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29 May 2013

James Bartholomew Cummings. Still training after 60 years

Today's Daily Telegraph has a story in it, celebrating the 60th anniversary of James Bartholomew (Bart) Cummings' training career.  Sixty (60) years ago today he was granted his trainers' licence.  That's a pretty special achievement.  Most of us grew up with Mr Cummings being part of the Australian racing culture.  We don't see him much on track now.  He's now 85 years old.    There's a lot to like about Bart.  In day's gone by I'd have rushed out to buy a copy of today's newspaper.  I won't, because I'm trying to not collect so many things lately.  But once upon a time I would have.  It's bittersweet, really, for me, when it comes to Mr Cummings and his horses because both of his 2 greatest horses have been tainted with heartbreak.  Saintly with the tendon injury that finished his career.  So You Think, when sold overseas to Coolmore.  

Mr Cummings nominated Saintly's Melbourne Cup win in 1996 as his most special achievement.  I think that's lovely.  It was a pretty special day.  My image of Saintly winning the Cup that year was immortalised on an Australia Post stamp, commemorating the Melbourne Cup.  That image wasn't the first choice.  Australia Post had originally selected an image I took of Makybe Diva winning her 3rd Melbourne Cup, but weren't given permission to reproduce it.  That they chose Bart's favourite horse was completely the right thing to do.  It was another special day on the Australian Turf.  I know that readers, and indeed Mr Cummings, will forgive me for putting the photographs of his horses before the photographs of the great man himself.  After all, if there were no horses, there would be no Mr Cummings, and I wouldn't have taken these images in the first place.

Saintly.  1996 Cox Plate.  Photographed this next to one of my best friends, Natasha Wood.

The Kiss.  Saintly, Mr Cummings, Darren Beadman.
Saintly.  1996 Melbourne Cup.  This image and his memory is immortalised on the postage stamp.

Home from the ill fated trip to Japan for the CF Orr
The 1997 CF Orr Stakes.  Saintly's last race.
Trying to rehabilitate Saintly's injured tendon.  Leilani Lodge.  Randwick.
The dream was over.  Saintly at Princess Farm.

So You Think at Saintly Place. 2009.
So You Think
2009 Cox Plate
So You Think.  Rounding the home turn in front for the 2010 Cox Plate. 
So You Think.  Trackwork the day before the 2010 Melbourne Cup..  I felt anxious about this morning.  I hadn't done anything in the dark for so many years, and felt all at sea to begin with.
So You Think at trackwork.  Les Carlyon's favourite image.

Saintly.  Still a fixture at Saintly Place come Spring.
Bittersweet.  It still breaks my heart to look back.  The truck arrives to collect So You Think from Saintly Place.  5 November 2010.
Leaving Saintly Place.  Hearts were broken that day.
1996 Melbourne Cup - Saintly

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