James Cummings collected his first Group 1 win as a standalone trainer with Prized Icon scoring a tough win in the Group 1 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick today.
Cummings had tasted Group 1 success when training in partnership with his famous grandfather Bart Cummings but today’s win was a special occasion for the young trainer.
Prized Icon was a winner over the 1600m at Randwick last week in the Listed $150,000 TFE Hotels Fernhill Handicap and Cummings had originally planned to send him to the paddock.
But when the Australian Turf Club called for extra nominations for the Champagne Stakes, Cummings had second thoughts and decided to back up the More Than Ready colt this week.
“The horse was just about on the float to Mudgee on Tuesday morning and I just thought about it and looked at him and thought he looks too well, put him on the float to the beach,” Cummings said.
“He was going to Botany and he had a great week. Had barely done anything with him, plenty of long slow work. He loved it and rewarded us.
“It was great to get that Group 1 win for Gooree and another Group 1 winner for More Than Ready, what a stallion.
“What a tough horse. He has raced right the way through, he has fought every fight and now his first attempt at Group 1 he’s got up and he has got it done.”
Winning jockey Glyn Schofield had Prized Icon ($4 favourite) travelling like a winner behind the tearaway leader El Sicario ($7.50) and then fought hard in the straight to hold off the challenge off the runner up Chimboraa ($9) to win by one lengths with Divine Prophet ($10) a close up third.
Kiwi gelding El Sicario compounded in the straight to finish ninth, sixteen lengths from the winner.