James Cummings is drawing on his legendary grandfather Bart Cummings’ words of wisdom as he sets out to become the fourth generation of the famous racing dynasty to win the $1.5 million Victoria Derby.
“We don’t let the sentiment get in the way of business, as my grandfather used to say.”
But as much as Cummings is focused on the job at hand with his first Derby runner in Prized Icon, it’s hard to escape the great racing family’s connection to one of the world’s oldest races.
His late grandfather shares the modern-day training honours with the late TJ Smith, with five winners each.
His great-grandfather Jim won the 1948 Derby and his father Anthony won in 2012 with Fiveandahalfstar.
Now Cummings’ chances of emulating their success rest with Prized Icon, the colt that gave the fourth generation trainer his first Group One win in his own right after the death of his training partner Bart last year.
“Prized Icon is there because we feel he can run well,” Cummings said on Wednesday.
“He’s not there to have a runner in the race or stand in the enclosure. I could have done that in the last two years.
“But until I have the horse, I don’t want to be there for the sake of it.”
The family history is always in the background, although Cummings is not one to dwell on it.
“Any race I win, virtually they have had a crack at,” Cummings said.
“When I won my first race, there’s that element. But at all times I’m just very focused on what we’re doing.”