Racing Victoria (RV) Chairman, David Moodie, has issued the following statement on the news of the peaceful passing overnight of trainer James Bartholomew ‘Bart’ Cummings OAM, aged 87.
“On behalf of the entire Victorian thoroughbred racing industry, I wish to express our deepest condolences to Valmae and the Cummings family on the passing of a true legend of Australian sport,” Mr Moodie said.
“Bart Cummings has left an indelible mark on the Victorian racing industry having achieved an unparalleled record in our biggest races and his memory will live long as part of racing folklore.
“Bart’s horsemanship and training achievements were both respected and admired by his peers and he transcended racing to capture the hearts and imagination of the Australian public.
“Today is a sad day for Victorian racing, but one on which we also fondly remember and celebrate the amazing achievements of Bart Cummings.”
Bart Cummings was one of the inaugural inductees into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2001 and was elevated to Legend status in 2008. He shares the Legend title with fellow trainer Tommy Smith, jockeys Scobie Breasley and George Moore, and champion horses Phar Lap, Carbine and Makybe Diva.
Bart Cummings trained a record 12 Melbourne Cup winners – Light Fingers (1965), Galilee (1966), Red Handed (1967), Think Big (1974-75), Gold And Black (1977), Hyperno (1979), Kingston Rule (1990), Let’s Elope (1991), Saintly (1996), Rogan Josh (1999) and Viewed (2008).
Amongst Bart Cummings’ other feature race successes in Victoria were a record 13 Australian Cups, 11 Mackinnon Stakes, nine VRC Oaks, eight Newmarket Handicaps, seven Caulfield Cups, six VRC Derbies, five Cox Plates and five Caulfield Guineas.
The Bart Cummings, a 2500-metre handicap, is run in his honour at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day each October. For the first time this year, the winner of The Bart Cummings, to be run on Sunday, 4 October, will gain automatic entry into the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup.
The Bart Cummings Award, honouring the person who trains the most Group 1 winners nationwide for the season, will be presented four days later at the 2015 Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards in Melbourne on Thursday night, 8 October.