Edward Cummings is the latest Group 1-winning trainer from famous family

Trainer Edward Cummings is making a name for himself as a rising star in Sydney racing.

The famous Cummings name and a Wellington maiden don’t usually appear in the same sentence.

But you have to start somewhere and the country racetrack gave Edward Cummings his first winner as a trainer with Gin Runner two years ago.

This win meant more to Cummings and his family than most people realise. I had called Edward’s brother James, the Godolphin supremo, at the time of Gin Runner’s race when he politely asked me to wait.

James put the phone down and joined his stable staff to watch the Wellington race. The cheering in the background told the story.

“My brother has just trained his first winner,” James said with obvious pride when he returned to the interview.

Earlier this week, I relayed this story to Edward Cummings. He wasn’t surprised.

“I remember getting a phone call from James soon after that race and he was thrilled,” Edward said.

“We had not had that many runners at that point so every race counted – they still do.”

From those humble beginnings, Edwards Cummings took less than two years to become the family’s latest Group 1-winning trainer when Duais won the Queensland Oaks in June.

He is looking to continue his stable’s emergence with smart mare Amiche, the year-older half-sister to Duais in the Smithfield RSL Club Sprint (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday

Edward Cummings is following his life’s calling. His great-grandfather Jim Cummings trained champion and 1950 Melbourne Cup winner Comic Court, grandfather Bart needs no introduction, his father Anthony has been a successful Randwick trainer for 30 years and James has certainly made his mark at Godolphin.

With a lineage like this, Edward was destined to be a training success story despite the extra pressure that inevitably comes with having “Cummings” as your surname.

“The name has always been a help, there has never been a time where I felt I was marginalised because of my last name,” Edward Cummings said.

“If there is an expectation that comes with the last name then it is a challenge I need to rise to.

“You have to try and chase something because it is essentially what makes you better.”

But the decision to set up his own training business did not come easily.

Cummings procrastinated for some years on his career choice, initially joining his father in a training partnership.

“I always felt like I would train on my own but there is a huge amount of doubt about how to go about it and that does make the decision very difficult,” Cummings said.

“I thought about it a lot when I was in a partnership with Dad and when I was working for him as his foreman. When you are mucking out boxes at 3am and spending days on end in the barn you have a lot of time to think about life and where you are at.”

Cummings admitted he sought counsel from his family before deciding to take the gamble and train in his own right.

“I had conversations with Bart some years ago and he tried to provide me with the confidence I could do it on my own,” he said.

“Whether you worked for him or not, Bart was just a very big character. He knew his stuff and wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion on things but he was also mindful to stay quiet when he felt like he didn’t know enough.

“He would always pry, poke and question people about why they thought a certain way and he was always trying to instil that curiosity in us.

“But if I could be quite matter of fact about it, I could have been in partnership with Dad until he decided to hang up the binoculars or move on.

“Ultimately it was a discussion I had with Dad which ended with him telling me he thought I could train on my own as well.

“I’m thankful I had very strong characters in Bart and Dad, and James to be fair, that gave me the support I needed to make that decision.”

Cummings took another piece of advice from his late grandfather when he decided to set-up his stable base at Hawkesbury.

Bart lived out his days at nearby Princes Farm at Castlereagh and knew the benefits of the Hawkesbury region.

“I love Hawkesbury,” said Edward, who commutes each day from his Gladesville home where he and his wife, Sarah, are proud parents to Jude (two) and Courtney (10 months).

“Bart wasn’t wrong about the Hawkesbury area, he loved being out there, the proximity to the city.

“It is good for the horses. All my horses do well at Hawkesbury and Amiche is a really good example of a horse that came out of one environment into ours and really blossomed.”

Amiche’s younger sister, Duais, has been Cummings’ stable star providing the trainer with his first city win, first stakes win and first Group 1 win.

Duais had seven weeks between runs before winning the Queensland Oaks, an outstanding effort by the filly and her trainer. She then trained on during the spring and won the Group 3 Coongy Handicap.

“There has certainly been no more significant win for our stable so far than the Queensland Oaks with Duais,” Cummings said.

“At the time I didn’t think it was that big a deal (seven weeks between runs) but in the aftermath, I suppose the fact it had not been done before is something to be proud of.

“But we see it time and time again people starting resting on their laurels and developing airs and graces after a result like that.

“Duais was an amazing result for me early in my training career but I am hungrier than ever to expand on the list of our results beyond her and hopefully with a stable full of horses that can continue to improve and race well.

“So, we have tried to work as hard if not harder since then to continue sending our horses to the races whether that is maiden, at the provincials, midweek racing or Group racing and having them performing well and hopefully showing the stable in a good light.”

Duais has been a good advertisement for Cummings and has helped attract more horses to the trainer’s Hawkesbury stables.

They include Amiche, who is raced by owner-breeders Matt Irwin and Peter Harris from their very good broodmare, Meerlust, the dam of Duais and stakes winner Baccarat Baby.

“Duais has helped give our stable more exposure and interest,” Cummings said.

“We have got more horses and had to let a few go which is the natural ebb and flow of a stable anyway.

“But coming up to sales time we would love some more. You come to realise there is a PR machine you need to tap into in order to keep that interest up and going, it can be a little daunting to be honest.

“You need to be very professional, there is nowhere to hide really. We are slowly building and getting there.

“This is a character-building game, you have to keep working hard and as Bart said, you need to be patient.”


Amiche can command her chance at stakes level by winning the Smithfield RSL Club Sprint (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

“Like all horses with talent, we would love to get some black type with Amiche,” trainer Edward Cummings said.

“There are a few options for her, maybe the Canterbury Classic (January 7) pops up as a possible opportunity.

“But her owners are happy to have her racing and winning at Sydney Saturday meetings where the prizemoney is excellent.”

Amiche, which means “friends” in Italian, is the year-older half-sister to Cummings’ top mare, Group 1 winner Duais, and has inherited plenty of ability herself.

She won four of her nine starts in Queensland under trainer David Van Dyke before the decision was made to send her to Sydney to be trained by Cummings.

Amiche was an instant success for her new stable, winning her Sydney debut at Rosehill a month ago.

“We didn’t know a great deal about how David (Van Dyke, trainer) prepared her when she first came to us,” Cummings said this week.

“But she had two trials before she arrived at our stables so we had to assume she was reasonably fit then it was just a matter of getting her in the right headspace.

“She had done very well since coming to the stable and it didn’t take long for her to start to flourish.

“It was a really good performance to win first-up as Sydney Saturday races are not easy to win.

“So, it was a bit of a feather in the cap for our stable but fully understanding we would not have had that opportunity unless David had not done a very, very good job with her.”

Cummings gave Amiche 10 days to get over her Rosehill win and flirted with the idea of starting her in the Starlight Stakes last week.

“We thought about running last week with the rain around but her (fast) work on Tuesday suggested she was still short of a gallop,” Cummings said.

“But I’m really confident we have made the right decision as her work since has been very good.

“She has an impeccable record on soft and heavy tracks so any further rain is only going to help her.”

Cummings also revealed stable star Duais has returned to pre-training ahead of a Sydney autumn carnival campaign next year.

“We will let Duais tell us when she is ready to race, let her the program come to her rather than bring her to the program,” Cummings said.

“There are so many options for her.

“There is a lot to like about her prospects next year and we are looking forward to the chance of seeing how good she will be in autumn.”

Originally published as Edward Cummings is carving out his own success as he follows a family tradition

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