Jim, Bart, Anthony and now James. Four generations of Cummings. Four generations of Victoria Derby winners.
Seven decades after his great-grandfather Jim won with Comic Court, a humble James Cummings claimed his own $1.5 million Derby.
The 28-year-old did it with Prized Icon, his first runner in one of the world’s oldest races.
His late grandfather and training partner Bart won the Derby five times, his great-grandfather Jim won in 1948 and his father Anthony won in 2012 with Fiveandahalfstar.
“I get a lot of confidence in the fact that my great-grandfather started training horses in 1911,” Cummings said.
“There’s over 100 years of horse racing excellence in the family and that knowledge gives us confidence.”
The Derby was always the plan for Prized Icon, but there were a few anxious moments during the week when it was not clear if the colt would take his place at Flemington.
“There were times where we doubted running him but the thing about these horses, when you concentrate on your horse and you run your own race, as they say, you can be rewarded,” Cummings said.
“He’s going to be close to my heart for the rest of my life as my first Derby winner.”
Cummings’ proud parents watched Prized Icon upset favourite Sacred Elixir.
“He’s a good trainer James,,” his mum Bernadette told AAP.
“He learnt from his father and his grandfather. He is going to carry on the family name.”
Cummings no longer needs his dad’s training advice.
“He knows what he’s doing. He knows his horses,” Anthony Cummings said.
“It’s a great thing. Four generations and still going. It’s only early days yet.
“James has made a great start to his training career and continues on the family name. I’m very proud.”
Another success for the Cummings racing dynasty was the highlight for the 90,000-strong crowd at Flemington on the Group One-heavy Derby Day.
A $50,000 purchase by former NSW police minister Paul Whelan, who owns Luskin Park Stud, caused an upset in the stallion-making Coolmore Stud Stakes.
It’s been a tough year for Whelan, with the death of his daughter, 42-year-old ovarian cancer awareness advocate Bridget, in May.
“It shows the extremes of life – joy one minute, extreme sadness the next,” Whelan said.
As for Flying Artie, his first win at Group One level stamps him as a stud colt.
“I’m just rapt that finally Flying Artie has nailed a good Group One and probably the Group One for three-year-old colts,” trainer Mick Price said.
Trainer Shane Nichols won his first Group One with I Am A Star taking out the Myer Classic, the most important fillies and mares race during the Melbourne Cup carnival.
“I’m just beside myself how happy I am to win a Group One,” the Mornington trainer said.
It was also jockey Dean Yendall’s second Group One win, a month after he landed his first.
The Kris Lees-trained Le Romain took out the $1 million Cantala Stakes.
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