In the ornate surrounds of St Mary’s Cathedral, one gold icon stood out from the rest on Monday as people gathered to farewell Bart Cummings.
Saintly’s 1996 Melbourne Cup sat beside a statue of the Virgin Mary as symbols of the late trainer’s two great faiths in life.
A deeply religious man, Cummings had an unerring belief in, and affection for, racehorses and trained them better than just about anyone else.
His 12 Melbourne Cup wins will stand the test of time, along with Don Bradman’s Test batting average of 99.94, as records not to be broken.
Cummings bred Saintly and sold a share to his good friend Dato Tan Chin Nam.
Known as the “Horse from Heaven” because of his name and his jockey, the devout Darren Beadman, Saintly would become Cummings’ 10th Melbourne Cup winner.
As his owner, Cummings got to keep the big trophy along with the trainer’s smaller replica.
Saintly enjoys a comfortable retirement on Cummings’ beloved Princes Farm property in north-western Sydney.
On Saturday he returned to his former home, Randwick Racecourse, to play his part in a day dedicated to the memory of Cummings.