James Cummings off to winning start for Godolphin

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By Connor Bennett, Connor Bennett is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    James Cummings poses with the trophy after winning the Victorian Derby. (AAP Image/Mal Fairclough)

    James Cummings has kicked off his reign as Godolphin Australia’s head trainer with a first race win at Warwick Farm on Saturday.

    Grandson of legendary trainer Bart, Cummings took out the TAB Rewards Handicap at Warwick Farm in what was the opening jump of the day.

    Ridden by Corey Brown, it was two-year-old filly Manicure that got the job done in Race 1.

    Pacing well through the middle stages of the race, she was able to slot in nicely four back coming around the final bend and leading into the last stretch.

    Once Brown moved her out into galloping room there was no stopping her, finishing strong in the last 200 hundred metres to take half a head on Brook Magic at the post for the win and the second victory on the trot for Manicure.

    It’s a welcome result for the international stable in the midst of a tough 2017 full of hiccups and speed bumps.

    “To come here, and for Manicure to get the monkey off my back straight away was great,” said Cummings of the debut win.

    “At least I won’t have to answer the question, ‘When are you going to get your first winner for Godolphin?

    “It’s an absolute honour to train for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and for his first runner with me in his colours to be a winner is pretty special.”

    Cummings also had Ghostly running later in the day in the #TheRaces Handicap, finishing two and a half lengths behind winning ride Arbeitsam in fourth place.

    Cummings has landed the role of Godolphin’s head trainer in Australia after a tumultuous year for the mega stable that has seen much controversy.

    The power stable, owned by UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was hit in April when former Australian head trainer John O’Shea bailed on his five-year contract barely three years into the job.

    Former champion jockey Darren Beadman had been keeping the seat warm as the interim head trainer but the role has since been given permanently to the 29-year-old Cummings who has the legacy of his grandfather to live up to.

    Beadman is back in his role as assistant trainer.

    Godolphin was further pushed back in early June when their global chief executive John Ferguson stepped down following internal heat with some of Godolphin’s higher ups.

    Cummings came into the prestigious role in May, being simultaneously forced out of his roles at Leilani Lodge, the stable founded by Bart and one that his famous racing family is built around.

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