Cummings Has Godolphin Colts Poised To Bounce Back At Randwick

Godolphin trainer James Cummings has jumped onto the front foot to warn detractors of Aft Cabin that his colt is the horse to beat in Saturday’s Group 1 $1m The Agency Randwick Guineas (1600m).

Trainer James Cummings (Pic: Bradley Photos)

And forgiveness and faith are at the heart of Cummings’ case for another three-year-old in Golden Mile to stake a claim for the Group 1 $600,000 Furphy Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick.

After a dominant first-up win in the Eskimo Prince Stakes a month ago, Aft Cabin was expected to add the Hobartville to his record but could only manage fifth after a tough run on the speed.

He was an odds-on favourite to win the Randwick Guineas prior to going under second-up and while he’s still favourite, at $2.70 with TAB on Thursday, Cummings said on SEN there were genuine excuses, the colt has improved and is set to bounce back.

“I can promise you that you’ll go broke listening to the experts from the front of the public bar,’’ Cummings said.

“Yes he had a hard run last time and we were disappointed seeing him finishing out of the placings.

“When you get to this top level at set weights against three-year-olds things have got to go right for you more than they go wrong.

“We’ve got to be very bullish about the way the horse is going. We are seeing the progress of a really talented horse.”

Aft Cabin drew the outside in the Hobartville (1400m) but worked harder than expected to sit up outside the lead and was left vulnerable as Osipenko and others reeled him in.

Cummings said he will naturally need a bit of luck go James McDonald’s way from another awkward draw but the Randwick mile affords all horses a fair shot with a 600m run to the first turn.

“He had a great run in the race fresh up and he was able to win in excellent style,’’ he said.

“I see the barrier is similarly awkward in the Randwick Guineas as it was in the Hobartville but that’s all right.

“We have to deal with that and the horse has some early pace to blend into the race and put himself there. If there’s an opportunity to slot in James might think on his feet and slot in and be pleased with that.

“Either way you’d expect it to be a genuinely run mile race and it’s going to give Aft Cabin the opportunity to go to the level on his own terms.”

Group 1 winning colt Golden Mile was a beaten favourite in the Expressway Stakes (1200m) back on January 28 and didn’t set the world on fire in a barrier trial placing at Hawkesbury when he next appeared just over three weeks later.

Cummings said Golden Mile, who won the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and Group 2 Callander-Presnell in the spring, has the credentials to be competitive as the lone representative of his age group and pleased him sufficiently since an exhibition gallop last weekend.

“I think he’d gotten away on me a little bit,’’ he said.

“I backed off him having not run him in the Hobartville and he’s a bull that had done particularly well between runs.

“He only had the one run fresh up, he was always going to improve with that run and if he can just get back on track with a nice run from a decent draw it could set up the remainder of his campaign.”

The trainer pointed to Golden Mile’s second-up run from the spring back in September, prior to a close fourth in the Golden Rose, as “the case” for why the colt should be given another chance on the back of a return that certainly wasn’t seen as a failure.

“He improved vastly on a first-up placing in the Up And Coming and proceeded to bolt in with a Ming Dynasty and there were some decent horses in that Ming Dynasty,’’ he said.

“There’s a lot to like about the form of Golden Mile and as the autumn carnival has unfolded they are all still there. He’s beaten Zou Tiger comfortably, he defeated Osipenko in the Caulfield Guineas and of course we know how good the Golden Rose winner is.”

Godolphin stalwart Cascadian accompanies Golden Mile in the Canterbury Stakes and while Cummings isn’t as bullish about the eight-year-old he started both 2022 campaigns with Group 1 placings at Caulfield.

“It should be just far too short for Cascadian fresh up,’’ he said.

“But there’s a few things in his favour, his first-up run is at Randwick and not Caulfield where he’s just run out of time with the shorter straight.

“He might have the tempo against him but regardless of that he’s going to be really chasing hard to the line, looking for further later on in his prep and giving every indication he’s coming up well again.”

– Racing NSW

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