Bart Cummings to saddle up once more

Alfred Chan Columnist

By Alfred Chan, Alfred Chan is a Roar Expert

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    At 85 years young, legendary Bart Cummings will be chasing his 13th Melbourne Cup in a spring carnival which wouldn’t be the same without him. Let’s take a look at the Cummings’ best Melbourne Cup hopes.

    A succession plan has commenced in the Cummings yard to ensure the family name will continue on well beyond when Bart gives up the caper. This season, Cummings’ training licences will be shared with grandson James and their horses officially listed in training under J.A Cummings and J.B Cummings.

    In James’ first week as an officially licensed trainer, the 25-year-old scored his first Stakes win when Eurozone produced a dominant performance to win The Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick.

    While Eurozone looks to be the best horse in the Cummings stable at the moment, it wouldn’t be a spring carnival without a few Cummings’ horses aimed at spring majors, ultimately the Melbourne Cup.

    If Cummings is to claim his 13th Melbourne Cup, he’ll need to do it with an outsider because he currently does not feature near the top of any of the betting markets. Of course, we can never rule out the master after he claimed his 12th Cup when Viewed won in 2008 at long odds.

    Here are the leading chances from the Cummings stable:

    Norzita

    Already a two-time Group 1 winner, Norzita is part of the illustrious crop of three-year-olds from last season.

    The four-year-old mare was one of the most impressive in the autumn when she ran third in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic and won the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes before running third in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile.

    With earnings just shy of $1 million, her rating will see her make the Melbourne Cup field if the Cummings boys wish.

    She is nominated for the Cox Plate where she will be one of the big chances. In 2010, So You Think was primed solely for the Cox Plate until impressive performances in the Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes saw So You Think as a late acceptor for the Melbourne Cup.

    Norzita could very well go down the same path but her breeding suggests the distance could be a concern.

    Commission

    Never heard of this horse? You’re not alone.

    This five-year-old Zabeel gelding has had just four career starts and only broke his maiden in his third. He followed that up with another victory at Kembla Grange and has not raced since.

    He has been nominated for the Caulfield Cup so Cummings knows something that no one else does. With his rating, he will struggle to get a start in any race at Caulfield, let along the Caulfield Cup.

    But with Bart, stranger things have happened. Commission is well bred and hasn’t raced for so long; he could enter the season a whole new horse.

    It is extremely rare a horse can go from a maiden to a Caulfield or Melbourne Cup in the space of a few races but seeing him nominated for the Caulfield Cup makes us wonder.

    Lunar Rise

    Lunar Rise has not been nominated for either the Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate but he’s the type of horse capable of qualifying for the Melbourne Cup.

    As a three-year-old, he won the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes, ran second in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas, third in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes and fourth in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes.

    He’s good enough to compete in open handicap staying races. His autumn campaign was not as impressive as his spring campaign but that is not uncommon amongst Cummings horses.

    Lunar Rise is the progressive type who will continue to increase his rating throughout the spring but a Melbourne Cup start is more likely next year.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • Columnist

      August 14th 2013 @ 11:15am
      Alfred Chan said | August 14th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

      Imported stayer Dare To Dream was expected to be the stable’s lead Cup hope until a tendon injury sustained in autumn ruled him out of the spring carnival.

    • August 14th 2013 @ 12:00pm
      Booker said | August 14th 2013 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Has Precedence been retired?

      • Columnist

        August 14th 2013 @ 4:38pm
        Alfred Chan said | August 14th 2013 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

        Precedence is still listed in training under the Cummings but I think they have accepted that he is no longer the same horse he was three years ago. He’s now nine year old and the fact that he was not nominated for the Caulfield Cup suggests he’ll be dropping back in grade this season if he continues to race.

        • Roar Rookie

          August 18th 2013 @ 12:46am
          Joshua Kayll said | August 18th 2013 @ 12:46am | ! Report

          Precedence isn’t quite nine yet. If he gets enough weight I have no doubt Bart will run him in the Melbourne Cup, while he won’t win, he has ran admirably in all three attempts at the race. He’s nommed for the Caulfield Cup too.

          • Columnist

            August 18th 2013 @ 11:31am
            Alfred Chan said | August 18th 2013 @ 11:31am | ! Report

            Ahh, I missed him on the nomination sheet. I still don’t think he’s worth considering though.

    • Roar Guru

      August 14th 2013 @ 12:09pm
      Brad Durrant said | August 14th 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

      Definitely agree with Norzita and think she will be the best cups hope for the Cumming’s stable. In my opinion she looked her best at 2000m in the Storm Queen and l think she will only get better over further. Maybe the reason Eurozone is not nominated for the Cox Plate is that Bart & James believe Norzita has what it takes to do the Cox Plate/Melbourne Cup double.

      • Columnist

        August 14th 2013 @ 4:42pm
        Alfred Chan said | August 14th 2013 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

        Norzita is still developing and she certainly has the classic Cummings staying qualities. Personally, I thought it was a mistake taking her to the Doncaster because I think she would have been more dangerous in the Queen Elizabeth. But that’s just because one of my pet hates is horses stepping back in distance. Had the Doncaster been 200m longer, I think she would have gotten up.

    • August 14th 2013 @ 5:12pm
      EricBloom said | August 14th 2013 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

      Australia’s obsession with Bart Cummings is unhealthy and this article is the perfect example of it. Every year, Ray and the handicappers treat Bart’s horses as if they are on a pedistal and go to every extent to maximise the amount of runners Bart has in the big one. Reading this article, it sounds like the author doesn’t think Bart has any chance in this years Cup but still wrote an article about his non-chances.
      The Melbourne Cup is much bigger than Bart Cummings and his horses are always overrated.

      • August 15th 2013 @ 3:54pm
        kv joef said | August 15th 2013 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

        what silliness … horses overrated … 250+ Group 1 wins, so many multiples of our major G1 races … 12 Melbourne Cups, 7 Caulfield Cups, 5 Cox Plates, 4 Golden Slippers, 32 Derbys, 24 Oaks, 8 Newmarkets … god knows how many Randwick miles, Stradbrokes, 10,000’s, Bris/Adeliade/Perth cups – don’t even worry about counting the black-type that i believe is something like 760 (how many placings?); let alone S.A and Melb trainers premierships. Been training for 60 years = av. better than 12 stakes a year inc. 4/5 G1’s. Horses overrated … hmmm i’ll have to think about that.

        Anyway, me for one, am always interested in his noms. Thx Alfred.

    • August 15th 2013 @ 3:50pm
      kv joef said | August 15th 2013 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

      have to wait for the noms … he just might have a smokey somewhere

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