By Brad Gray
James Cummings trained three of the first four winners at Canterbury on Wednesday leaving Leilani Lodge in style before swapping Randwick for Agnes Banks, where he’ll take up the reins at Godolphin.
“This will be one of the last times you will see James Cummings in the race book until the 8th of July. This is the last few Sydney runners for the Leilani Lodge stable under my name so it’s pretty special to have walked away with three winners,” Cummings said.
“I must say a big thank you for the support we’ve had to get us to where we are now. I’ll be joining a great team for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and I’m looking forward to picking up the baton and pursuing excellence for a new owner but I will certainly hold onto the values and ideals that I’ve learnt through the Cummings name.
“One of the things we really pride ourselves on is that we keep our horses happy. That was my grandfather’s mantra and that’s how he taught me.”
His three winners Envy Of All, World Games and Passage Of Time were certainly happy in the testing Canterbury conditions, as were the punters who heavily supported the trio in betting. Conditions worsened before Passage Of Time’s win with race caller Darren Flindell struggling to pick the runners up.
“He is a beautiful horse and a great credit to Gooree. He has done a lot of his training out in the wilderness in the hills. He has had two strong wins for us on heavy tracks in his first campaign and we’re very proud of him,” Cummings said.
“He is a big unit and the most imposing horse in the yard. There was plenty of speed underneath him but he was very tough. Amidst a clap of thunder and in the blink of an eye he hit the front and had to hold them off all the way up the straight.”
Passage Of Time's win - if you can see it...
Glyn Schofield also weighed in suggesting the win of the Northern Meteor colt was full of merit after he was posted wide early before crossing to the front.
“He began smartly but there was a lot of speed underneath us. I wanted to be positive but wanted to see how fast they were going to go. At one stage I was thinking they were going too quick for me but as soon as I was ready to come back, the pace really steadied so when that happened I allowed him to roll forward,” Schofield explained.
“He was pretty strong and dominant. He kept two of his shoes on today which he didn’t do last start which kept him a lot more balanced and true.”