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James Cummings hoping Exhilarates has Magic touch


Published by Ray Thomas, 9th Novermber 2018 on

TRAINER James Cummings is hoping to produce a Magic Millions contender when Exhilarates makes her debut in the Girls Day Out Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Exhilarates and Kiamichi debut in the juvenile opener, although Cummings has the latter entered for a race at Newcastle, too. But early betting suggests Exhilarates is the one to beat with TAB Fixed Odds rating her the $2 favourite ahead of unbeaten Adelaide colt Sebrakate at $2.90 while Kiamichi is at $4.80.

Exhilarates, a beautifully bred filly super sire Snitzel out of Group 1 winner Samaready, was purchased by Godolphin for $600,000 at the Magic Millions Yearling Sales earlier this year.

Godolphin had not purchased at the Magic Millions Sales for nearly a decade so there entry into the market at that sale and the purchase of this filly among seven other yearlings is significant.

“If Exhilarates was up to winning over 1200m first-up then the Magic Millions (Classic) in January is on the radar,’’ Cummings said. “Exhilarates is potentially a nice filly and both she and Kiamichi trialled well and there is improvement in them.’’

Cummings has given both fillies just the one barrier trial to ready them for their race debuts with Exhilarates finishing a close second in her 745m Randwick heat that was run in slightly faster time than Kiamichi, who also finished second in her trial the same day.

If either Exhilarates or Kiamichi can take the two-year-old race to open the Rosehill meeting, it could set up a winning day for the Cummings stable.

The trainer will be at Flemington where he has a huge team entered including Group 1 runners Kementari in the $1 million VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) and It’s Somewhat in the $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) but he will be keeping a close eye on the Rosehill results.

Cummings’s Rosehill runners include last-start winners Singing Sand in the Membership Handicap (1400m) and Coruscate in the Agency Real Estate Handicap (1300m).

Singing Sand is coming out of a good first-up win at the Warwick Farm midweeks and is rated at $7 in overnight betting where topweight Royal Celebration is hot favourite at $1.95.

“She (Singing Sand) won nicely first-up but she needs to keep improving,’’ he said. “She has been working well and could make it interesting.’’

Coruscate has won three of his four starts this campaign but is racing beyond 1200m for the first time in his career. “I thought Coruscate was really strong late last start at Randwick and I don’t think the 1300m is going to be a problem for him,’’ Cummings said.

The trainer also has Gaulois resuming against Coruscate and Cummings said he expects that horse to sprint well fresh. Regimen is the Cummings-trained runner with the mare lining up in the Rosehill Bowling Cup After Party Sprint (1100m).

“She just needed the run last start when she was resuming, she knocked up the last 75m,’’ Cummings said. “She is more forward now and we are expecting a good run from her.’’

Cummings did have Wagner, Revenire and Beacon entered for the Rosehill meeting but the trio will race at Flemington.

“Wagner was already in Melbourne,’’ he said. “We accepted for Rosehill as we wanted to see how the (Springtime Stakes) field came up at Flemington. He gets some weight relief (today), he’s a competitive chance, and he could be a better horse on this track.’’

Kementari primed for Classic finish

KEMENTARI might finally surf the all-powerful Godolphin stable’s winning wave at Flemington today.

Godolphin’s famous royal blue colours has been the dominant force in Melbourne this spring carnival snaring five Group 1 wins.

Trainers Charlie Appleby prepared Cross Counter to win the Melbourne Cup and Jungle Cat took the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, Saeed Bin Suroor had major race success with Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup and Benbatl in the Caulfield Stakes and James Cummings masterminded the win of Best Of Days in the Kennedy Mile.

However, Cummings has been left frustrated by brilliant four-year-old Kementari’s series of near misses in major races this spring. But the trainer said “all will be forgiven” if Kementari can win Saturday’s Group 1 $1 million VRC Sprint Classic (1200m).

“Kementari is an excitement machine and we really want to win a Group 1 with him because he is flying,’’ Cummings said. “He has run against all the best weight-for-age horses this preparation, he has been to every ‘big dance’, and he’s performed well each time.

“With any sort of luck, he would have won a couple of races this spring already. This will be a big test for him as he is up against the likes of Redzel, Pierata and Brave Smash but we are looking forward to the race because we can’t have Kementari going any better.’’

Kementari is at $6.50 with TAB Fixed Odds behind $5 favourite Redzel and Pierata ($5.50) for a star-studded VRC Sprint Classic.

The Godolphin sprinter is coming off a luckless last-start third to Brave Smash in the Manikato Stakes and is having his first start down the Flemington straight.

“My jockey (Glyn Schofield) says the straight track is no problem,’’ Cummings said. “I’d like to think this will be Kementari’s best performance of his preparation.’’

Godolphin is a real chance of winning both Group 1 races on the final day of the Flemington spring carnival with Cummings saddling up It’s Somewhat ($18) against the Appleby-trained $2.20 favourite Blair House in the $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).

“It’s Somewhat is not without an outside hope,’’ ­Cummings said.

“He ran well in this race last year but he would need to improve on his recent form.’’

Appleby, still on a high after his Melbourne Cup win with Cross Counter, said Blair House has continued to do well since his close second to Benbatl in the Caulfield Stakes.

“Blair House came out of that last run well and we purposefully skipped the Cox Plate because we thought we couldn’t reverse the form with Benbatl let alone Winx,’’ ­Appleby said.

“So we gave that a swerve and thought we could go into the Mackinnon with some fresh legs.

“We are very confident. We’ve seen him work there (yesterday) morning and he had a little blowout. I feel they have got us to beat.’’

Appleby is also priming Jungle Cat to take on Kementari in the VRC Sprint Classic today.

“This is his swan song,” Appleby said of Jungle Cat.

“Obviously the highlight of his career was the Alquoz (Sprint in Dubai) and for him to come over here and win the Rupert Clarke (Stakes) was a great achievement for him.

“He’s getting a bit older now, it’ll be tough for him but there’s one thing about him — he won’t lie down.”

Originally published as Millions of reasons to like Exhilarates


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