By Ray Hickson
Everyone knows Anthony Cummings has had the best education in training stayers that is possible but he says his legendary father Bart’s routine wouldn’t have suited Terwilliker.
As far as his workload goes the five-year-old gets it pretty sweet and Cummings said ahead of his second attempt at the Coolmore Stayers Cup (3200m) at Rosehill on Saturday the horse won’t fire with a harder regimen.
“He’s a natural athlete so doesn’t need a whole lot of work,’’ he said.
“Certainly under the old man’s system he gets half the workload and he seems to do better on that.
“I’m not sure if we stuck to the normal routine whether there would be a race long enough for him. So for him it’s fresh legs more than anything.’’
Terwilliker ran fifth in the Stayers Cup last year as a $6.50 chance and he arrives at the race in 2020 with six runs under his belt, as he did a year ago, but was an impressive last start winner over the 2400m on heavy ground at Randwick three weeks ago.
Cummings did scratch him from a midweek 2400m contest on a heavy track at Warwick Farm last week and he did that to ensure Terwilliker isn’t too dour.
“It was more likely to do damage than help him win this race which is the aim,’’ he said.
“Had that race been constructive to this argument he could have run but I thought he would have gone the other way and the testing track wouldn’t do him any favours.’’
Jockey Tommy Berry gave a front-running masterclass in his Randwick win and it’s that higher percentage racing style that adds to Cummimgs’ confidence.
He’s adamant the gelding is a more seasoned stayer now and is racing in superior form.
“He’s a durable sort of a fellow. I thought his run last year was pretty good, the track was heavy that day and he got further back and maintained his effort all the way to the line,’’ he said.
“I think his recent racing pattern will be better in this sort of race and I think he is in better form and better shape altogether.
“Tommy did a very good job and the horse responded well.
“We will be positive out, everyone has different ideas and I don’t think you can nail yourself to one thought but he will look to be in the leading group.’’
It won’t be long until the Cummings stable is filled with his major spring contenders as classy filly Libertini, Golden Eagle placegetter Mizzy and Group 1 winner Prince Fawaz near their return to work.
Cummings said Mizzy missed the autumn due to a muscle strain in her hind quarter, where it attached to the pelvis, and she just needed a bit of extra time.
As for Libertini plans for the spring are up in the air and could come down to whether owner Gerry Harvey wants to chase a slot in the TAB Everest.
There was plenty of Everest talk after her stunning first-up win in the Silver Shadow last year with Harvey declaring in the aftermath there was plenty of time for her to tackle the now $15m race, where she's $51 with TAB, as an older horse.
“We had a look at her condition on Wednesday and are happy with her,’’ Cummings said.
Terwilliker wins at Randwick on June 6
“We’ve had a few thoughts about what her targets are but we need to make sure what her start date will be. From that point we need to work out what makes sense.
“I’ve spoken to Gerry a couple of times and he’s a bit ambivalent about the whole (Everest) thing so whether it turns out I’m not sure.’’
The news isn’t so great for 2018 Villiers Stakes winner Sky Boy whose recovery from injury has hit a snag and is going a lot slower than anticipated.
The rising six-year-old has ticked over 18 months since that win and it’s looking highly unlikely that he’ll race this year.
“He went into some pre-training and went back out again,’’ Cummings said.
“The leg hasn’t improved a whole lot so we’re giving him more time again and we’ll think about it in three months.’’