Spring Carnival: Anthony Cummings proud of family dynasty on Derby Day

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Four in hand: (clockwise from left) Anthony and Bart Cummings; Jim Cummings; and James Cummings. Trainers Anthony Cummings and son James are continuing the family business. Photo: Peter Rae
Nanjing Night Net

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For Anthony Cummings, it wasn’t so much that his son James had become a fourth-generation Derby-winning trainer at Flemington on Saturday, upholding the amazing family dynasty, it was just as much how hard the entire Cummings family had worked to ensure that success.

While a throng of commentators followed every move the younger Cummings made, Cummings senior stayed away from the track, proud, but aware that it was his son’s time to be in the limelight.

A win in another spring carnival may have felt like a long way off for the Cummings family in1999 when Anthony Cummings was facing a two-year disqualification for the use of the anabolic steroid Trenbolone.

Trenbolone, which was sometimes used in the treatment of cattle to increase muscle growth and appetite, was a prohibited drug under the rules of racing and for the famous son of Bart Cummings, it looked to be a career-shattering error.

“It was a very difficult time, but one that showed the benefit of a strong family,” Anthony Cummings said this week. “I know dad was pretty grumpy about me getting time, but at the same time he was helpful.

“When I was getting back on my feet in 2002 the kids – Bartholemew, Lauren, Edward and the youngest James – were just teenagers, and I said `look I’m not going to be able to pay you much but can you come and join me and try and make ends meet’.

“None of them batted an eyelid, they were in there mucking out boxes, taking horses for a walk, all of the little things that make a racing stable go and they were just getting pocket money.

“I had an old bloke in Sydney called Hunter, he came in and did the feeds and I brought old Harold Light, an old jockey friend of mine who came in and rode all the trackwork,” he said.

And so the operation was kept alive and eventually relaunched. Cummings reflecting on Sunday: “If ever there was a good time to go broke it was then because I saw how the family could rally and we could get through.

Sons Edward and James discovered a real love for horses and racing at this time, he said, and went on to make careers in the industry.

“The other two didn’t, but they’re happy and I don’t think you could ever be prouder of your family working as a team to refloat the business.”

“And it’s on again, I’m now a grandfather and now another generation is part of this growing dynasty.”

“They can tell their children that when a family can come together to get things right you can just about do anything,” he said.

“The hotter the fire, the stronger the steel. That’s just what we’ve learnt to relish.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.