With an endless string of runners, octogenarian master trainer Bart Cummings can be forgiven for forgetting a few.
But he was reminded of one in particular on Saturday as he fittingly struck in the first event on the card on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.
Seventeen years after he won the first Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) with Saintly, Cummings took out the event again with his gelding Lunar Rise.
And, just as it was back then, Malaysian businessman Dato Tan Chin Nam – who watched Saturday’s race from a wheelchair – was the part-owner.
Ridden by Hugh Bowman, Lunar Rise ($8) snuck home by a head from Tatra ($6.50) with Proverb ($6.50) 1-1/4 lengths away third.
“Chin Nam said to me that we won the first Carbine Club that was raced here,” Cummings said. “I didn’t realise that until he told me.
“It’s nice to have a winner on Derby day and it’s nice to win for Chin Nam who’s been a loyal client over many, many years.”
Cummings said he had no issues freshening Lunar Rise up for the Group Three mile race.
“There was no problem doing that,” he said. “He’s okay, he was fit for the race and I think he’s done a pretty good job,” he said.
Lunar Rise’s next mission is undecided.
“We’ll sort that out in the next few days, probably by the end of the week,” Cummings said.
Meanwhile, Cummings was impressed as he watched one of his two Melbourne Cup runners, Precedence, work on Saturday morning.
“Precedence with age is working better. This morning I think it’s the best he’s worked ever,” Cummings said.