Saturday, October 31, 2015


Bart Cummings

It’s that time of the year again – already!  I seem to be continually passing comment about how fast the years bolt by; but, strewth, I do not utter an untruth! Spring is well-sprung; even I have a hop in my hobble. This Saturday the Melbourne Cup Carnival is off and running with AAMI Victoria Derby Day. The following Saturday the fun culminates with Emirates Stakes Day as the 2015 Carnival gallops to a halt. It’ll be all over bar the thundering of hooves. Discarding their stilettos, reluctantly the ladies will hang up their finery, hats and fascinating fascinators.  

I love this time of the year, and although the only horse race I have a bet on these days is the Melbourne Cup, I watch every race from the first race to the last throughout the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

The Caulfield Cup, a Group One handicap event over 2400m is the second of the big Spring Cups and is a good lead-up to the prestigious Melbourne Cup. 

Between the running of the Caulfield Cup, a three-day carnival, in October and the Melbourne Cup, which is always run on the first Tuesday in November, is the running of the Group One WS Cox  Plate hosted by the Moonee Valley racecourse.  The Cox Plate is run over the distance of 2040m, and is classed as the championship weight-for-age race.

The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861; it was won by Archer.  The prize was 710 gold sovereigns (₤710), along with a hand-beaten gold watch. Archer won again the following year.

Before the Spring Carnival reaches its climax the highest point on the course, of course, is next Tuesday, Melbourne Cup Day.  The Melbourne Cup is run over 3200m (two miles).  

This post may not interest some of you; and some of you may not have a clue what I'm writing about...but in an attempt to clarify - the words in "bold" are the names of past Melbourne Cup winners...and my post is in tribute to the late, great Bart Cummings who passed away on 30th August, 2015, aged 87.
The late, legendary Bart Cummings will be sadly missed from this year’s events. Bart was Viewed with Saintly respect. Held in high esteem, not only by those in horse racing circles, but by the general public, too, Bart will remain forever a national treasure.

Along with Viewed and Saintly Bart trained nine other winners of the sought-after, prized Melbourne Cup e.g. Light Fingers, Galilee, Red Handed, Think Big (won twice – 1974 and 1975), Gold and Black, Hyperno, Kingston Rule, Let’s Elope and Rogan Josh. 

Bart Cummings may not have trained Efficient, but he certainly performed efficiently throughout the years.  Bart was the favoured odds-on favourite trainer of favourites. Thousands were prepared to take the plunge when one of his horses was running.  

Even though allergic to horses and hay, instead of saying What a Nuisance and cantering away, he was caught Red Handed; not from doing anything wrong, but from doing something Ethereal with horses in his care. Bart held the Might and Power of horse training by the reins. Rising Fast, he soon earned a well-deserved reputation, but not without more than Just a Dash of Hi Jinx along the way.   

Bart wasn’t a Windbag. He did, however, subtly lord over a Comic Court. Not always Sirius, Bart was the Comedy King.  Quick-witted, in his well-stocked Arsenal he had a Catalogue packed with humorous quips. With a twinkle in his eyes, he loved letting loose a jocular riposte when least expected. 

Bart’s life turned out to be more than a Gala Supreme.   

The elder Statesman of thoroughbred racing, he was a Mentor to thousands. It was not all about The Victory with Bart.   

His father Jim Cummings, an accomplished trainer, trained Comic Court, the winner of the 1950 Melbourne Cup.  As a lad Bart began as a strapper working for his dad. In 1953, aged 26, he received his trainer licence.  

Bart’s father was born in Ireland.   

There’s something horsey (not fishy) about the name “Cummings”.  My first husband’s surname is “Cummings”. Whoa! Shut the gate! Don’t go off on a wild horse chase! Use some stable thinking!  Apply some horse sense! Don’t ride off madly in all directions!  I didn’t do a Liz Taylor! By George! I’ve had only two husbands! 

My first husband’s late brother, Kevin Cummings, taught top jockey Glen Boss how to ride horses.  
Bart Cummings’ spirit will be at Flemington, not only on Cup Day, but throughout the Carnival - for years to come. Bart Cummings’ legacy and our memories of him will stay with us. A humble man, Bart was a legend in his own lifetime. His passing won’t diminish his light. 

Melbourne Cup 2015 is for Bart.  Bravo, Bart! Always The Melbourne Cup Protectionist, you were Tawrrific!


  1. I am sure Bart would have loved your tribute.

  2. Hi there EC...I would hope was written with affection and admiration.

    Thanks for coming by...have a good week. :)

  3. I've been to a couple of races and they are exciting to say the least; once when I lived in Arkansas; I was working at a real estate agent in an office on the main street and looked out the window and one of the horses from the Oaklawn race was galloping down the main street without a rider. Wish I had had a camera at that moment, the horse was recovered and I am not sure if that high spirited horse won the race.

    1. Hi Linda...That horse would've won the race down the street, at least! lol

      I often went to the races when I lived in the city of Brisbane, but since those days I've only been to a three other race meetings...a picnic race meeting in Noosa when my ex and I lived in the area; another meeting in Ingham and another one out at Normanton up in the Gulf Country of far north western Queensland, when I was managing the pub out there. I must write a tale about those three escapades...and there is a tale or three to tell. I probably have already done so somewhere through my years of blogging!!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

  4. Well done - Bart would be very proud.
    It is my favourite day of the year also. I used to attend Melbourne Cup
    functions but too noisy so I get "amber" refreshments in and sit glued to the
    I take a first four bet - when Brew won, I had the first 4 called over the line - $177,700 was staring me in the face. A photo finish was called for the 4th place-getter and yes! My pick beaten by a longer tongue! How I hated that long tongue horse but it went on as a sire to be outstanding!
    Of the 24 starters this year only one is Australian home bred!!!!!!
    11 International starters - France, UK, Ireland, Germany and Japan.
    One I think bred in the USA and the rest all NZ bred!
    Such a pity that grandson James Cummings didn't get a starter - even for
    sentimental reasons.
    Again wonderful tribute - you could be a Turf editor.

    1. Hi Colin...I, too, was hoping yesterday that either Ruling Dynasty or High Midnight would win and get through to The Cup...but, alas, it wasn't to be.

      And I, too, stay away from the madding crowds on Cup Day.

      I prepare myself a couple of large platters of tasty "pickies" to graze on throughout the day, while sipping on a glass of wine or two...with just me and me, and my two furry four-legged rascals to keep me company.

      I watch all the lead-up to the start of the races...from 6 am (on Ch. 7's "Sunrise") through to the very last race and wrap-up later in the afternoon.

      I place my bets on Monday...again so I don't have to face the madness on Tuesday. I absolutely love Melbourne Cup Day...and I love doing it "my way" with no interruptions from others!

      Thanks for coming by...good luck for Tuesday...let's hope you get a short tongued horse if it comes down to a photo finish this time around! How frustrating that would've been for you! I can feel your disappointment! I'd be still grumbling! lol

    2. Ah a Gympie girl I note. I had friends who lived in Gympie after they
      retired from PNG - I would visit often and once attended the Gympie
      races when visiting my friends - great country style racing. The Wilsons
      had a passionfruit farm out in the sticks past the racecourse.
      Peter my mate had a couple of horses and we rode around the backroads having "allusions" of the Lone Ranger and Tonto!!!
      Ah well 30 year olds still could have fun - ha ha.

      I'll put my selections on your blog for your analysis -
      Line one 2
      Line two - first 2 plus one = 3
      Line three - top three plus one = 4
      Line four - top four plus one = 5.
      Fingers crossed - stay tuned for "BRILLIANCE????????????"

    3. Well, I was raised in Gympie, Colin...I left in 1965 to work in Brisbane and from there roamed further afield. I returned to Gympie in 1998 where I once again worked and lived for the ensuing four years. I was chef/cook at Gunabul, a restaurant/function house on the Southside. The Gympie racecourse and showgrounds are on the Southside.

      You probably think I'm dumb...I can assure you I'm not... but I'm at a loss to understand the last part of your comment. In the worlds of Pauline Hanson..."Please explain!" :)

    4. Ah Sweet Dearest Pauline - ha ha. What a character that fish 'n' chips
      That is the betting system
      Eg: And this is not them for Tuesday.
      Line one - for first place: Snow Sky and Criterion
      Line two - for first /second: Snow Sky, Criterion and Fame Game
      Line three - for first/second/third: Snow Sky, Criterion, Fame Game and Our Ivanhowe.
      Line four - for first.second/third/ fourth: Snow Sky, Criterion, Fame Game,
      Our Ivanhowe and just in case of long lips - a fifth horse - Who Shot the Barman.
      You just add on each line and extra horse. Covers all the places above.
      PS: I think I would have given your young "know all" bloke a lecture on Japanese intentions rather brutally - he would have been biting his bloody lip.

    5. If it's a wet track on Tuesday, Criterion has a damn/damp good chance.

      I'm still in the middle of reading today's paper...trying to read I've yet to begin studying up on the horses...but I have a couple in mind. And I will have made my selection by tomorrow morning/this afternoon.

      I was interested to hear what Victoria's racing official, Terry Bailey, had to say yesterday about "Fame Game". He's not a huge fan by the sounds of it. Bailey's home, as I'm sure you're aware, was shot at last Sunday night....a disgraceful thing to have happened.

      Where are you, Colin? I tried to go into your blog, but obviously you no longer operate it

    6. Blog gone to hades. I got sick of inane comments and people just not reading but liked to see their name appear.
      So I follow about 10 blogs. All of great interest with facts, good descriptions and photos - travel ones mainly or rural.
      Yep - not good about that threat etc.
      Fair Game is actually my tip - for 1st with another one.
      I don't think Criterion can run the distance but I'll have him
      somewhere in my selections - as class is a major factor.

    7. Colin....I've listed the following horses...and now I have to narrow the list down a bit...Trip to Parish, Criterion, Preferment, The United States, Max Dynamite, Fame Game...and I'm glancing at Bondi Beach and The Offer.

      I sleep on it overnight and make my decision in the morning before heading off to the TAB. I might match a couple up...decisions, decisions. They're all good horses...the 24 of them....

      I'll be have night mares tonight! :)

      I certainly do remember the ruckus caused by Jean Shrimpton wearing THAT dress to the 1965 Melbourne Cup. And we all immediately jumped on the mini-wagon.

      Actually, I think we were already wearing as short and even shorter. We younger, carefree girls weren't upset about what she wore at all. It was just the fuddy-duddy "society ladies" of Melbourne who did most of the "tsk-tsking". :)

      At the time I was working in Brisbane for a hosiery and fashion our business boomed!

    8. I think you must now have my e-mail. Thanks for deleting it.
      E-mail me in the morning and I'll forward my 5 - done already.
      I look forward to your final selections.
      PS: Nightmares - ha ha. Well don't have nightstallions!!!

  5. Great tribute you have written for Bart...always watch the Melboutne Cup if i can...a great race to be won each year..

    1. Thanks, Margaret. I love watching The Cup...I always have; and I've always made a "big thing" of it...even when celebrating it alone as I prefer to do as against doing the Melbourne Cup Luncheon thing. Through the years I catered for enough of them when I was in the hospitality one can hear the races because everyone screams or talks at full volume leading up to, throughout and thereafter! lol

      It is a great race...and I just am in awe at the beauty of the thoroughbreds as they parade through the mounting yard...I love watching them.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

  6. Tuesday will be all about Bart. There are some people who you think will be here forever .. Until they are not.
    I hope you will be wearing your finery and sipping champagne while you are watching the coverage. We are being catered for by our Hospitality students. I will have to get some pics for you.

    1. Hi Carol...I'll be doing my "own thing" here at home...but thoroughly enjoying doing it my way. I might sip on Champers...I have about three bottles in my fridge; or I might have a rum or two (with Pepsi, not Coke) or a red all depends on how I feel on the day what my choice will be. I know I'll have a cold Crownie...maybe two...that I do know. :)

      I'll be putting together a cheese, fruit and nut platter, plus another of tasty bits and pieces to munch on throughout the is my wont to do on Melbourne Cup Day. I have my own little party...and just love it!

      I look forward to seeing your pics. I've I can coerce Remy and Shama into using my camera I will, but they prefer to do the posing! :)

      Thanks for coming by...and good luck on the race if you plan to have a bet. :)

  7. I no longer have any interest in the Melbourne cup. My last two years at work, I wasn't even asked if I wanted to participate in the sweeps being held :(
    I like seeing the ladies in their finery on the news and some of the hats are nice too, but the fascinators don't fascinate me one bit. I think they're silly.
    Bart Cummings certainly had a good run.

    1. Each to their own, River. We all have our own individual likes and dislikes. That's what makes the world go 'round. I've always been interested, and no doubt, the interest will continue. I love the horses...they're such stunning creatures.

      I also love the fashions, both men and women....and always look forward to that part of the carnival as well.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

    2. The horses are beautiful.

  8. As you say Lee - each to their own. Though I like most sports, any sports that involve horses just do not interest me. On the subject of sport please accept my commiserations with regard to Australia's defeat to New Zealand in the Rugby Union World Cup final. Your brave leader - Stephen Moore was very gracious in defeat. That seemed quite uncharacteristic of Australian captains!

    1. Firstly, Yorkie...I don't care about the Rugby Union World Cup...the game interests me not at all; it never has. I think it's the most muddle, boring game and I never watch games. I much prefer Rugby League any day; and even then, when it comes to watching League I only watch the major games...the State of Origin matches (three in all between Qld and NSW) and the Grand Finals. And I'm very parochial when it comes to the teams I like...The Broncos and The Cowboys...both Qld teams.

      As far as the World Cup went...I think the majority of people expected the Kiwis to, included. Either which way, the trophy is here Down Under. Your sympathies are not necessary in my case. At least the Aussie, the Wallabies made it through to the Grand Final beating all others along the way; and in the end were beaten by the acclaimed best Rugby Union team in the world; making the Wallabies the second best. :)

      I don't understand your comment re Aussie captains not be gracious in defeat. I also don't agree with your sentiments...perhaps you're just trying to stir the pot. Consider this pot un-stirred. You can put your wooden spoon away. :)

      As I've said in my responses above and in my article I love the major horse racing events such as the present Carnival we're enjoying down this way. Many international horses, including Irish and English are here to compete for the various trophies and huge prize moneys on offer.

      I'll be off to the TAB this morning to place a couple of bets on tomorrow's big race...and then, tomorrow I'll thoroughly enjoy the whole race day here at home watching it in peace on my TV...leisurely sipping on a wine or three, and grazing on the couple of platters I plan to put together of tasty goodies . I always look forward to Cup Day and I always enjoy it to the utmost.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

    2. Lee
      The first four top teams were from south of the Equator - I thought that was really "up the noses" of the northern competitors - Kiwis (NZ- All Blacks), who really are the best, the Wallabies (Australia), the Springboks ( South Africa) and the Pumas (Argentina).
      Actually I think they finished the World Cup in the correct order as listed above. Ah we breed them strong south of the Equator - ha ha.

    3. Colin,
      You need a sound thrashing sir!
      Best wishes,
      Yorkshire Pudding
      (The Avenger)

    4. Colin...rarely have more truthful words been spoken! :)

  9. I like the American football horses the best and I do watch the Triple Crown races but that is it. Peace

    1. Hi Lady Di....The major horse racing events are the only ones I follow and watch these days. The events are filled with glamour and beauty both on the course and off.

      And The Melbourne Cup is an Aussie me it seems un-Australian not to enjoy it! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

  10. Replies
    1. Be careful of you knees there, Adullamite!

      Thanks for riding in! :)

  11. I was kinda here. I will explain later.

    1. I didn't see you, Jerry! I promise...I didn't!

  12. Loved this post. Love horses.

    Thanks for visiting.

    1. Hi Gail...I love horses, too. The Melbourne Cup Day coverage has started and I'll be watching it all day long to the very end. The first race of the day starts in a couple of moments....a fun day ahead. I've put together my platters...and the grazing will soon begin! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

  13. Hi Lee
    I guess FAIRY TALES do come true.
    First female jockey to win, her lovely autistic brother who is the strapper for the horse and what a bunch of excited owners.
    Perfect Weather , over 100,000 PAYING spectators - I'd love to know exactly how many were on course when you take in the caterers, race staff, horse staff etc etc.
    Weren't the flowers a tribute to the work of the gardening crew?.
    All in all a great day. Imagine if we had picked the first 4 - $307,081 and of course 19 cents!!!!
    Oh well now to start studying for 2016.
    I hope they can save the old marvel - Red Cadeau - they certainly didn't waste any time to get him to the Werribbee Vet Clinic. I guess the old 10 year old legs
    just game out.

    1. That was an amazing win. A history-making win!

      An elderly gentleman yesterday at the TAB gave me the nod toward Prince of Penzance...but I didn't follow through, unfortunately! 100-1!!! Stevie, Michelle Payne's brother has Down's's a wonderful story all round. I had tears streaming down my face.

      And with the elation came the distressing news about Red Cadeaux. I do hope he's okay. My fingers are crossed. So sad...again tears flowed!!

      It's always such a emotional race day, such a race filled with every kind of emotion - from one end of the spectrum to the other.

      The tribute to Bart Cummings by his grandson, James...was wonderful. James trained the horse that won Race 2.

      The tribute to the great Harry White made me tear up as well. I was always a fan of Harry White. On my wall I have a framed photo of him on Tails. Harry now suffers from was a very touching tribute to him.

      I didn't back the winner of The Cup...but I did get the second and third horses. Through misty-eyes, that made me happy. :)

    2. Me!!!

      Third and fourth! And then daylight - ha ha.
      Yep - I remember Tails - a great horse and when he died
      I am sure I read they buried him in the warrior horse fashion.
      Standing up. I am not sure if that is a Greek or Roman salute
      for horses???
      Alexander the Great's horse - Bucephalus was buried in that position.
      That MAY have been the start of this honour????

    3. I don't know how Tails was buried, but I did see him race in the Brisbane Cup in 1972 when the little Mode beat him. Tails came second that day. What a great race that was. I can still remember it clearly. I don't think he minded that the little Mode beat him that day. When Mode retired from racing she died giving birth to her first sad. She was a little mare.

      Before the race I went to the stalls (I doubt that's allowed these days) and saw Tails up close and personal. I asked him (yes, you can call me crazy, I don't care. :) ) if he was going to win the two mile race...he looked at me and then turned his head in the direction of the track.

      He was a magnificent-looking deep chestnut entire/stallion. His chest was so broad...he truly was a handsome fellow. :)

  14. I love horse racing and have never attended one in person. I was chagrined that I missed The Breeders Cup on TV this past Saturday, at which our Triple Crown winner American Pharoah won again - and now he gets to retire.

    Lovely post - it's interesting to read what goes on in other parts of the world.

    1. Ahhhh....Lynn....what a wonderful horse American Pharoah is. I'm glad he won again. There was a good segment about him on TV here last Saturday. Great horse and it's good that he can now retire and live his life leisurely.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

    2. Lee and Lynn

      The segment on American Pharoah was indeed interesting as one of only
      a handful of horses to have won the US Triple Crown.
      I read that the top stakes winning mare here, Royal Descent, winner of $2,709,780 is to be bred to him. I also think American Pharoah is to be put on a duel breeding programme for the North American season and also will stand at either Coolmore or Darley stud here in Australia for the Southern Breeding season.

  15. Although (despite being born in the city which is home to the Grand National) I know nothing at all about horse racing and have never been to one I enjoyed the post and your tribute in it and all the comments after it. I read an article about the winner and it was quite a speech she made afterwards with full Aussie straight-forwardness. Good on her I say.

  16. Hi Graham....My late brother, Graham was a keen follower of the horses and the racing, and I guess from that my interest grew; but from as far back as I can remember, Melbourne Cup Day has always been a major highlight on the calendar. It's an Aussie institution and to me it would be very un-Aussie not to be interested in it and enjoy the atmosphere surrounding the day, whether you watch any other races throughout the year or not.

    Michelle Payne, the winning jockey certainly has made history and has already gone down in the history books where her marvellous feat will remain forever. Her speech (and others) at the end of the races was you bullshit (or should I say "horse-shit"?). She said it as it was and is. She's a breath of fresh air.

    During yesterday's telecast of Oak's Day (another important meeting of The Cup Carnival) a wonderful segment was shown of her life from when she was a youngest. She won her first race when she was only 15. The short film on her life was very moving....I thought it was just terrific...and it made me misty-eyed.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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