James Cummings was overcome with raw emotion after training his first winner under his own name at Canterbury on Wednesday when Nazir saluted in the TAB Rewards Benchmark 68 Handicap (1580m).
Bart Cummings, grandfather to James Cummings, passed away early on Sunday morning.
Bart and James Cummings had trained in partnership since 2013.
Jockey Tim Clark rode the perfect race aboard the four-year-old son of Mastercraftsman, settling back on the rails before saving ground approaching the turn.
Working across heels at the 250-metre mark, Clark urged Nazir ($8.50) to the lead and held off a late charge by Chris Waller’s race favourite Vanbrugh ($2.60), scoring by a half-length. The Marc Conners-trained Letchworth ($17) boxed on gamely for third, beaten a long head.
“It’s special to be a part of it,” Clark said. “It just goes to show how good a trainer James is.
“To get a horse ready first-up at 1580-metres.
“I’m sure there will be plenty more winners to come.”
Only 75 minutes later, James Cummings made it a winning double when the aptly named The Special Two ($9) took out the TAB Place Multi Benchmark 70 F&M Handicap (1200m).
Settling midfield for Tye Angland, the five-year-old started her run four wide approaching the turn and proved too strong in the sprint home, prevailing by one length from the John O’Shea-trained Pearls ($3.40 fav) with John Thompson’s Kind Heart ($7.50) a further three-quarters-of-a-length away in third.
The experience James Cummings received under the tutelage of Bart is sure to hold him in good stead in the years and decades to come.
An intelligent young man with a strong work ethic, few in the industry can envisage anything but success for the likeable grandson of Australia’s greatest ever horse trainer.