James Cummings celebrates magical milestone for Dubai's Godolphin

Cummings won his 1,000th race as Godolphin trainer on Sunday

By Leslie Wilson Jr

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James Cummings continued his prolific run for Godolphin when he achieved the coveted mark of 1,000 career winners at Victoria, Australia, on Sunday. (Godolphin website)
James Cummings continued his prolific run for Godolphin when he achieved the coveted mark of 1,000 career winners at Victoria, Australia, on Sunday. (Godolphin website)

Published: Mon 26 Sep 2022, 10:06 PM

Godolphin handler James Cummings is not one to hang around waiting for things to happen. He takes matters into his own hands and makes them happen.

As a result, he needed just five years to post a landmark 1,000 career winners for the Dubai-owned stable, with the milestone win coming on Sunday at Sandown-Hillside racecourse in Victoria on the Melbourne Racing Club's Underwood Stakes Day.

The horse that brought up the magical figure was Picarones who romped home a comfortable winner of the opening race under premier Victorian jockey Jamie Kah.

Amassing a staggering 1,000 winners in such a short span is a huge accomplishment and which he will doubtless be proud of for years.

It does not seem so long ago since James, the grandson of the late and legendary Bart Cummings, was celebrating the first success for Godolphin when Manicure emerged as a Stakes race winner at Warwick Farm in Sydney.

He also secured his first Group One winner just three months later, when Alizee landed the Flight Stakes at Royal Randwick in September 2017.

Since then, James has gone on to rack up several Group 1 winners including the first two homes in the 2019 Group 1 Golden Slipper, the world’s richest juvenile race, with Kiamich and Microphone.

James was appointed as Godolphin's head trainer in Australia in May 2017, after serving almost a decade as an understudy to his grandfather at the Sydney-based Leilani Lodge at Ranwick.

He is a fourth-generation racehorse trainer, following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather Jim, grandfather Bart and father Anthony.

James started out in the sport as a stable hand for his father when he was just 13 and gradually made his way up the ladder by dint of commitment and hard work.

His first important milestone came in 2009 when he was appointed foreman at Leilani Lodge under Bart Cummings before he was granted a New South Wales Metropolitan Trainer’s license in 2013.

After Bart’s death, James continued to train at Leilani Lodge as he attempted to build on his grandfather’s extraordinary legacy.

And by the looks of things, he’s giving it a good shot.

Meanwhile, James’s Godolphin counterpart Charlie Appleby was also celebrating a significant European success when Rebel’s Romance secured a second Group 1 victory in Germany over the weekend, this time beating highly regarded three-year-old Sammarco in the Preis von Europa.

That success could have earned the former UAE Derby hero a trip to the United States for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland in November.

Rebel’s Romance contested last year’s Belmont Stakes but was a late scratching for the Triple Crown race which was won by Godolphin's US-based star, Essential Quality.

Godolphin’s European squad for the Breeders’ Cup is starting to look solid, with Modern Games and Mysterious Night both stamping their tickets to the big meeting, with G1 wins in Canada.

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