The Courier-Mail

Sun­shine State lit up for leg­endary trainer

- NATHAN EX­ELBY

BART Cum­mings may not have had the same ap­petite for Queens­land riches as coun­ter­part Tommy Smith, but when he did send horses to the Sun­shine State, he rarely failed.

Of­fi­cially, Cum­mings can lay claim to 15 Group 1 wins in Queens­land, dat­ing back to Ful­men’s win in the 1967 Bris­bane Cup and rounded out with Dar­i­ana’s 2010 Derby romp.

Cum­mings cam­paigned his 12th and fi­nal Mel­bourne Cup win­ner Viewed in Queens­land in 2008 when he won the Bris­bane Cup by seven lengths.

His fi­nal fea­ture win in Queens­land came with Prece­dence in the 2013 Premier’s Cup.

He didn’t win his first Strad­broke un­til 1988, but made the race his own over the next decade, with Cam­paign King’s win (still the last horse to do the 10,000-Strad­broke dou­ble) fol­lowed by Ro­bian Steel a year later, then Never Un­der­charge and Dane Rip­per.

Chris Munce guided Dane Rip­per home at juicy odds that day – in stark con­trast to the mon­ster plunge ex­e­cuted on Never Un­der­charge – and has fond mem­o­ries of Cum­mings’ trips to Bris­bane.

“I didn’t ride a lot for him, but one of my big­gest thrills was win­ning a cou­ple of Queens­land Guineas for him on So­lar Cir­cle and Coo­long Road not long af­ter I came out of my ap­pren­tice­ship,” Munce said.

“He was very par­tic­u­lar about the way he did things and in track­work you had to make sure you were go­ing at the ex­act pace he wanted.

“He was al­ways look­ing for sub­tle changes in his horses and he had this knack of get- ting them to switch on for the big­gest races. His horses al­ways looked fan­tas­tic.”

Cum­mings had a pro­found in­flu­ence on the ca­reer of Kiwi trainer John Wheeler, one of the most pop­u­lar win­ter car­ni­val fig­ures of the past 25 years.

“I went to him right around the time of the Big Philou case (in 1969) and was there for about 18 months,” Wheeler said.

“I just ob­served ev­ery­thing he did and each day I would go home and write down the work he gave his horses. He’s the best I ever worked for.

“He had a great sense of hu­mour and he kept that all the way through.

“I re­mem­ber one year I was put up for Per­son­al­ity of the Year in Vic­to­ria and I was up against Bart, Lee Freedman and Greg Hall and I got up on stage and said ‘if this was in New Zealand I’d have some hope, but I’m a 100-1 and drift­ing here’.

“Bart won, of course, and I bumped into him in the bath­room and con­grat­u­lated him on the win and he said ‘yes, I told them you were a great help to me’.

“That sense of hu­mour was al­ways there.”

 ??  ?? NORTH­ERN EX­PO­SURE: Bart Cum­mings with Cam­paign King and jockey John Mar­shall af­ter the Doomben 10,000 in 1988 (left); with cham­pion jockey Damien Oliver af­ter win­ning the Bris­bane Cup with Viewed in 2008; and (be­low) Chris Munce guides home Dane Rip­per...
NORTH­ERN EX­PO­SURE: Bart Cum­mings with Cam­paign King and jockey John Mar­shall af­ter the Doomben 10,000 in 1988 (left); with cham­pion jockey Damien Oliver af­ter win­ning the Bris­bane Cup with Viewed in 2008; and (be­low) Chris Munce guides home Dane Rip­per...

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