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Australia Update

19 Jun 2013

Australia Update

Everything on the Gold Coast (pictured) is progressing very well.  David is making progress in leaps and bounds and as one very thoughtful owner said, is “jumping out of the barriers” already.  He is currently spending time each day in the gym and is certainly going to return home fitter and stronger than ever.

David’s sister Sue returned to New Zealand today but we have opted to spend a few days here (avoiding the freezing NZ weather that we are reading about) and will return to New Zealand next week.

We sat up late last night as our niece (Sue’s daughter) Sacha was playing in the first round at Wimbleton in the Ladies’ Singles.  She won her first round convincingly over her Thai opponent 6-3, 6-1.  It was strange watching the computer with live scoring as we couldn’t actually watch the game itself – strange indeed with Sue and I getting very excited over the numbers as they changed point by point in immediate updates!  Who thought watching numbers on a screen could be so exciting (unless it was your horse racing of course)!  It will be Sacha’s final tournament as she has decided to retire from playing professionally and is looking forward to returning to New Zealand soon.  We are set to follow her second round tonight against a very talented Japanese player.

Our Gold Coast Flying Spur filly arrived at Te Akau Stud late last week and has settled in beautifully.  She was oversubscribed and there is a waiting list for shares in her BUT watch this space as we are currently organising another lovely young horse who we will have shares available in soon.

Some racing headlines from here today –

“King Set to Abdicate”

Bart Cummings always swore he would be a lifer.  Retire? and do what? But transitional plans are in place and curtains are being drawn.

Just recently it was announced that Bart would train in partnership with his grandson James.  James is the son of Bart’s son Anthony, but Anthony runs his own race and trains his own way.  James, they say, is more like Bart, even down to the impressive mane of hair.  For him, the partnership is more about the Bart brand and legacy than the man himself.

Bart, 85, has sold his Rose Bay pad and will move to his country property, Princes Farm, north of Penrith.  Bart’s great mate, owner Dato Tan Chin Nam, helped finance Princes Farm when Bart went broke in the late 1980’s.  It’s been Bart’s retreat, where he fusses over horses and saplings, ever since.

Bart has been spending most of his time at the farm and less at his Randwick stables and less still at the racetrack, where he hasn’t been seen for months.  A jolting photo of the great man in recent editions of the Herald Sun revealed why.

Bart, whose glass has always been half full to brimming – a must for any horse trainer – smiled broadly but he was gaunt.  Anthony says that Bart had been in hospital with an infection for three weeks before the photo was taken.  “He’s put on weight since, the photo wasn’t an accurate reflection,” he says. “But there’s no escape he is getting old.”

Saintly Place, atop the Flemington Hill in Leonard Crescent, has been on the market unadvertised, for some time; as if broadcasting it would have prompted the drawing of dire conclusions.

The part truth is that while Bart would seem to be preparing for the inevitable in Sydney, forming a family partnership, the sale of iconic Saintly Place, the base of nine Melbourne Cup winners and dozens of famous horses, is more about logistics.

Saintly Place is the last of Melbourne’s off-course stables.  Traffic is making horse walks to the track dicey.  Property values around Flemington are irresistible.

Bart has applied for a handful of boxes on course but it remains to be seen if the Cummings’ story – a permanent presence, overseen by loyal Reg Fleming – continues down here for much longer.

Anthony says “it’s not my place” to guess if his son will want to worry about about two stables in two states when he eventually trains solo.  But we can guess how things might pan out.  It’s as sad as it is inevitable.

(story from the Herald Sun)

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