RACING Victoria on Thursday evening announced that the Australian Group 1 Trainers Title had been renamed the Bart Cummings Award in honour of the contribution the master trainer has made to the sport of thoroughbred racing over 60 years.

At the annual Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards, held at Peninsula, Docklands, the inaugural Bart Cummings Award was presented by the training great to premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller.

The award recognises the trainer who achieved the most Group 1 victories across the racing season, with the former New Zealand horseman training nine Group 1 winners during 2012-13.

Waller’s Group 1 victories came courtesy of Shoot Out (two), Hawkspur, Royal Descent, Foreteller, Sacred Falls, Reliable Man, Red Tracer and Beaten Up.

The renaming of the award was part of a celebration of Cummings’ 60 year-tenure as a trainer, having this year reached the milestone, while also entering a training partnership with grandson James Cummings.

RV’s Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Saundry, described the renaming of the award as a befitting celebration of Cummings’ remarkable career.

“This evening the Australian racing industry was able to celebrate and acknowledge the incredible career of one of its most recognisable faces by attaching the name of Bart Cummings to an award that recognises a trainer that has excelled at the elite level,” Saundry said.

“Bart Cummings is a name synonymous with Group 1 success and he counts 12 Melbourne Cups, 13 Australian Cups, seven Caulfield Cups, five Cox Plates and more than 50 Oaks and Derbies among his big race victories.

“In 2001 Bart was an inaugural inductee into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, in 2008 he was elevated to the status of Legend and tonight we had the privilege of cementing his association with Group 1 victories, by announcing the Bart Cummings Award.”

Guests at the awards evening were treated to a video montage of the 85-year-old’s career feats, including the final stages of some of his most thrilling victories, excerpts from interviews and rarely seen vision, along with a phantom racecall by Greg Miles of Cummings’ greatest horses.

As part of its celebration of Cummings’ career and contribution to racing, RV this week launched ‘Bart – A Celebration of 60 Years’ at featuring replays of Cummings’ 12 Melbourne Cup victories, an image gallery and career timeline.

The celebration will be continued across the weekend, with a commemorative wall online for the public to share their Cummings highlights and pay tribute to the doyen of Australian racing.

Also presented at tonight’s ceremony was the Australian Group 1 Jockey Award, with Sydney-based pair Hugh Bowman and Kerrin McEvoy sharing the accolade after each piloting seven Group 1 wins during the 2012-13 season.

Bowman’s success came aboard the likes of Cummings’ star filly Norzita and iron galloper Shoot Out, while McEvoy saluted aboard talented juvenile Guelph and Victorian speedster Bel Sprinter among others.