Wed, Jul 26, 1:38pm by Senior Writer
Godolphin are hoping to put a troubled 2016-17 racing season in Australia behind them as new head trainer James Cummings spearheads an attack on Australia’s biggest races in his first full season in charge.
Cummings, the grandson and former training partner of Australia’s greatest trainer Bart Cummings, officially took control of Godolphin’s Australian operation at the start of July after John O’Shea’s shock decision to walk away from the high-profile job.
The pressure of the position became too much for O’Shea, who trained 173 winners, including four Group 1 winners for Godolphin for the racing season before departing in May.
Former champion jockey Darren Beadman took interim control until Cummings was available and oversaw another 36 wins, including Impending’s G1 win in the Stradbroke Handicap.
That made it five Group 1s in total for the season and Sportsbet are offering $5 for Cummings to match or exceed that amount in his first full season in charge.
To put that in context, Cummings has had four Group 1 wins in his entire career before now, including two in partnership with his grandfather.
Godolphin’s five Group 1s last season were the most since O’Shea took charge in May 2014, while in 2013-14, the stable, then under the banner of Darley, won five Group 1s. Their most is seven Group 1s under Snowden back in 2010/11.
Cummings will hope to move on quickly from the roubles of the last 12 months, with the stable losing their main jockey, James McDonald, to a lengthy ban after it was revealed he profited from a bet on one of their horses in a race in December 2015.
Then came the O’Shea announcement which followed rumours of discord between their training and racing arms.
And troubles have continued to dog Godolphin even since Cummings took charge with a Racing NSW stewards investigation into a possible cover up of a strangles outbreak while O’Shea was in charge.
It has been alleged there may have been a cover up of the serious equine illness and subsequently, the main in charge of their entire Australian operation, Henry Plumptre, has resigned.
Godolphin’s problems are far from confined to Australia with Plumptre’s global equivalent John Ferguson forced to resign after he was heavily criticised by long time trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.
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