James Cummings, grandson of legendary Australian trainer Bart Cummings, enjoyed his first group I winner as a trainer when Prized Icon took the Champagne Stakes (Aus-I) April 16 at Royal Randwick.
Prized Icon is among 157 black-type winners and is the 21st group I winner for More Than Ready (Southern Halo), a champion sire in two hemispheres who stands during the Northern Hemisphere season at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky. and shuttles to Vinery Australia.
Relaxing in second while pacesetter El Sicario led by as many as six lengths midway through the 1,600-meter (about one-mile) race for 2-year-olds, Glyn Schofield urged Prized Icon to the front when the field closed in on El Sicario. Runner-up Chimboraa challenged strongly 200 meters out, but Prized Icon held for a one-length triumph in 1:36.85 on turf rated as soft.
Placed in six starts—including four stakes—prior to the Champagne, Prized Icon came in off his maiden-breaking victory in the Fernhill Handicap April 9 at the same racecourse. He was a late entry in the Champagne, in which he started as the favorite when group I winner Yankee Rose was scratched because of tenderness in a hoof.
A homebred of Gooree Park Stud, Prized Icon is out of the stakes-winning Danehill mare Tropical Affair, also the dam of group-winner and full sister Romantic Moon and group winner Matras (Zabeel).
Also on Saturday's card, Encosta de Lago's English, Australia's champion 2-year-old last season, earned her group I credentials upon winning the Schweppes All Aged Stakes by a neck.
Ridden by Sam Clipperton for trainer Gai Waterhouse, Newhaven Park Stud's homebred English covered 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs) in 1:22.90 for her fourth win from eight starts.