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 Caulfied Cups. No other trainer has succeeded in this kind of success so far.
Since 1972, Bart has provided owners with great pride in having their 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.
To date and counting, Bart has been publicly dubbed as the “Cups King”, has achieved 266 Group 1 victories, more than 758 black type stakes victories and he has won the ‘Race that Stops a Nation’ 12 times. The next one could be yours!