Should everything happen for a reason Fiveandahalfstar wins the Victoria Derby. The first classic of the season at Flemington tomorrow ushers in the four day Melbourne Cup extravagana.
“A foot to the left and she is dead,” said Anthony Cummings in reference to the heritage surrounding his runner in the 2500m leg strainer – the early season three-year-old marathon – worth $1.5 million.
Cummings was talking about Cryptic Miss who is Fiveandahalfstar’s mum. The daughter of Snippets whose dam Cross Words was out of the 1982 Victoria Derby winner Grosvenor.
“The mare [Cross Words] was struck by lightning when standing in a paddock at Wakefield stud and she [Cryptic Miss] was standing alongside.
“This mare [Cryptic Miss] has to go and fly the flag for the family.”
Cummings points out a “play on words” led to Cross Words nurturing Gai Waterhouse’s Sydney Cup winner of 1994 Cross Sword.
So Fiveandahalfstar’s family includes a Victoria Derby winner, a Sydney Cup winner, and Cummings aims up at a William Inglis Classic Sale. He paid $20,000 for Fiveandahalfstar.
“I trained the mother and father,” Cummings said.
“Trained Hotel Grand [father], a sensational horse. A speed horse at a mile, won the Randwick Guineas, raced on or close to the speed in when winning the 2005 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.
“He beggared a ligament in the Rosehill Guineas and that was basically the end of his career.”
Now for Cryptic Miss.
“Mum showed a good deal of speed in all her early work, I thought she might be a sprinter,”Cummings said. “She ended up breaking her maiden over 2100m at Gosford and broke down in the process.
“She loomed up at the top of the straight, she was six lengths in front at the 200m, you had to see it to believe it, but she bowed a tendon, it was all but destruction.”
Now the horse that missed the lightning and blows a gasket when winning for the first time, is a mum Cummings cannot forget. He does know about the family. Fiveandahalfstar’s is no member of the make-up-runners team.
“The thing is he is there, in the derby on Saturday,” Cummings said.
The gelding arrives via wins at Canterbury and Rosehill. Fancied runners include the group 1 Spring Champion Stakes – remember Hotal Grand- winner He’s A Dundeel, whose trainer Murray Baker and son Bjorn, won the derby two years ago via Lion Tamer.
He’s A Dundeel was beaten by Super Cool, which is prepared by Flemington horseman, former jockey – the conundrum – Mark Kavanagh in last Saturday’s Vase at Moonee Valley.
Cummings reckons Vase form is solid while the figures out of the previous week’s Norman Robinson Stakes at Caulfield Stakes will stand up. He is referring to derby rivals Hvasstan, protest runner-up Honorious, etc.
“Mine has had a far tighter racing routine than would be accepted as normal,” Cummings said.
“The only thing that has made it possible is a good constituition. He just keeps coming back after every gallop, every race and eats up.
“It allows you to put the work into him, fitness will not be an issue. Given the way he has conducted himself at his last two runs his racing manners haven’t been an issue and they had been early in his career.”
Everything happens for a reason.
By Craig Young