By Isaac Murphy
The Cummings name is on the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic trophy for a third time, but after his Grandfather Bart’s two previous triumphs it was birthday boy James Cummings who carved his name into the history books with a perfect training performance to guide Exhilarates to glory.
Cummings said his surname was synonymous with training great stayers and it was sometimes forgotten his Grandfather could train a two-year-old as well.
“The guys sometimes laugh when a nice stayer comes from overseas they know that I’m going to enjoy training it because of my pedigree,” Cummings laughed.
“But Bart was a fair trainer of two-year-old’s and he taught me well.”
Not only did a young Cummings receive tutelage from his own family but other prominent names in the industry.
“I was very lucky learning from my father and Bart, but also watching Gai Waterhouse and Peter Snowden at Randwick,” he said
“They probably regret showing me some of the tricks they had.”
The trainer marvelled at the opportunity he was afforded at the head of Godolphin to train horses as talented Exhilarates.
“It’s such a wonderful thing for a young trainer to have horses like Exhilarates at my feet and a team that can train the horses the way I want them prepared,” Cummings said.
“It’s just a huge buzz and with the sales tonight they’re may be a couple more horses in the budget after this.”
Cummings praised the maturity of his filly who came from second last at the top of the straight to get home.
“She got squeezed at the start, but she’s seasoned and experienced enough to overcome that now,” Cummings said.
“A couple of months ago the same thing happened at Wyong and she really didn’t handle it when beaten by Unite and Conquer.”
“On this occasion she was just too seasoned, Kerrin McEvoy kept his cool and when she got the split at the top of the straight I knew she had the fitness to really kick into overdrive for us.”
Sometimes viewed as a corporation Cummings stressed how much it meant to the team to win the race.
“It’s a huge result, we’re not just over the moon, a win like this really instils passion and gets us going, we’re not an aloof cool operation we really care,” he said.
“One of the reasons we’re back buying fillies like Exhilarates is we want to be a part of the fabric of Australian racing.”
It was an emotional day for Godolphin General Manager Vin Cox who spent several years as CEO of Magic Millions.
“To spend seven or eight years working for Gerry Harvey and Katie Page at Magic Millions and come back and win the race you’ve got no idea what it means to me,” Cox said.
“To all the team from Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed who had the faith in us to purchase the yearlings last year, it’s just wonderful to turn up and win the Magic Millions, it’s staggering.”
Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed had a bumper year in 2018 but Cox said personally the Magic Millions was his favourite.
“We had a wonderful 2018, Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Epsom Handicap, Epsom Derby, World Cups, Dubai World Cups and now to kick off 2019 winning the Magic Millions it’s incredible.”