Cups king Bart Cummings opened the door to a Melbourne Cup wonderland for Darwin schoolteacher Wendy Green.
The legendary trainer dubbed Green “Wendy in Wonderland”, saying she had stars in her eyes as she pursued a Melbourne Cup dream with her $7500 horse Rogan Josh.
“I’m going to open the door a little bit for you and allow you to have a look at wonderland,” Cummings told her on Derby Day 1999.
“And if you’re game to come inside, on Tuesday you will be Wendy in Wonderland and you will be going home in a Rolls Royce, not in the ‘rent a dent’ that you came down in.”
The fairytale came true.
The Melbourne Cup, and the man known simply as Bart, continue to go hand-in-hand more than two years after the 12-time winning trainer’s death.
As per Cummings’ wishes, 149 of his trophies and awards have been moved from the family home and offices at Princes Farm to a permanent trackside display at Flemington which was unveiled on Thursday.
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) October 5, 2017
They include his 12 Melbourne Cup trainer’s trophies, the 1996 Melbourne Cup won by the Cummings bred-and trained Saintly, two Caulfield Cups and four Cox Plates.
James Cummings, who trained in partnership with his grandfather and is now the Godolphin racing empire’s Australian head trainer, has kept Bart’s training notes.
“I use them often,” he said.
“The Godolphin veterinarian Trevor Robson walked into my office during the week and, pulling his hair out, he said ‘the textbooks on your desk look too old, someone get him some new textbooks’.
“I thought to myself I’m pretty happy with the ones I’ve got here thanks doc.”
Trainer Anthony Cummings was proud to see his father’s passion on display at Flemington.
“It does drag a tear out of you,” he said. “A man’s life’s work sits there, and it was a pretty good life, pretty busy.”