The Bart Cummings is a Group 3 quality handicap race of 2500 metres staged at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne in early October.
A big attraction of the race is that the winning horse receives a ballot exemption for the Melbourne Cup.
The Bart Cummings Race Details
Race Distance: 2500m
Prize Money: $750,000
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When Is The Bart Cummings: 5/10/2024
What Time Is The Bart Cummings: TBA
Where Is The Bart Cummings: Flemington Racecourse
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More Details About The Bart Cummings
Prizemoney for the race was boosted from $500,000 to $750,000 from 2021. Both figures are equivalent or better than the prizemoney for some Group 1 races. The first beneficiary of that big rise from 2020 to 2021 was Grand Promenade of Great Britain that took the first prize of $450,000 along with a tidy $1300 bonus. Grand Promenade turned the ballot exemption into a sixth place finish in the 2021 Melbourne Cup won by Verry Elleegant.
A pom horse winning the race was no surprise, as they start to show up in Australia for the Melbourne Cup.
History of The Bart Cummings
The Bart Cummings is a newer race, having first jumped in 2000. For the first three years, the race was known as the Banjo Paterson Handicap.
A race named for a famous poet is not a common occurrence, but Paterson is one of the key players behind the unofficial Australian National Anthem – “Waltzing Matilda.”
Legend suggests that he took the moniker Banjo in honour of his favourite horse. We think the horse in this case was a Banjo from Great Britain that foaled in 1879.
We suppose that a famous poet deserves a raced named in his honour almost as much as does the trainer who prepared 12 Melbourne Cup winners, but it would be a nice demonstration of egalitarian equality if a collection of verses were published under the name of “Top 12 Sonnets About 12 Melbourne Cup Winners.”
Banjo Paterson’s full name was Andrew Barton Paterson. Barton could be shortened to Bart, so Banjo Paterson sort of lives on.
As to the other pertinent history of The Bart Cummings, the race was classified as a handicap from 2000 – 2006. It was lifted to Listed status in 2007 and Group 3 status beginning in 2014.
It has always been a stayers’ race, with only 50, 40 or 20 metres added in certain years.
The Bart Cummings has always jumped at Flemington.
Race Venue for The Bart Cummings
Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne is the best-known track in Australia, although the Wise Men of the East might hold a different view that favours a certain Sydney racing venue.
There are many notable races staged throughout the year at Flemington, which is sometimes referred to by many people simply as “Headquarters.”
The most notable race, of course, is the Melbourne Cup, first contested in 1861. Racing was taking place at the site as early as 1840. The course is set up to accommodate jumps and Steeplechase, as well as Thoroughbred flat racing.
Other important races are the Victoria Derby, LKS MacKinnon Stakes, the Newmarket Handicap and the Australian Cup.
Flemington stages 14 Group 1, nine Group 2 and 14 Group 2 races over the course of a year.
It is an enjoyable site when the gallopers head down the back straight with the picturesque Maribyrnong River.
Flemington can stage sprints of up to 1200 metres without requiring the gallopers to make a single turn. Racers sprint down the “Straight Six,” a reference to the days when races were measured in furlongs and Flemington offered a six furlong straight for sprint races.
The course is a pear-shaped oval. For a 2500-metre race like The Bart Cummings, the racers start on the home straight not far from the finish line, and then make one entire circuit and a bit more to finish in front of the stands on the north side of the facility.
Racing History of The Bart Cummings
A newer race such as this does not supply extensive racing history, but the ballot exemption to the Melbourne Cup makes it very interesting for us to examine the winners and see how they fared when they jumped in the Melbourne Cup.
We will be looking for dual winners of both races, of course, along with actual finishing position in the Melbourne Cup, or possibly a winner of The Bart Cummings that did not line up in the Melbourne Cup.
We will also be checking for good progeny by past winners, although there may not be much owing to the fact that The Bart Cummings is a newer race.
The winner of the first The Bart Cummings in 2000 was Brew.
He was a New Zealand gelding by Sir Tristram out of Horlicks that foaled in 1994. Trained by Michael Moroney, Brew was okay, but not exceptional. He won over $2.3 million because one of his seven wins was the 2000 Melbourne Cup. He had lined up in the 1999 Melbourne Cup and finished 10th in the year the race that stops a nation was won by Rogan Josh. In the lead up to his 2000 Melbourne Cup win, Brew won a Listed race at Flemington and backed with a second place in the Group 2 Moonee Cup, followed by a win in the Group 2 Saab Quality Handicap at Moonee Valley.
Brew’s win in the Melbourne Cup produced one of the faster winning times and a fast time was necessary because the winning margin was just a head. He jumped from barrier 22, which makes the win more impressive, if such a thing is possible.
The winner of The Bart Cummings in 2001 was Touch The Groom.
He was a plodder that won only five times, with five placings, from 37 jumps. He was another gelding. The first win of note by Touch The Groom was a Listed race, the McKell Cup, at Rosehill in June of 2001.
His win in the Bart Cummings came while the race was still considered a minor handicap race. He did not make it into the Melbourne Cup, perhaps because his connections suspected that their horse did not have enough class to line up.
The winner from 2002, the gelding Freegold, made 61 humps for 9 wins and 11 placings. His career earnings were below $200,000, so the racing world lost nothing when Freegold became a gelding.
After winning The Bart Cummings, Freegold brought up the rear in the Group 3 Geelong Cup, 25 lengths behind Media Puzzle, so Freegold did not get a slot in the Melbourne Cup. Most of his jumps were on country tracks and the few times he got onto the main stages, he was often at the back.
These sorts of mediocre winners are typical in the early years of a race, so it comes as little surprise that only Brew to this point was able to do anything.
The issue is further complicated by the dearth of purpose-bred stayers and the scarcity of true staying races.
Vicksburg from 2003 was yet another whose parents were never to be given the blessing of grandchildren. He only made 20 jumps for just two wins and nine placings. He had a second to Mummify in the Group 1 SA Derby, but Mummify beat him to the line by over two lengths. He was behind Mummify again, even further this time, in the 2003 Caulfield Cup. Vicksburg did not jump in the Melbourne Cup.
Yakama from 2004 was the first mare to win The Bart Cummings. Like the other winners outside of Brew, she was average, winner of eight with six placings from 42 jumps and a little above $300,000 in earnings.
She had a Group 2 win in 2003 when she beat Physique comfortably, with Vicksburg into third, to take the post in the Winning Edge Presents Stakes.
She was eighth when she lined up in the Melbourne Cup in 2003, the first year of Makybe Diva’s three straight Melbourne Cup wins.
Yakama produced three named foals, the last being Tiponi by Sizzling, a mare that won minor stakes and only raced four times.
After her win in the 2004 The Bart Cummings, she tried the Caulfield Cup and once again occupied the back of the bus in a race that was won by Elvestroem from Makybe Diva.
Bugatti Royale was the winner in 2005. He made 68 jumps, so we automatically like this gelding, but he only won 9 races and placed in 15. His earnings were below $250,000. He never made it to the post in the Melbourne Cup. The Bart Cummings was now Listed when he won, but the majority of his racing was done on the country tracks. He fell in one race and failed to finish in two others, so he was really a tough biscuit, as well as a dangerous one, to line up against.
It was a better gelding that won the race in 2006.
His name was Irazu.
He made 68 jumps for 4 wins and 18 placings and took in a little over $570,000 in prizemoney. He had a pretty good run in the Group 1 SA Derby in 2006, placing third. After winning The Bart Cummings, he tried the races many of the other before him had. He was ninth in the Geelong Cup and second in the Saab Quality. He produced a second to Gallic in the 2007 Sydney Cup, but after that, he was mainly raced in below-Group level races, although he did get on the bigger tracks quite a few times.
The winner of the race in 2007 was another gelding, Dolphin Jo.
He made 53 jumps for five wins and nine placings and $686,000 in prizemoney. He tried the Melbourne Cup in 2006 and finished 15th in the year the race was won by Delta Blues.
His win prior to The Bart Cummings was 18 jumps in his past. His effort in the 2007 Melbourne Cup produced a respectable fifth place finish, with the race that year won by Efficient.
The first and only dual winner of The Bart Cummings was Light Vision from 2008 and 2009. Yet another gelding, Light Vision made 63 jumps for 13 wins and 13 placings for $736,000 in prizemoney.
After the 2008 win, Light Vision tried the same races that many of his predecessors had, with a fourth place finish in the Geelong Cup and a second in the Saab Quality. Next came a second in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
He tried the Caulfield Cup after his second win of The Bart Cummings in 2009, where he finished 17th.
Harris Tweed was a New Zealand gelding that earned over $1.4 million from 31 jumps for 4 wins and 10 placings. His 2010 win of The Bart Cummings came after he had established himself as a legitimate contender. His jump in the 2009 Melbourne Cup won by Shocking resulted in a fifth place finish.
His win in the 2010 race preceded a second to Descarado in the Caulfield Cup and a fifth in the 2010 Melbourne Cup that went to Americain. The Bart Cummings was his last win.
Mourayan was an Irish horse that took the race in 2011.
He won over $2.1 million from 45 jumps for 5 wins and 14 placings. His next start was the Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes, where he was beaten three quarters a length by Glass Harmonium. He had a Group 1 win when he won the 2013 Sydney Cup.
Mourayan is standing in the U.K., where he has two colts to his credit.
Tanby was the winner in 2012.
This gelding earned just above $1.1 million from 24 jumps for 11 wins and 9 placings. His first good win was the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes. He did notch a win over a 3200-metre trip, but it was the Group 2 Adelaide Cup in South Australia.
An entire by High Chaparral was The Bart Cummings winner in 2013.
It was Araldo. He made 16 jumps for four wins and six placings to earn almost $500,000. He had a fifth in the 2014 Caulfield Cup and a seventh in that year’s Melbourne Cup won by Protectionist. It was the last race for Araldo.
There was no indication of progeny sired by Araldo.
Finally, a recognisable winner in 2014 was Who Shot Thebarman.
This Kiwi gelding won over $4.5 million from 57 jumps for 11 wins and 11 placings. After winning The Bart Cummings, he tried the Caulfield Cup, but was well back in 13th. He ran third in that year’s Melbourne Cup, but he was well back of the winner Protectionist. He ran second to Grand Marshal in the 2015 Sydney Cup. He was 11th in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, beaten by the boilover $101 horse Prince Of Penzance.
The last win for Who Shot Thebarman was the 2018 Sydney Cup.
The 2015 winner was Let's Make Adeal.
She was the second mare to win The Bart Cummings. She had 31 jumps for four wins and nine placings for $563,000 in earnings.
Her win was her last jump.
She dropped a filly by Snitzel named Game Legend that as of July 2022, has made five jumps for one second.
A Melbourne Cup winner named Almandin won The Bart Cummings in 2016. His career earnings were over $5.3 million from 20 jumps for seven wins and seven placings. The other good win by this German horse was the Group 1 Tancred Stakes his last win. He tried The Bart Cummings again in 2017 and ran fourth. He tried the Melbourne Cup in 2017 and finished 12th.
The third mare to win the race was Amelie's Star in 2017.
She earned over $573,000 from 19 jumps for six wins and four placings.
After winning The Bart Cummings, she produced an 11th in the Caulfield Cup and a 14th in her last race, the Melbourne Cup. We do not know of any foals by her.
The British champion Avilius was the 2018 winner.
This gelding won over $3.6 million from 39 jumps for 11 wins and 9 placings. His other good wins were the Group 1s Ranvet Stakes, Tancred Stakes and George Main Stakes. After winning The Bart Cummings, Avilius had a fourth to Winx in the might mare’s fourth Cox Plate win. His run in that year’s Melbourne Cup was a disappointing 22nd, so far behind Cross Counter that he might not have finished on the same day.
The 2019 winner, New Zealand’s Surprise Baby, is a now-retired gelding by Shocking. He won just over $1 million from 18 jumps for five wins and three placings. His first good win was the 2019 Group 2 Adelaide Cup. He ran fifth to Vow And Declare’s 2019 Melbourne Cup win. He then gave Humidor a contest in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes to finish second. A second try in the 2020 Melbourne Cup produced a 13th.
Finally, there was Persan in 2020.
He is still racing. This gelding by Pierro has earned over $1.4 million from his 29 jumps for seven wins and eight placings. His try in the Melbourne Cup off his ballot exemption resulted in a fifth in 2020. He ran a good third in the 2021 Caulfield Cup, but he was well behind the first and second-place gallopers. He was 20th in his jump in the 2021 Melbourne Cup, where everyone was watching to see if Caulfield Cup winner Incentivise could fill the Cups double.
A replay of Persan winning the 2020 The Bart Cummings is available at the following link.
Only Brew and Almandin managed to turn the ballot exemption for the Melbourne Cup into victories.
The race has been won by geldings for the most part, with just three mares taking the race.
The Bart Cummings Past Winners
|2015||Let's Make Adeal|
|2014||Who Shot Thebarman|