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Kitten purring as Cummings follows proven autumn formula

3 minute read

It's not Tom Kitten’s grand final at Rosehill on Saturday but Godolphin trainer James Cummings says the Group 1 winner will make his presence felt on the way to the autumn majors.

TOM KITTEN.
TOM KITTEN. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

On the back of an eye-catching final 200m or so of the Eskimo Prince, over the unsuitable 1200m, two weeks ago the exciting colt holds sway at the top of the market for the Group 2 $400,000 Precise Air Hobartville Stakes (1400m).

Both of Cummimgs' previous Hobartville winners, Anamoe in 2022 and Kementari in 2018, won the race second-up off a 1200m run so it's a proven formula for a star Godolphin three-year-old.

"Certainly, I think he's a winning chance here,'' James Cummings said.

"Provided he doesn't have too much to do, cluttered up behind runners at the top of the straight from a winning perspective.

"He was excellent first-up from a spell, the race was run as a sit-and-sprint which was not going to suit Tom Kitten and they did leave him flat-footed when they sprinted away at the 600m mark.

"The effort from the horse to motor home in the equal-fastest last 200m was encouraging."

As Cummings mentioned, Tom Kitten produced a slick closing sectional of 11.36 (Punter's Intelligence) and second-up he doesn't have to give away weight as he did in the Eskimo Prince where he lumped the 60kg.

Tom Kitten, $3.30 with TAB on Friday, is second favourite behind Militarize in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in two weeks and equal favourite with VRC Derby winner Riff Rocket in early Group 1 Australian Derby TAB markets.

"The step up to seven furlongs is nicely in his hitting zone and back to set weights means these horses don't get weight advantage over Tom Kitten,'' Cummings said.

"He's going to keep improving as we step him up over more ground and I suspect he'll be crying out for 1600m once we get through this weekend.

"But it's an excellent race for him on the way through and it would be great for him to win this, perhaps in the style that he was able to win the Up And Coming fresh-up last campaign."

Cylinder was able to win the Group 2 $300,000 TAB Silver Slipper (1100m) for Cummings a year ago and Godolphin send an emerging filly in Celerity to attempt to bring an end of a five year winning streak by the colts.

Cummings hasn't given up on Celerity being a leftfield Golden Slipper hopeful, naturally she'll need to make a statement on Saturday, given she showed so much promise running fourth on debut in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1000m).

Celerity was due to debut in the Widden Stakes but was scratched at the barriers before she stepped out a week later at Randwick and it's fair to say things didn't go to plan.

"It's a big ask, but we are delighted with the way the horse has come on since her first-up run," he said.

"She was only beaten 1.4 lengths and the stewards' report said she missed the kick by two.

"It was a big effort and her finishing sectionals were excellent, particularly the sectionals she ran from the 600m to the furlong."

The Exceed And Excel filly is a $51 chance in TAB Golden Slipper betting, the last filly to win the Silver Slipper was Sunlight back in 2017.

"Celerity could burst on to the scene as a late player," Cummings said.

"She gets her opportunity here second-up and up to 1100m at set weights at Rosehill.

"James (McDonald) has got a lot of time for the horse, and she's a lovely filly. Whether or not it all comes too soon, time will tell."


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