Leading Sydney trainer Anthony Cummings has the opportunity to win the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) for the first time when Wordplay contests the event at Caulfield this afternoon.
While Cummings’ famous father Bart Cummings is one of the most successful trainer in the history of the Thousand Guineas, winning the race on four occasions, Anthony has failed to replicate that success; with Party Hard (15th in 2010), Plastic Fantastic (16th in 2010), Sister Madly (10th in 2009) and Doubting (10th in 2005) all finishing towards the tail of the field in the $500,000 race.
Wordplay is rated a genuine chance to finish in the placings but is not expected to upset champion filly Guelph who heads into the Thousand Guineas after recording back-to-back wins in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m).
Cummings admits that Guelph will be very difficult beat but is holding out hope that the tricky Caulfield track will be the undoing of the daughter of Exceed And Excel.
“If she runs her best race she will probably beat us but the thing is her worst race ever was at Caulfield so it is back to the scene of the crime,” Cummings told AAP.
Wordplay will be making her racing debut at Caulfield but has plenty of experience over a mile, finishing second in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle and fifth in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1610m) at Flemington, and Cummings expects the Fastnet Rock filly to continue to improve as she rises in distance.
“She may not be in Guelph’s class but just the same, she is probably better over a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half,” Cummings said.
“That’s where she is headed and this is a nice stepping stone to that.”
Cummings admitted that his original plan was to run Wordplay in the Listed Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday but was convinced by leading jockey Damien Oliver, who has won the Thousand Guineas on five occasions, to tackle today’s Group 1 event.
“I’m happy to go with that and I’m just hoping she can get into a nice place,” Cummings said.
Guelph ($1.35) remains the clear favourite in Thousand Guineas betting markets from May’s Dream ($9), Gregers ($12), Bound For Earth ($14), Se Sauver ($17) and Wordplay ($21).