Cummings gets his Group I in blue

Tom Walter - Saturday September 30

Less than three months into the new job, James Cummings has his first Group I winner as head trainer for Godolphin courtesy of a textbook ride by Glyn Schofield on Alizee in the Group I Flight Stakes (1600m).

Alizee dominates in the Group I Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick. Photo: Steve Hart

A last start winner of the main Flight Stakes lead-up - the Group II Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick a fortnight ago - Alizee ($2.90 fav) was a popular pick in betting markets and duly delivered but not without the guile and experience of Schofield.

Starting from barrier 10 in a field 11, Schofield immediately snagged Alizee back to last on the fence before slicing his way through the field entering the home straight and peeling off the back of the eventual third placegetter Cellargirl ($10).

Once Schofield obtained clear running at the 250m mark, the race was as good as over. 

The daughter of Sepoy swept past her rivals en route to a comfortable 2-1/4-length win. Bjorn Baker's Champagne Cuddles ($3.80) ran another courageous second backing-up for the third consecutive week and finished 2-1/4 lengths clear of Cellargirl for Kelly Schweida.

"This filly has just given me so much confidence, especially from her last start win. She's got a turn of speed second to none at the end of her race," Schofield said.

"Hard pressed to suggest she won't get further, she was really electric coming from the back of the field, I'm pretty happy she's won over a mile."

At the relatively young age of 29, Cummings' appointment at Godolphin raised a few eyebrows in the industry but the transition has been seamless for both parties.

The former Randwick-based trainer now has a Group I scalp from just his second starter at the top level, and is preparing winners at an overall strike rate of 23 percent since August 1.

"It's so important. It's the pinnacle of racing and its why Sheik Mohammed has such a great passion for his horses," Cummings said.

"It's great for the whole team – you can't imagine the kick along it gives everyone from the bottom to the top it has been a big team effort for this filly.

"She went to sleep in the tie up stalls out the back. She had a perfect preparation to peak in the grand final. She has walked in. Full credit to all the staff.

"I'm not sure if we'll press on with her, if she shows any signs of not wanting to go on we'll put her straight out and concentrate on the autumn because she has a good future ahead of her."

With the pressure valve now released, Cummings is looking forward to the rest of the spring carnival which continues on Sunday at Caulfield where stable star Hartnell is poised to start favourite in the Group I Underwood Stakes (1800m).

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