Cummings hunts own Guineas footprint

Godolphin/Darley has enjoyed Guineas success as has the Cummings name - but James Cummings is looking to make his own imprint on the record books with his strong hand featuring Alizee and Kementari.

As far as Guineas hands go, they don't get much stronger than 29-year-old Cummings' on Saturday - his star three-year-olds are either atop the betting (Alizee) or a close second (Kementari) heading into the features worth a tick over $2.5 million in stakes.

James' legendary grandfather Bart Cummings won both Guineas races five times apiece, while then- Darley trainer Peter Snowden did the Guineas double for Sheikh Mohammed in 2013 with Guelph and Long John, following on from his Guineas joy with Helmet two years' prior.

There's a lot of expectation on the sturdy shoulders of Cummings Jnr with that pedigree behind him, but he's confident of his chances of adding his name to the honour roll.

Alizze and Glyn Schofield, picture

Alizee comes to Caulfield a Group 1 winner after her last-start performance in claiming the Flight Stakes, and Cummings is optimistic she can hold her form deep into her spring prep.

"She beat the best Sydney fillies that day, and she won really convincingly," Cummings said on Tuesday morning.

"It's not easy to come down here and beat the Melbourne fillies on their own home turf.

"If enough goes right for Alizee, she'll certainly run well Saturday.

"She was actually really good [on the Melbourne leg] - the work unfolded perfectly for her this morning.

"She's a strong filly, she was very wintery and big in condition when I produced her in the first three-year-old fillies' maiden in August at Warwick Farm, and she won that like a second barrier trial.

"She's sixth-up, deep into her preparation, and that doesn't really worry me - she's strong enough to cope with that, and she's travelled down well this week, so we're just delighted with her and going into a Group 1 with her off a strong preparation."

Meanwhile, Kementari is looking to take to task Royal Symphony in Saturday's $2m feature, and Cummings feels the Prelude - when the Lonhro colt finished 1.2 lengths behind Perast on October 1.

"He's really good. I had a look at him without his rug on yesterday afternoon, I thought he looked better in condition than he did heading into the Prelude," Cummings reported.

"The more I think about his last start, I think it was a perfect Guineas trial for him.

"He really grew a leg in his second start in a race over 1400m as a two-year-old, and I thought he improved significantly three weeks between runs going into the Prelude last Sunday.

"He's got to get out to the mile and run it out well, but I'd imagine most people that watched him the other day would feel he's bang on for the mile and ready to go to the next level."

And what of Hartnell, who hasn't finished outside the quinella in his past five starts but only has the P.B. Lawrence Stakes win to his name in that time?

Well, Cummings said getting him back to the 2000m trip - his last crack over the distance was his most recent runner-up finish to Winx, in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April - will see the best of him as he takes on Underwood Stakes winner Bonneval again.

"I thought he ran really well [when second to Bonneval in the Underwood]," Cummings said.

"It'd be lovely to draw a barrier, and have him where he likes to be - which is forward of where we were the other day. Unfortunately we couldn't get the position we wanted, and settled too far behind Bonneval, who loves it that way.

"I think it's pretty obvious what we're doing - we're keeping our options open and everything's on the table. His run Saturday will help tell us where he wants to go.

"But everything else aside, what we're focusing on a $1m Group 1, the Caulfield Stakes is an important race for him. And he won first-up at Caulfield back in August, and I'd like to see him win again in October."