Today’s Melbourne Cup marks twenty years since a horse my father was a part-owner of, ran in the Cup. London Bridge won the Duke of Norfolk Handicap (now known as the Andrew Ramsden Stakes) in 1992, a race over 3200 metres at Flemington just like the Melbourne Cup, and he won it in race record time. His trainer was the Cups master, Bart Cummings, so London Bridge went into Melbourne Cup day with some hope of a good run.
On Cup Day, the rains came and we knew from the Adelaide Cup in May 1992, that London Bridge was not partial to getting is feet wet. The winner of the Adelaide Cup was Subzero and when it rained at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November 1992, London Bridge’s chances decreased and Subzero’s chances increased dramatically. Subbie won and London Bridge ran a brave ninth.
Both London Bridge and Subzero went on to noble careers after their racing retirements. London Bridge served as a police horse with the Victorian Police Force and Subzero was a Clerk of Course horse for 15 years and then became an Ambassador for Racing Victoria. At twenty-four, he still visits schools as part of Racing Victoria’s Community Education Programs and other public appearances.
To mark the 20th anniversary of London Bridge’s Melbourne Cup run, this week’s Trove Tuesday has a Cup theme with newspaper articles about Bart Cummings. Both articles are from the Barrier Miner, a Broken Hill newspaper where, surprisingly enough, I find many treasures.
The first article is from 1947 and a young Bart Cummings, working for his father, had a fall from a flighty colt.
When I first read this story, I thought it was a different horse to that in the next article, 1950 Melbourne Cup winner, Comic Court. However after reading Racing Victoria’s bio of Comic Court I realised that Comedy Court and Comic Court were the same. Both horse and rider were lucky to win any Melbourne Cups!
The next treasure from the Barrier Miner is a photo of Bart Cummings, Comic Court and Deidre Gath, the daughter of Albert Gath, a harness racing trainer, who had stables near Flemington.
I like this photo as it brings together two racing dynasties, one thoroughbred racing, the other harness racing. I also love the way Comic Court is looking at Deidre. Three generations of the Cummings family became trainers, Jim, Bart and Anthony, while the Gath family had five brothers training during the 1950s. Like the Cummings name in thoroughbred racing, the Gaths are still a force in harness racing today. In August 2012, Andy Gath trained the winner of the Group 1 Breeders Crown Final with Caribbean Blaster and last Saturday, an Anthony Cummings trained horse, Fiveandahalfstar won the Group 1 Victoria Derby.