Historic Australian Cup goes to Cummings with Duais
The TAB Australian Cup celebrated its 160th running in 2022 and it was only fitting that the most successful family in the race's history were once again victorious in the $1.5 million contest on Saturday.
Bart Cummings won the 2000m feature with some of the greats of the turf, including Leilani, Ming Dynasty, Hyperno, Let's Elope and Saintly, and a new chapter in the Cummings' family's storied association with Flemington was written as Bart's grandson Edward prepared Duais to take this year's TAB Australian Cup.
It was Edward Cummings' first Group 1 winner at headquarters as the Josh Parr-ridden mare raced away for a comfortable two-length victory over fellow NSW raider Think It Over. Lexus Melbourne Cup third Spanish Mission filled the same position today.
“He set the benchmark and now we’ve got to do our best to catch him," an emotional Edward Cummings said after Duais scored her second Group 1 win, following her victory in the Queensland Oaks last year. “We always wanted to be here. It was always part of the plan.
“We knew that we had done something similar last preparation. Naturally we were disappointed that the grand final didn’t work out how we liked but we felt getting here to Flemington would suit her down to the ground, 2000m third-up."
Ridden by Josh Parr, Duais settled near the rear as Spanish Mission set a decent tempo in front. And, as they turned for home, it appeared that Spanish Mission would accomplish what his one-time stablemate Incentivise had achieved in races like the Makybe Diva Stakes and the Turnbull Stakes.
However, Parr unleashed Duais down the centre of the track and the mare quickly set after the leader. A testament to her dominance was that she didn't hit the lead until the 75m mark and yet drew right away to score comfortably.
“I’m elated. I must say. I’m struggling for words which isn’t too common with me," Parr said. “What a thrill to ride a Group 1 winner at Flemington. From near the back of the field, the Australian Cup, I’m over the moon.
“I was full of confidence. With a pinch of luck we would have won the Chipping Norton. That was evident with her final furlong. It was very strong.
“I was confident when I saw her here today. Edward assured me that she was in great shape and she certainly was."