Tom Kitten a class above in G1 Spring Champion Stakes
Imposing colt Tom Kitten finally enjoyed some luck in running, rewarding Godolphin and head trainer James Cummings with a brilliant victory in the G1 Spring Champion Stakes (2,000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
After luckless placings in the G3 Ming Dynasty Stakes, Listed Dulcify Stakes and G3 Gloaming Stakes in the lead-up to Saturday, Tom Kitten was beautifully handled by Adam Hyeronimus and never looked in danger.
The three-year-old son of Harry Angel (IRE) exploded to the lead at the 200m pole and raced clear to beat Cape Ferrat by a widening 3.7 lengths.
Ganbare held on for third, just under a length further back, as the winner clocked a sizzling 2 minutes 1.28 seconds to finish less than a second outside the track record.
“The horse’s misfortune has been immeasurable the past three starts, so it’s fantastic he was able to get himself into the clear in the best race of his prep and he was able to show just how good he is,” a relieved Cummings said.
“He’s just kept improving, training so solidly at Osborne Park.
“He’s proved to be one of the best middle-distance horses in the country today and his nomination for the Cox Plate wouldn’t have been out of place.
“If we can keep getting him better and better, in 12 months’ time he might be racing on the same day down in Melbourne.”
Tom Kitten gave Cummings his 39th G1 winner since joining Godolphin in 2017 as Cummings joined his grandfather, Bart, and father, Anthony, as a Spring Champion Stakes-winning trainers.
For Hyeronimus, who was out or the saddle for 12 months and at one stage doubted if he’d return, the win was his first G1 in the royal blue colours of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.
“Unbelievable. Gee he’s some horse,” the comeback jockey said.
“He’s a gentle giant, but he’s got so much ability.
“I don’t think they’ve got to the bottom of him, I think he’ll be better next preparation.”
Cummings hinted Tom Kitten’s preparation may not be over, with the G1 VRC Derby (2,500m) at Flemington next Saturday a possible final target.
“It’s worth thinking about, he’s a very interesting horse,” Cummings said.
“He’s from a quick family but he’s in-bred to Machiavellian (USA), the sire of Street Cry (IRE).
“The horse has a classic style about him and he looks like he will eat up 2,500m and the VRC Derby is a time-honoured race.
“It’s certainly worthwhile thinking about, but whatever we do will revolve around how good Tom Kitten is and that’s the bottom line.”
Cummings was also delighted Tom Kitten had provided young Darley shuttle sire Harry Angel with his first G1 winner.
“In his first crop to get a horse this good makes a big difference,” he said.
“For a long time he was in a ding-dong battle with young sires like Trapeze Artist and Justify.
“These young sires are getting good horses and it’s a shifting landscape for the years ahead.
“But Tom Kitten was the best horse in this race today by a comfortable margin.”