Known as "The King of Cups", Bart trained over 10,000 winners during his sixty or more years as a trainer. He was 87 and only yesterday, the last horse he trained won in Sydney.
In an industry long plagued with corruption allegations, Bart fought against questionable and unethical practices. To Bart, horses and their welfare came first.
Bart has been described as a "horse whisperer" able to bring the best out of the horses under his care and with an eye to pick a future winner, be it at yearling sales, or in the paddock.
Allergic to horses, Bart, lived on antihistamines in order to be able to carry out his job.
Bart began his entry into the world of racing from humble beginnings, working his way up to the position of Australia's number one racehorse trainer by talent alone.
He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1982 for his services to the racing industry, and in 1991 was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and the Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.
On a personal note, over the years, Bart Cummings trained horses have given me enormous pleasure and a good share of my winnings on the track. Profits my dad made on the Cummings trained cup winner, Galilee, took us on holiday to Queensland, giving me my first ever experience of flying, in 1967.
My dad had a particular interest in Galilee's racing career, being the losing bidder at the thoroughbred sales, on his dam Galston, whose bloodlines my dad particularly fancied to found his own thoroughbred breeding program. Galilee was the foal at foot at the time of the sales. He missed out on owning the pair by 50 pounds. It provided him with "the one that got away" anecdote for the rest of his life!
I have had the pleasure of being on track and witnessing a number of Bart's horses win major Group 1 races, including The Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, The Guineas, Derby and Melbourne Cups. I have a particular fondness for Saintly who regularly made me a happy punter during his stellar career, to the point I think I put a few dollars on him every time he raced!
Sometimes, during Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival, if pressed for time to study the form guide, I would simply back Bart trained horses. Many the day when his winners or place getters left me leaving the track at least breaking even, if not firmly ahead. Occassionally, Bart's horses made me a handsome profit, for minimum investment, as I am not a big punter and only seriously follow the races during The Spring Carnival!
Whenever Bart was interviewed on television, he was always a very humble man, self-effacing and with a wry sense of humour. He was a man of few words, able to relate with anyone, from royalty to ordinary punters who would stop him for a quick chat, or to simply say thankyou at the track.
Bart is survived by his wife of 61 years Valmae, family, including son Anthony, also a notable trainer and two grandsons also now working as increasingly successful trainers. He and Valmae, touchingly celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on Friday.
Bart's autobiography, 'Bart, My Life' Is a recommended, illuminating and entertaining read for anyone interested in racing, or simply seeking an inspirational story.
Bart will be sorely missed, not only by his family and stables, now under the care of his much loved grandson James, but by millions of Australians, who have long held this amazing and humble man in esteem, as a trainer, down to earth decent bloke and gentleman!
The sound of hooves will long thunder in his memory up the straight on Melbourne Cup Day and the odds against anyone beating his record of training twelve Melbourne Cup winners are about 100 to 1!