Bart Cummings or more formally known as James Bartholomew Cummings AM, was born and raised in Glenelg, South Australia, where he attended Sacred Heart College whilst working as a stable hand in his father’s, James Martin Cummings, racing stable. Working for his father taught him a lot about the routines that were conducive to training successful racehorses. In 1950, Bart experienced his first thrill of being involved in a Melbourne Cup victory when he strapped Comic Court for his father.
In 1953, Bart was granted his trainer’s licence at the age of 26 and in 1958 he won his first Group 1 race, the SAJC Derby with Stormy Passage. From this point on, Bart’s training feats re-wrote Australian Racing History. In 1965, Light Fingers won Bart his first Melbourne Cup. His affinity with this race was born and he continued his winning streak over the next 2 years with Galilee and Red Handed.
Galilee after winning the Sydney Cup ’67 by a record six lenghts. Photo: bradleyphotos.com.au
He achieved his first Training Premiership in 1965-66. In this year, he won the 7 Group 1 Cups across Australia- Melbourne, Caulfield, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sandown and Queens Cup.
His success however, was not limited to these prestigious stayer’s championships. During the 1974-75 racing season, Bart trained 10 different racehorses to win 20 Group 1 races. The honour role for this year included the likes of Leilani, Think Big and Lord Dudley.
Bart trains his horses as individuals. This approach has been fruitful in providing an array of winning sprinters, middle distance runners and stayers. The stable has produced champions that have won 4 Golden Slippers, 32 Derbys, 5 Cox Plates, 24 Oaks and 7 Caulfield Cups. No other trainer has succeeded in this kind of success so far.
Bart provided his owners with great pride in having eight racehorses inducted to the Champion Racehorse of the Year Hall of Fame. His list of graduates includes Dayana, Leilani, Lord Dudley, Maybe Mahal, Hyperno, Beau Zam, Let’s Elope and Saintly.
In 1982, Bart was honoured with the Order of Australia for his contribution and service to the racing industry and his tireless promotion of this sport to the public. In 1991, Bart was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and, in 2001 he also became an inaugural inductee into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
Bart was publicly dubbed as the “Cups King” after famously winning the “Race that Stops a Nation” 12 times. He also achieved 266 individual Group 1 victories – an impressive figure only added to in partnership with grandson James securing the Golden Rose and Randwick Guineas with Hallowed Crown. Although he won over 750 stakes races throughout his tenure, his most well renowned record will remain winning the Melbourne Cup more times than any other trainer, for many years to come.
At 87 years, Bart Cummings passed away surrounded by his family at his Prince’s Farm homestead.
A life to be remembered. A record for history. A farewell unforgotten.
Saintly will always have a special place in Bart’s heart. Saintly was bred at Bart’s private farm – Princes Farm and is by quite an unknown stallion Sky Chase who previously won the Champagne Stakes for Bart. Saintly started his success in 1995 when he won the VRC Carbine Club Stakes (Listed). In 1996 he won a total of five Group races. Not only did he win the Cox Plate that year but he backed up 10 days later to give Bart his 11th win of the Melbourne Cup.Let’s Elope
Champion Australian Rachorse of the 1991- 1992 season Let’s Elope had completed an enormous feat by winning both the 1991 VRC Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup. Winner of a total of eight Stakes races this big NZ bred mare began a seven-race winning streak in the Turnbull Stakes,then took the Mackinnon Stakes and both the Cups, and returned in the new year for the Orr Stakes, the St George Stakes, and the Australian Cup.Think Big
In 1974 Think Big ran down Leilani who was favourite on the day, to beat her in the Melbourne Cup giving Bart his third quinella of this coveted race. With not having won a race for an entire year Think Big took on the Melbourne Cup agian in 1975 and won it again over stablemate Holiday Waggon.
Leilani was a champion racemare winning six Group 1 races including; 1974 AJC Oaks 2400m, 1974 VATC Caulfield Cup 2400m, 1974 VATC Toorak Handicap 1600m, 1974 VRC L.K.s Mackinnon Stakes 2000m, 1975 CF Orr Stakes 1400m and the 1975 VRC Australian Cup 2000m. Leilani won a total of 12 Stakes races in her career and was inducted into the Australian Hall Of Fame as the 1975 Australian Champion Racehorse of the year.Dayana
Dayana was a winner of seven Stakes races from 1972 – 1975. and was named horse of the year in the season of 1972 – 1973. he won a total of four Derbies in 1972 alone and then the following year went on to win the Perth Cup 3200m followed by the PARC Simsmetal Plate 2250m and the VRC Duke Of Norfolk Stakes i3200m n 1975Galilee
Galilee was a diverse galloper winning a total of 12 stakes races ranging from 1600m – 3200m. He was of great service to Bart winning the 1966 Caulfield Cup, 1966 Melbourne Cup, 1997 Sydney Cup 1967 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, 1968 Memsie Stakes and the 1968 Turnbull Stakes but to name a few.