Celebrated Australian horse trainer Bart Cummings dies

Jockey Glen Boss kisses trainer Bart Cummings after So You Think won the Tatts Cox Plate during the 2009 Cox Plate Day meeting Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bart Cummings trained the winners of almost 7,000 races from 1953

The celebrated racehorse trainer Bart Cummings, who won the Melbourne Cup a record 12 times, has died aged 87.

His family said in a statement he had passed away peacefully early on Sunday morning at his home near Sydney.

It said his final moments were spent with his family and wife of 61 years, Valmae, with whom he celebrated their anniversary on Friday.

He prepared the winners of almost 7,000 races during his training career, which began in 1953.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Viewed won the Melbourne Cup in 2008 on the 50th anniversary of his first entry in the revered race

He won the Golden Slipper four times, the Caulfield Cup seven times, the Cox Plate five times, the VRC Oakes nine times and the Newmarket Handicap eight times.

Cummings' grandson and training partner, James, called him a "master trainer and a larger than life figure".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cummings won the Melbourne Cup for the 11th time in 1999 with horse Rogan Josh

Leading Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse said: "To all of us in the racing industry, Bart was a true icon. Everything that he envisaged was a success."

"Bart was always in a league of his own. His larger than life character and sharp wit will be sorely missed, said Peter V'landys, the chief executive of Racing New South Wales said.

He added that Cummings was "a legend in Australian sport, up there with the great Don Bradman".

Career highlights

  • His first Melbourne Cup win with Light Fingers comes in 1965
  • In the 1973-74 season he becomes the first trainer in a Commonwealth country to pass $1 million in prize money in a season
  • In 1982 he is made a member of the Order of Australia for services to the racing industry, and is later inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame
  • His last Melbourne Cup victory comes in 2008 with Viewed, on the 50th anniversary of the day he entered his first horse in the race

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