Australia: Legendary trainer Bart Cummings dies

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Bart Cummings: won the Melbourne Cup 12 times

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

LEGENDARY Australian trainer Bart Cummings, known as the “Cups King” for his record-breaking haul of 12 Melbourne Cup wins, has died aged 87, according to reports in Australia.

AAP Racing quote his son Anthony Cummings writing on Twitter on Saturday: “Dad died peacefully in his sleep early this morning, surrounded by his family. He lived a full life.”

Born James Bartholomew Cummings on November 14, 1927, Cummings received his training licence in 1953 at the age of 26, but had been suffering ill health in recent years and in 2013 began training in partnership with his grandson, James.

Melbourne Cup legend

As well as his 12 Melbourne Cup wins – seven more than any other trainer – Cummings trained the winners of 266 Group 1s, an achievement that ranks second to fellow Australian training legend TJ Smith.

It was the Melbourne Cup though that Cummings valued most of all, with Viewed providing the trainer his final win in “the race that stops a nation” when he defeated the Luca Cumani-trained Bauer by a nose in 2008.

Other outstanding horses that came under Cummings’ care were two-time Melbourne Cup winner Think Big (1974 75), and So You Think, who won five Group 1s in Australia and according to Cummings was the best he ever trained.

Tributes flow

Tributes to Cummings were led by Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, who tweeted: “So sad to learn of the death of Bart Cummings, legend of the track and giant of the sport.”

Trainer Gai Waterhouse, who won the Melbourne Cup with Fiorente in 2013, said: “A great sadness clouds over the industry with the news of Bart Cummings’ passing.The Cups King’s legacy remembered – past, present future.”

Three-time Cup winning jockey Glen Boss added: “Every person every horse Bart spent time with improved. His understanding of the horse will never be matched. We will miss this amazing man.”

Outspoken

Cummings was critical of the way So You Think was handled after he was transferred to Aidan O’Brien’s care in 2011, remaining convinced the move should never have happened.

“He was a superstar and should never have left the country,” Cummings said after So You Think was retired. “As a three-year-old he was near unbeatable and won the Cox Plate. He was an out-and-out champion.”

Cummings was also outspoken on the subject of foreign involvement in the Melbourne Cup. He argued that raiders received advantages unavailable to locally-trained horses and cost them valuable opportunities when they were balloted out of the field.

Cummings was awarded the Order of Australia in 1982 for his services to horseracing and was also inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.

Read the full obituary to Bart Cummings in Sunday’s Racing Post

 

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