Bart, Ballina, here he comes
By STEVE SPINKS
HE was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame at the same time as the immortal Phar Lap and the iconic Tommy Smith.
And now he's coming to Ballina.
No, Bart Cummings, pictured, isn't going to open a stable at the Ballina Jockey Club, but he is going to attend the Cup meeting on September 8 as a guest of honour.
"He's coming up the day before the Cup and he will go to the Calcutta on Wednesday night," Jockey Club secretary-manager Steve Taylor said.
"I guess it will be a fairly low-key affair for him, but we're all looking forward to it."
Cummings was invited by a Ballina Jockey Club director who is a family friend of the legendary trainer.
The visit of the 11-times Melbourne Cup winner follows on from top jockey Chris Munce's visit to last year's Ballina Cup.
Cummings has an incomparable training record in Australia.
He has trained 244 Group One winners, 11 Melbourne Cup victors and was the first trainer to win premierships in the same year in three different States ? NSW, Victoria and South Australia ? in 1989-90.
He first experienced the thrill of a Melbourne Cup win when he was a strapper for Comic Court in 1950.
It was the home-bred horse of his father Jim.
The sheer weight of statistics of Cummings' career is staggering.
But will the trainer, who has stables at Flemington and Randwick, be bringing up a Ballina Cup hopeful so he can add another trophy to his mantelpiece?
"Not that we're aware of," chuckled Taylor.
For more information about the Calcutta, contact the Ballina Jockey Club on 6686 2603.