|Hallowed Crown, left, beats home Shooting To Win and Sweynesse in the Hobartville Stakes. The rivals go at it again in this Saturday's mouth-watering Randwick Guineas. |
Picture: Simon Bullard. Courtesy of The Daily Telegraph.
James Cummings believes his gun three-year-old colt, Hallowed Crown, faces a “watershed moment” on his journey in this Saturday’s Randwick Guineas. After overcoming what Cummings believed was “one of the strongest Hobartville fields in the last five or six years” two weeks ago in a thrilling finish with Kermadec, Sweynesse and Shooting To Win, Hallowed Crown now faces another tough test over the 1600m in the feature race on the second race day of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.Trainers John O’Shea and Paul Snowden, whose horses’ Sweynesse and Shooting To Win ran in the minors behind Hallowed Crown last time they met, were both dubious of Hallowed Crown’s ability to win the Hobartville if the colt had to have gone around a pack.
Unsurprised, Cumming’s backed the inevitable record of his horse which currently stands at 5 wins from 6 starts, with four of those in group races, to rebuff any doubters.
“I think any trainer of any three-year-old colt in the country would be pretty happy with a record like that,” he said.
“His the one that’s got it, he’s the one that’s been able to find a way to win, and now he’s going to be the marked horse in the Randwick Guineas.”The Group One set-weights race for three-year-olds is shaping up as an absolute bellringer. Rivals Shooting To Win and Sweynesse are set to get another crack at Hallowed Crown in the seven-runner field after Kermadec was scratched on Wednesday to run in the Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
Ensuring the focus is kept on Saturday’s race, which he specified would be an “extremely hard race to win” with a field full of stars, Cumming’s was coy on what lies ahead for the Gooree Stud, and now Sheik Mohammed owned colt.Asked where Hallowed Crown would head to after the Guineas, Cumming’s indicated that while the “Doncaster has been his aim all along this preparation,” Hallowed Crown would have to “step up and prove himself at the elite level over a mile” before deciding on a path to lead into the Doncaster.
Hallowed Crown has been a family affair for the 27-year-old Cummings, who leads a co-training partnership with his all-time Group One record-holding Grandfather, Bart, as his grandfather-in-law and Gooree Stud owner, Eduardo Cojuangco owns the prized colt. The Hobartville Stakes also doubled as James’ first win for Sheikh Mohammed, who bought into the horse after its win in the Group One Golden Rose last August.
Having such high profile owners would usually bring a shoulder-dropping amount pressure to any trainer in racing, but Cummings said he was comfortable training for two of the biggest racing identities in the world.
On Cojuangco, Cummings said, “He’s great to train for, he lets me do my thing.
“He has a love of horses and in many ways his philosophies are in line with mine.”While having Cojuangco as a grandfather-in-law might ease the pressure, you’d think training for the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates would be an entirely different story, but Cummings made light of the interesting situation.
“If anything being a 27-year-old trainer with a Group One horse on your hands for Sheikh Mohammed would put a little bit more pressure on me because I can’t sit down and have a family lunch with him.”
“But my first winner for the Sheikh was the Group Two Hobartville, and that’s a pretty big thrill for a trainer in general let alone someone still wet behind the ears.”
Cummings once again has master-jockey Hugh Bowman on board for the Guineas and the tenacious jockey will have to work to his magic to hold out the strong field itching-at-the-bit for another crack at Hallowed Crown.
The colt will start equal favourite in the Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas, which is race six on the nine race program. The race is set down to start at 3:30pm AEDT and can be seen live on Channel 7’s coverage of the Autumn Carnival on 7Two.
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