James Cummings is poised to become the fourth generation from the famed racing family to train a Victoria Derby winner.
Group One-winning colt Prized Icon is on the fourth line of betting for Saturday’s $1.5 million Victoria Derby 2016 at Flemington and if successful, Cummings would join his great grandfather, grandfather and father on the trainers’ honour roll.
Jim Cummings prepared Comic Court to win the 1948 Derby while Bart Cummings won the Classic five times with Dayana his first in 1972 while Omnicorp gave the legendary trainer his fifth 1987.
Anthony Cummings, James’ father, won the 2012 Derby with Fiveandahalfstar.
“These big races are important, any which way you look at them,” James Cummings said.
And while he takes pride in his family’s Derby history in the Classic, the trainer says Prized Icon is in the race because he has a genuine chance, not just for the sake of the Cummings name.
“Any race I win, virtually they have had a crack at,” Cummings said.
“At all times we’re just very focused on what we’re doing. We’re very calculated in our decision making and we don’t let the sentiment get in the way of business, as my grandfather used to say.
“Prized Icon is there because we feel he can run well. He’s not there to have a runner in the race or stand in the enclosure, I could have done that in the last two years. But until I have the horse, I don’t want to be there for the sake of it.
“We take pride in that and for that reason that’s why we’re here going into a Derby and hopeful we have a chance.”
Cummings also had Good Standing in the Derby mix but connections decided to instead target Group One Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday week.
Prized Icon won the Group One Champagne Stakes in Sydney last season and heads into the Derby off an unplaced run in the Vase last Saturday, but Cummings is forgiving of the performance.
“We’ve got a three-year-old here who has two strong mile wins under his name as a two-year-old and he’s sixth-up this preparation and very, very fit and very tough going into the Derby,” Cummings said.
“We paid really close attention to how he was recovering (from the Vase) and his powers of recovery have been quite good.
“I think he’s in good enough form, having run a narrow third to Yankee Rose in the Spring Champion Stakes two starts ago.
“Good runs in that race usually equate to good runs in the Derby.”