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Cups King on slow road to recovery
5th Oct 2012
Sydney Morning Herald - Chris Roots - Friday, 5 October 2012
Bart Cummings is chasing his 13th Melbourne Cup but feared he would not be able to see it after undergoing surgery that impaired his vision.
The Cups King, 84, has been slow to recover from surgery on his nose because of his allergies to horses and it has meant he has been unable to attend the races since the Golden Rose on September 15.
''Even then I had to be driven out to the races,'' Cummings told the Herald. ''I have been fighting them about having this operation for 10 years and finally agreed and gave in. This is one of the side effects and it's annoying. I don't know why they keep doing [the operation] if it means you can't see.
''I still can't drive, so I have to organise myself a driver whenever I want to go out. I can't stand bright sunlight, because it is too glarey, so I have to stay inside and watch from home. It's improving but it has been very slow.''
Cummings said he could ''possibly'' make an appearance at Super Saturday at Randwick but it is more llikely he will watch Flight Stakes hopefuls Norzita and Duet, and Lunar Rise in the Spring Champion Stakes from the comfort of his lounge room.
He also has imported stayer Sanagas continuing a Melbourne Cup preparation in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, attempting to add to his record 264 group 1 wins.
His frustration levels at being stuck at home rose a fortnight ago when Norzita had the Tea Rose Stakes taken off her on protest.
''Even I could see she should of held onto the race and I have bad eyes,'' Cummings said. ''I sat there watching, quite annoyed about it.
''My filly is going to stay and I reckon she was stronger than the other filly [Longport] on the line. We can make up for it on the weekend.''
Hugh Bowman replaces Corey Brown on Norzita as Cummings searches for a sixth Flight Stakes victory and he also will give Duet, a last-start Kembla maiden winner, a shot at the group 1 as well. ''She is a nice filly and it's a nice race,'' he said.
Lunar Rise will be his runner in the Spring Champion Stakes but it is another import in Dare To Dream, which runs in the Craven Plate, that has grabbed his attention. ''He went all right at his first run but we will learn a lot more about him on Saturday,'' he said. ''There are a few there that are getting ready for the Cup, he is just one of them.
''The spring is going well and [grandson] James and [Melbourne foreman] Reg [Fleming] have everything under control.
''But I will be happier when I can get back out to the track, but it might take time.''
Cummings hasn't won a group 1 since So You Think won the 2010 Mackinnon Stakes. It was that year a health scare landed him in hospital a couple of days after the superstar had won his second Cox Plate before leaving for fame in Ireland.
After missing Derby day, he was able to get off his sick bed and be there to watch So You Think run a gutsy third to Americain in the Melbourne Cup.
The spring would not be the same without him. He is determined to make it to Melbourne for the important dates and may yet be a major player in the nation-stopper again.
''I am hoping to get down to Melbourne for Cox Plate day and the Cup week,'' he said. ''I will just have to get a new pair sunglasses.''