The Australian racing industry is mourning the passing of Bart Cummings, who died at his farm in Sydney on Sunday, August 30, at the age of 87.

His grandson and training partner James Cummings announced in a statement that the legendary trainer had died in his sleep.

“James Bartholomew Cummings OAM, passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning, Sunday, 30 August 2015, in his homestead at Princes Farm, Castlereagh.

“His final moments were spent with his family and wife of 61 years, Valmae, with whom he celebrated their anniversary on Friday.

“For Bart, aged 87, this was a fitting end. A husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; a master trainer and a larger than life figure.
“We will miss you.”

Though training the winners of almost 7,000 races – including 268 Group 1 contests – it is with the Melbourne Cup that Cummings is most readily associated. He saddled 12 winners of Australia’s iconic staying race, starting with Light Fingers in 1965 and, most recently, with Viewed in 2008.

Born in Adelaide in 1927, Cummings started followed his father’s footsteps in being issued a training licence in 1953. In addition to his success in the Melbourne Cup, for which he earned the nickname of ‘Cups King’, he won the Australian Cup 13 times, the Caulfield Cup on seven occasions, as well as lifting five Cox Plates and four Golden Slippers. Among the champions to have been handled by Cummings are Leilani, Let’s Elope, Saintly and So You Think.

Cummings, who was inducted into the inaugural Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2001 and was awarded the Order of Australia in 1982, will be honoured with a state funeral in Sydney on Monday, September 7.