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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