James Cummings, the grandson of the late Bart Cummings who passed away on Sunday, won his first race under his own name on Wednesday when Nazir (Mastercraftsman) under Tim Clark went to the line well to claim the $40,000, TAB Rewards Bm 68 Handicap (1580m) at Canterbury.
Last week Nazir was trained by the Bart and James Cummings partnership. With the family and industry waiting to farewell Bart at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on Monday it was fitting that James carried on the legacy of his grandfather of turning out winners from Leilani Lodge at Randwick which Bart first occupied in 1975.
The win was also fitting that Nazir carried the yellow sleeves and black and white chess board pattern silks of Bart’s long time stable supporter and the owner of many of his famous runners Dato Tan Chin Nam. There to watch the win was Dato Tan Chin Nam’s Australian Bloodstock Manager and adviser Duncan Ramage who bought many of the yearlings for the owner and trainer partnership.
Nazir is a half-brother to Noirzita (Thorn Park), the winner of the 2012 Flight Stakes for Dato Tan Chin Nam, and one of Bart’s 268 Group 1 winners. The four-year-old Mastercraftsman gelding is co-owned by Tunku Ahmad Yahaya who also raced So You Think (High Chaparral) with Dato Tan Chin Nam.
Clark waited patiently in the race on Nazir (57.5kg) keeping to the rail at the rear of the field before quickly improving on the turn for the main straight.
He then brought Nazir out three wide and asked Nazir to step up over the concluding sectional which he did with a convincing turn of foot that had them a half-length in front at the line.
At the line Clark reached out to give Nazir a well-deserved pat on the neck.
Vanbrugh (Encosta de Lago) (56.5kg) was second with a long head to Letchworth (King Cugat) (58.5kg).
“I could see what that means to James coming back and it is special to be part of it. I have worked closely with James for the last couple of years and it means a lot to be able to get his first winner,” said Clark.
“It just goes to show preparing horses first-up for 1580m is a great effort in itself and I am sure there will be plenty more to come.
“He obviously showed a bit last prep. We spoke before the race that most of the field were going to a question mark at the trip so we knew he was going to be strong to the line. First-up he had shown in the past that he was a good 10 furlong horse (2000m) so he was always going to be strong late and that really came through,” he said
This was the second win for Nazir, out of the Quest For Fame mare Visique, from five starts and this was a an excellent start to his 2015 spring campaign.