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Cylinder takes G1 Newmarket to complete Stakes double for emotional Cummings

Dave Murray

Victory in the G1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington with smart three-year-old Cylinder on Saturday, 9 March was a huge thrill for Godolphin head trainer James Cummings on a day his stable paid homage the late Dean Holland.

Holland won the Newmarket for Cummings on In Secret last year but a month later was sadly met with a fatal accident during a race fall at Donald.

Cylinder, with Jamie Kah riding the perfect race on the lightly weighted colt, charged down the middle of the straight 1,200m course to beat New Zealand superstar Imperatriz by 1.25 lengths, with The Astrologist a neck away in third place.

The victory was the son of Exceed And Excel’s fifth at Stakes level from just 13 starts, but the colt’s first in the highest grade.

Cummings, who had earlier trained Traffic Warden to win the G2 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1,400m) with Kah aboard, was emotional after Cylinder had won to also cement his spot on the Darley stallion roster.

“The anniversary of Dean Holland’s victory for us on In Secret is pretty special,” the trainer said.

“To see those colours sail to victory in the Newmarket with Dean’s family there is very moving.

“There’s only so much you can say, but it will be very touching for his family.

Ironically, Holland gained the In Secret ride when Kah suffered a fall on Newmarket day 12 months ago.

“It’s amazing to look back on what unfolded last year,” Cummings said.

“I know that jockeys’ room is really tight in Melbourne so it will really hit home there.

“That aside, this is hugely important for Darley and a great kick-start for the autumn for my team.

“A deserving result for a champion colt, he’s been in tough races and demonstrated his toughness.

“He’s bounced back from unplaced runs to win well and showed he can still get it done.

“At this G1 level not much can go wrong, but Jamie Kah got it spot-on.

“To my eye he had the race won a long way out.

“You never know when you have horses like Imperatriz and Buenos Noches in the field, but he put them to the sword.”

Kah fought back tears after the Newmarket, remembering Holland for the fantastic rider and person he was.

“I thought I was a tough person but I’m not today,” she said.

“Even the last race (Traffic Warden) was massive for me, to get through that and have it behind me.

“This is for Dean Holland.

“Today has been amazing, and for Godolphin, they have always supported me.”

Kah said Cylinder had always travelled like the winner out wide with cover, before she gave the colt full throttle at the 350m mark.

“That was exactly where I wanted to be in the race, I wanted to be positive but have the cover if I could, and I wanted to be behind The Astrologist,” she said.

“He took me exactly where I wanted to be and when I pushed the button he was just electric.”

Godolphin Australia bloodstock manager Jason Walsh took delight in Cylinder’s victory after inspecting a crop of now-retired Exceed And Excel’s progeny in recent weeks.

And he was also thrilled to witness Street Boss juvenile Traffic Warden beat Rue De Royale by 1.75 lengths with Bosustow another length away in third place in the Sires’.

“He’s shown us he’s been a high-class colt all along,” Walsh said.

“Up in trip there (1,400m), he showed us he’s really effective.

“He’s a nice horse in the making and he got the chance to show everyone that today.”

The win was the first at Stakes level for Traffic Warden and his second from just five starts.

Walsh and Cummings are yet to decide if the colt will return to Sydney to tackle the G1 Golden Slipper (1,200m) at Rosehill on 23 March or contest the G1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1,400m) at Randwick on 6 April.

“It was always a possibility (Slipper), if he did run well today,” Walsh said.

“But we certainly have an expectation, if he can hold it together, he might be here for the G1 feature over the same trip as today.

“One of the comments the training team has made all along is he was still learning his craft.

“That’s another string to his bow today, to do it that way gives us the impression he’s very progressive.

“That racecourse experience will stand him in good stead for a big day, we hope.”