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Hawkesbury trainer Edward Cummings was confident Aureus Angel could win first-up at Kembla Grange today – and she didn’t let him down.
The lightly-raced mare turned in a brilliant performance to land the Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1000m) at only her fourth start, and first since late November.
Well supported to start at $5, Aureus Angel overcame a wide barrier to overpower $3 favorite Soobooco, who was also resuming.
"Aureus Angel has been in work for three months, and had two nice trials," Cummings said this evening.
"I was pretty confident she could win first-up."
As a result, Cummings began the new season by winning with his first runner after ending the previous season also on a successful note, scoring with his last starter (Flyway) at Goulburn last Friday.
After branching out on his own at Hawkesbury after co-training with his father Anthony at Royal Randwick, Cummings' third full season of training was easily his best with 18 winners and prizemoney earnings of $2.63m, highlighted by Duais winning two Group 1s (the Australian Cup at Flemington and Tancred Stakes at Newcastle).
Whilst five-year-old mare Aureus Angel scored on a "Soft 5" today, Cummings, like many trainers, is keen for the tracks to continue drying out.
"She definitely doesn't want any worse ground," he said.
"We'll look for another suitable race for her in the coming weeks."
There was a good family connection to the mare's Kembla Grange performance.
Cummings' father prepared both Aureus Angel's sire Turffontein (who won five races, including both the Group 1 2009 Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield and 2010 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley), and her dam Miss Marriott, who raced only seven times for four placings.
Aureus Angel is the second foal of the Sebring mare, who sadly died in April this year.
. Whilst Tim Clark partnered Aureus Angel today, his brother-in-law Josh Parr will team with Cummings in the morning when triple Group 1 winner Duais contests a 1000m Group trial on the Warwick Farm course proper.
The ruling Caulfield Cup favorite and joint Melbourne Cup favorite will then resume in the Group 1 $750,000 wfa Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 20.
"She has already had a jumpout when Josh also rode her, and will be right to go to the Winx in a fortnight," Cummings said.