Horse Racing: Legendary horse trainer Bart Cummings dies

Trainer Bart Cummings lifts the Melbourne Cup after Rogan Josh (horse, on right) won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne, on Nov 2, 1999.
Trainer Bart Cummings lifts the Melbourne Cup after Rogan Josh (horse, on right) won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne, on Nov 2, 1999.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Bart Cummings, the most successful horse trainer in Melbourne Cup history, has died in Sydney. He was 87.

Cummings won the Melbourne Cup, Australia's richest weight-for-age horse race that "stops the nation" on the first Tuesday in November, a record 12 times.

Cummings was born in Adelaide in 1927 and despite being allergic to hay and horses, began work as strapper for his father Jim, a Melbourne Cup-winning trainer with Comic Court in 1950.

He got his trainer's licence in 1953 and set up his own stables, landing his first Group One victory with Stormy Passage in the 1958 South Australia Derby.

He won his first Melbourne Cup in 1965 with Light Fingers with Viewed winning the race in 2008, 50 years to the day since he first entered the 3,200-metre handicap that is the centre-piece of the Victoria Racing Club's spring carnival.

On top of his 12 Melbourne Cup victories, which earned him the nickname "The Cups King", Cummings' horses also won the Caulfield Cup seven times, the Cox Plate five times and Golden Slipper four times.

His horses won 268 Group One races, among the almost 7,000 races he won in his career.

As well as carrying the Olympic torch down the main straight at Flemington Raceway in Melbourne ahead of the 2000 Sydney Games, he was the first person inducted in Australia's Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.