Bart Cummings is synonymous with the Lexus Melbourne Cup having won the race 12 times but it’s almost forgotten that his record in the TAB Australian Cup is even better.
Cummings amazingly won 13 Australian Cups which in terms of dominance by one trainer of a feature race is a record in Australian racing.
The next most successful trainer has been Tom Payten with six winners. David Hayes who won the TAB Australian Cup last year with Harlem has won four times and he has five runners tomorrow.
Cummings also dominated Australia’s flagship sprint, the Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap having won it eight times, which is double the next most successful trainers.
On Saturday, the late trainer's 31 year-old grandson James Cummings is in a good position to win his first TAB Australian Cup with the short priced favourite Avilius.
Last year James Cummings saddled up his first TAB Australian Cup runner when Hartnell finished tenth.
He will also have his first Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap runners and he’s also in a strong position with the favourite Osborne Bulls and Encryption.
His grandfather twice trained the winner of the famous autumn double.
In 1975 he was successful with the mares Cap D’Antibes in the Newmarket Handicap and Leilani two days later in the Australian Cup.
Three years later Cummings completed the double again with two champions: Maybe Mahal won the Newmarket Handicap and Ming Dynasty the Australian Cup.
Bart Cummings’ last win in the Australian Cup was in 2008 with Sirmione which was 40 years after he trained his first winner of the race which was Arctic Coast in 1968.
James said he could remember Sirmione’s win in 2008 and Saintly’s win in 1996 made a huge impression on him as a boy.
“You look at his record it was phenomenal for so many reasons. One was in in terms of time as he trained his winners over such a long period,” Cummings said.
“He was competing at the top level for 60 years. That’s unheard of in any field.”
“When Sirmione won Bart was a long way into his career and Saintly was one of the greats. It was the win which established him as a rising star.”
Cummings made the race his own in the 1970s where he trained five winners including four in a row between 1975 and 1978.
His Australian Cup winners include champions Leilani (1975), Ming Dynasty (1978 and 1980), Hyperno (1981), Let’s Elope (1992) and Saintly in 1996.
Cummings also has the best record in the Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap having won eight times which is double the next most successful trainer.
His last Newmarket winner was in 1991 with Shaftesbury Avenue.
“His record in the Australian Cup is one which will never be beaten and also his Newmarket record probably won’t be surpassed ever,” James Cummings said.