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Edward Cummings adds his name to esteemed family roll of honour

4 min read
Edward Cummings fulfilled his racing destiny when he delivered a stellar training performance for a memorable maiden Group 1 victory with his bonny filly Duais (Shamus Award) in Saturday’s Queensland Oaks.

Cover image courtesy of Michael McInally

Cummings’ family is steeped in Australian racing history with his father Anthony a multiple Group 1-winning trainer, his brother James has likewise numerous top-flight successes as Godolphin’s Head Trainer and, of course, his late grand-father is the legendary Bart.

He trained a record 12 Melbourne Cup winners and his father Jim also won the iconic Flemington race with Comic Court (Powerscourt) in 1950.

Edward Cummings, 35, trained with his father for nearly three seasons and enjoyed success in the G2 Villiers S. with Sky Boy (Pendragon {NZ}) before branching out on his own at Hawkesbury two years ago to establish Myrtle House Stables.

Duais’ victory in the Oaks at Eagle Farm, which provided rider Hugh Bowman with his 99th Group 1 victory, has come as a result of skill, dedication and attention to detail and such a famous name as Cummings isn’t a guaranteed pathway to success.

“While I’m very thankful for the opportunity and thrilled with the result, I know there is a lot of hard work left in front of us,” he said.

“While I’m very thankful for the opportunity and thrilled with the result, I know there is a lot of hard work left in front of us.” – Edward Cummings

“No-one really knows what the future holds and all you can do is your best. We have worked our butts off, which I hope people understand. We started from zero and had no horses in the stable and built that up.

“Day by day, week by week we kept believing in ourselves so I’d like to think the same ethic will carry us a long way into the future.”

Duais and Hugh Bowman cruise to victory in the G1 Queensland Oaks | Image courtesy of Michael McInally

Cummings admitted it will take some time for the Oaks achievement to properly sink in.

“It’s very surreal and I’ll probably come to terms with it in the next few hours, the next few days and maybe the next few months too,” he said.

“There’s something about this game that makes you want to get up the next day and work harder and be bigger and stronger and prove it again and again.”

Raced by breeder Michael Irwin and his family, Duais rose to prominence when she won the G3 Adrian Knox S. at Randwick and then finished runner-up in the G1 Australian Oaks.

Proven formula

Cummings elected not to race her again before the Queensland feature and opted for a quiet trial to have her at peak on Saturday.

“We’ve done it before and it was seven weeks between Hawkesbury and Warwick Farm when she won. We took her to the trials between times and put Hugh on in the trial and at Warwick Farm,” he said.

Duais drew a wide gate in the Oaks and at barrier rise Bowman let her amble toward the rail to settle second to last. They minded their own business until the top of the straight and when the field fanned out the duo drove between runners to win going away by 2.5l.

The Chris Waller-trained duo of Charms Star (NZ) (Per Incanto {USA}) and Signora Nera (NZ) (Swyenesse) were the next pair home.

“She’s that sort of filly that's very kind and willing and when you ask her she’s very strong,” Cummings said.

“She’s (Duais) that sort of filly that's very kind and willing and when you ask her she’s very strong.” – Edward Cummings

“When they win like that it makes you think about bigger prospects in the spring, those prospects become much more firmly into focus.

“Hugh had the horsepower underneath him and we discussed all that before he got legged on. It’s definitely been an interesting experience and I thought she could win that way and she did.”

Duais is a half-sister to the G3 Sunshine Coast Guineas winner Baccarat Baby (Casino Prince) with their dam Meerlust (Johannesburg {USA}), a $22,000 Inglis Scone Yearling Sale buy for Irwin. Meerlust won one minor race.

Empty last year and currently in foal to Vinery Stud sire All Too Hard, Meerlust has a deep pedigree that features Group 1 winners including Champion Sires Encosta De Lago, Flying Spur and Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) as well as G1 New Zealand Derby winner Sherwood Forest (Fastnet Rock).

Edward Cummings
Bart Cummings
Anthony Cummings
James Cummmings
Shamus Award