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Cummings’ masterstroke with Cascadian. Handsome chestnut back to Sydney in Stakes-winning style with first victory at 2,000m

Dave Murray

Godolphin head trainer James Cummings pulled off a masterstroke at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 1 October when he brought Cascadian back to Sydney in triumph after two runs in Melbourne.

Third and fourth in two G1 races at Caulfield and Flemington since a spell, Cascadian returned in style to win the G2 Hill Stakes - the eight-year-old’s fifth Stakes win and a victory that boosted his prize-money swag to a massive $5,159,575.

Patiently ridden by premier Sydney jockey James McDonald, Cascadian angled between runners at the 300m mark before sprinting home too fast for placegetters Numerian and Montefilia on the heavy track.

Although regarded as specialist miler, Cascadian scored running away by 3.25 lengths to post his first victory over 2,000m.

The dual G1 winner has now won nine times and been placed on 12 occasions from 41 starts.

With Cummings at Flemington in Melbourne, assistant trainer and Hall of Fame jockey Darren Beadman put the last-minute polish on Cascadian.

Beadman said McDonald navigated the perfect race.

“James rode him to get the 2,000m, he didn’t panic, had a lot of horse coming to the corner and had the right horse to drag him into the race,” Beadman said.

“He got back on to the nicer ground in the straight and it was a good, solid performance from a very good galloper."

“He was supposed to trial the other day but didn’t, he came here a fresh horse.”

By a former English Derby winner in New Approach, Cascadian is likely to drop back in distance next start as Cummings targets the G3 Craven Plate over 1,800m at Randwick on 15 October. 

McDonald was full of admiration for Cascadian and the way he was presented.

“Godolphin just turn them out on another level where they can be competitive in any race,” he said.

“The 2,000m is probably his (Cascadian’s) limit, he just allows himself to run the distance because he’s so honest."

“He’s not an Anamoe or a Zaaki but he would keep them honest.”

Earlier, Godolphin started the day in great fashion at Flemington when debutant Zulfiqar (Ben Melham) won the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes.

The Exceed And Excel colt backed up some nice trials in Sydney to lead all the way to beat Exceed And Excel filly Aditi and Charm Stone, running a slick 57.9 seconds down the straight 1,000m course.

Zulfiqar was Exceed And Excel’s 555th juvenile winner and the champion Australian stallion’s 203rd Stakes winner worldwide.