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With a collection of trainer’s trophies, plates, memorabilia and other racing collectables previously owned by renowned trainer George Hanlon going under the hammer at Burns and Co, we thought it only fitting to take a closer look at the history of one of Australia’s finest horse trainers.


Burns & Co Auctions are excited to announce the forthcoming auction of horse racing trophies and memorabilia of horse racing icon, legendary horse trainer, and Australian Racing Hall of Famer George Hanlon. Details of the auction are still being finalised but early information can be found here.

The internet is littered with stories of Hanlon’s career and tributes to him as one of Australia’s finest horse trainers. One such quote was from fellow trainer Robert Smerdon in a Herald Sun article on Hanlon following his death in 2010.

“His success in the 1970s and 1980s was amazing. He was competing with the likes of (Colin) Hayes, (Tommy) Smith and Cummings with only a fraction of the horses they had and beating them,” he said.

“In terms of his success with what he had, he could even rate above them. That’s how good he was.”

Hanlon started out his training career in McLarenvale in South Australia following on from the lead of his brother Fred who had some success training trotters. George Hanlon’s first winner, a horse by the name of Lourdes, came at Port Pirie in 1946. The win kick started what was to be a truly remarkable career. It’s also speculated that as a result of staging a betting coup with the then relatively unknown Lourdes, that the money won that day bought Hanlon’s first house and stables at the Epsom at Mordialloc.

In 65 years as a trainer Hanlon built an amazing record. Even at the age of 85, he trained a Melbourne Cup placegetter: eight-year-old Mr Prudent, who finished second to Media Puzzle in the unforgettable 2002 Melbourne Cup that inspired the movie ‘The Cup’.

Hanlon also trained Diatribe to win the 2000 Caulfield Cup, conquering a race that to that point had been a hoodoo event for him, with Diatribe winning in a time that still stands as a track record for 2400m at Caulfield over 20 years later. To add to the tale, Hanlon fell down some steps before the Caulfield Cup and famously received the trophy with his head bandaged.

Then there was the famous Melbourne Cup. Hanlon qualified 50 Melbourne Cup runners in 40 years and won the Melbourne Cup on three occasions with Piping Lane in 1972, Arwon in 1978 and Black Knight 1984.

Few trainers can boast a record like Hanlon’s – 37 Group 1s and 100 stakes wins. On top of those already mentioned he won a number of other well known races such as the Cox Plate (Family Of Man 1977); two Newmarket Handicaps (Correct 1960-61); the AJC Derby (Taras Bulba 1974), the Sydney Cup (Mr Prudent 2001); the Doncaster Handicap (Lawman 1981); the Australian Cup (Kip 1982) and four Adelaide Cups (Gnapur 1969, Amarant 1983, Our Pompeii 1993-94), as well as many other country and regional cups and races.

Details of the auction of the George Hanlon Collection are still being finalised but early information on the Auction can be found here.