Henley reflects on a life well lived
BART Cummings had an eye for horses other trainers didn't have.
The man who trained a record 12 Melbourne Cup winners died peacefully yesterday morning aged 87.
Grafton trainer Scott Henley worked as assistant foreman for Cummings from 1995-99, a highly successful period for the stable which included Melbourne Cup winners Saintly and Rogan Josh.
"When I worked for him in the 90s, I saw him there every day," Henley said.
"In my opinion, he is the greatest trainer I've ever worked with.
"Just his eye and timing. He could time a horse to peak on the day.
"He just had an eye for horses others didn't have.
"It was his best attribute as a trainer."
Henley went on to work for other leading trainers, including Gai Waterhouse and John Hawkes before another stint at the Cummings stable as a trackwork rider from 2010-12 from where he moved on to start his own career as a standalone trainer.
He rates Cummings as number one:
"James Bartholomew had an influence on me big time, with feeding and working horses," Henley said.
"'Just be patient, son', he used to say all the time. Patience is what I got off Bart.
"He knew how much a horse could cop and knew when to back off them.
Henley described Cummings as a relaxed man who rarely got upset.
"He was a very good operator," he said. "He never abused his staff. I've seen him give a few jockeys some sprays, but he was a very relaxed, funny man.
"And now he has left everything in good stead. When I was there the second time, James Cummings ran the whole show. I never saw much of Bart then, who was living out at Princes Farm.
"But he saw the future, set up James and his legacy lives on. Absolute genius."
In a career spanning more than six decades, Cummings won in excess of 7000 races, including 268 Group One races.
"Bart was a legend in every sense of the word and a great Australian," Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys said. "He goes down as a legend in Australian sport, up there with the great Don Bradman."
GENIUS: Legendary trainer Bart Cummings died in his sleep at Princes Farm yesterday. PHOTO: AAP IMAGE / DEAN LEWINS