Bruce McLachlan began his racing career as a schoolboy in the Cribb Island, Nudgee district of Brisbane, doing chores in the neighbouring racing stables of Mal Barnes. Following a stint as a policeman he returned to Cribb Island in 1968, and set up as a trainer with two horses, Beersheba and Charak, both of whom proved to be winners. With further success and more horses in training, McLachlan moved to bigger premises, first to Bundamba and then to Hendra, adjacent to Doomben and Eagle Farm.

At Hendra McLachlan quickly established himself as one of Brisbane’s leading trainers. His first high quality galloper was Latin Romance, the winner of two starts in Brisbane before McLachlan took him to Sydney for the 1973 Sires’ Produce Stakes where he was beaten by a nose by Tontonan. In addition totalented local horses, he brought into his stable a number of former Sydney horses whose performance vastly improved under his skilled guidance.

In 1978/79, at the age of 36, McLachlan gained his first Brisbane Trainers’ Premiership with 43 winners for the season. In 1983 he moved his training headquarters to the magnificent Thornhill Park complex on the banks of the Caboolture River north of Brisbane, which helped to confirm his position as the dominant force in Queensland training.

McLachlan was to win a further 15 Premierships, with his 78 winners in 1987/88 establishing a record. His total of 16 Premierships is only one behind the record held by Fred Best. McLachlan’s major interstate wins included the AJC Adrian Knox Stakes, AJC The Galaxy, AJC Spring Champion Stakes, VATC Caulfield Guineas, VATC Toorak Handicap and VATC Oakleigh Plate. Phelan Ready, winner of the Magic Millions/Golden Slipper double, was part owned by McLachlan and trained in partnership with his son, Jason.

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