The Courier-Mail

SALUTES KEEP CUM­MINGS AT THE FIN­ISH

- ROD NI­CHOL­SON

A PER­MA­NENT trib­ute to the leg­endary Bart Cum­mings should be a van­tage point where ev­ery owner, jockey, trainer, punter and fan fo­cuses on ev­ery race.

What more ap­pro­pri­ately ex­posed place to hon­our his legacy than the Flem­ing­ton win­ning post.

Bart won 12 Mel­bourne Cups at Head­quar­ters among a stag­ger­ing 83 Group 1s that in­cluded 13 Aus­tralian Cups, 11 Mackin­non Stakes, nine Oaks, eight New­mar­ket Hand­i­caps and six Vic­to­ria Der­bys.

The bronze statue erected in his hon­our is suit­ably placed in­side the Phar Lap gates at Flem­ing­ton, the Bart Cum­mings Award is handed to the lead­ing Group 1 win­ner of each sea­son, and Flem­ing­ton hosts The Bart Cum­mings, a 2500m race that guar­an­tees the win­ner a start in the Mel­bourne Cup.

How­ever, no place in rac­ing is more im­por­tant than the win­ning post at Flem­ing­ton.

History is made there, be it by a whisker in the case of Du­naden over Red Cadeaux in the 2011 Cup or by the prover­bial pan­els by Black Caviar over any and all ri­vals.

Flem­ing­ton has made the win­ning post a cen­tre­piece in re­cent years. From an al­most in­dis­cernible pole a cen­tury ago, it now is fes­tooned by flow­ers and brass, the piv­otal point in ev­ery race run at the fa­mous race­course. Phar Lap, the equine equiv­a­lent of Bart, ran past it, as did all the cham­pi­ons of more than 150 years of rac­ing in this na­tion.

How ap­pro­pri­ate it would be if all fu­ture win­ners saluted The Bart, not merely the win­ning post.

Who knows, maybe be­ing beaten at The Bart could be­come part of rac­ing’s ver­nac­u­lar.

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