Growing up as a member of an extended and successful racing family, Brian Courtney began his career as an assistant to his father, veteran trainer Ned Courtney. In 1951 he took out his own trainer’s licence. Ten years later he was Victoria’s leading trainer.
Courtney was known for being meticulous in his training methods. He insisted that horses were not machines, but must be treated as individuals and brought to their peak by the correct preparation.
During the 1960s Courtney had several high-class horses in his stable. The star was Dhaulagiri with whom he won the 1961 Cox Plate, Alister Clark Stakes, Caulfield Stakes, Blamey Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, St George Stakes and C.B. Fisher Plate. Another quality performer was New Statesman who won the 1961 Victoria Derby, Oakleigh Plate, Williamstown Cup, Moonee Valley Stakes, William Reid Stakes and the George Main Stakes. With Coppelius, Courtney won another Victoria Racing Club Derby, Caulfield Guineas and the Memsie Stakes. He also trained the 1964 Victoria Racing Club St Leger winner, Better Lad, and two excellent sprinters in My Peak and Small Time.
Courtney’s training accomplishments earned him three successive Victorian Trainers Premierships: 1960-61, 1961-62 and 1962-63.
Courtney was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
‘‘I’ve had a darned good life and met a lot of wonderful people I would not have met had I not been in the business.’ Brian Courtney
‘From the time he started he quickly showed that he had real ability.’ Ned Courtney, trainer, and Brian’s brother
Image Source: Janine Courtney