm, his first runner in Sheikh Mohammed’s famous royal blue racing silks.
“It’s a nice way to start and the period ahead is one I can really enjoy,” Cummings said.
“I know I will be able to focus on being a horse trainer and enjoy the process.
“And I’ll be able to continue to learn and build with a really good team around me.”
Given the best run in the race in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1200m), Manicure rallied when it counted to beat Brook Magic by a half neck.
Despite a first-up win at Canterbury last month, Manicure wasn’t expected to become a milestone horse for Cummings after being sent out an $18 chance.
Cummings has stepped into one of the most prized jobs in racing after John O’Shea parted ways with the stable in May and he has taken over from interim trainer Darren Beadman.
“She is a stylish filly and she has trained on. Darren will be very pleased with that because he has a lot of time for this filly,” he said.
Manicure’s jockey Corey Brown has developed a rapport with Godolphin since returning from Singapore and the Melbourne Cup-winning rider expects Cummings to thrive as a private trainer.
“He is a great trainer in his own right. He has some big shoes to fill but I’m sure he’ll fill the role,” Brown said.
Chris Waller took training honours with a double while keeping his go-to jockey Hugh Bowman on track to claim the 2016/17 Sydney riders’ title.
Bowman has chipped away at Brenton Avdulla’s long-held lead and it seems only a matter of time before he hits the front after winning on the Waller-trained Sayed and Liapari.
Avdulla, with a 1-1/2 win advantage, will miss the next two city meetings because of suspension, leaving Bowman in the box-seat to claim a fourth premiership.
Bowman shared riding honours at Warwick Farm with Tye Angland who won on Kings Of Leon and Isorich.