Bart’s legacy will live on says his son

An emotional Anthony Cummings has paid tribute to his father Bart and the legacy the master trainer leaves behind following his death at the age of 87.


Bart Cummings, who died in the early hours of Sunday morning, will be honoured with a state funeral in Sydney next Monday.

Known to the wider community as the Cups King for his record 12 Melbourne Cup wins, Cummins trained the winners of 268 Group One races, a number bettered only by the late TJ Smith.

He spent his later years in a partnership with his grandson James who joined his father and fellow trainer Anthony on Monday to talk to reporters about the man people simply called Bart.

“Racing has lost one of its best ambassadors and we lost a father,” Anthony Cummings said.

“He did reach out to everybody. You don’t really understand that until something like this happens.

“A lot of his legacy goes to the people who have been through the stable both here and in Melbourne and Adelaide.”

Among those is James Cummings who said he was still learning but would continue to practise what he had been taught.

“Bart instilled in all the foremen that worked for him, that includes me, to really drive for perfection,” he said.

“He instilled a requirement to be really meticulous about your work in everything you do.

“Why leave to tomorrow what you can do today.”

Group One winning trainers Leon Corstens, Nigel Blackiston, Matthew Smith, John Thompson and the late Guy Walter are among those who honed their craft by watching and listening, trying to glean everything they could from the man who would answer their questions but volunteer little.

Corstens remembers his patience and calmness under pressure.

He told Melbourne’s RSN radio of an incident when panic could have taken over on a trip to the beach in Adelaide with a team of young horses as one was spooked by a crashing wave.

“Riders were tipped off and horses were running everywhere,” Corstens said.

“One of the horses got up in the dunes and Bart was saying ‘have a look at that, horses back to nature’ and here I am tearing my hair out.

“He just took everything in his stride.”

Corstens worked in an era when there was great rivalry between Tommy Smith, Colin Hayes and Cummings.

“I know there are three legends – ‘TJ’ and ‘CS’ but I would say, not because I worked for him, he was by far the best,” he said.

Anthony Cummings is the only one of Bart’s five children to follow him into training but the tradition continues with James and his brother Edward who works as foreman for his father at Randwick.

James said his grandfather would always be a part of the family’s chosen profession.

“I think that Bart will have a part in every horse that Dad and Edward and I train,” he said.