A Victorian by birth and a jockey in his younger days, Heagney had the distinction of riding the winner of the last race ever held at the old Mentone racecourse.
Heagney moved to South Australia, continued his riding career for a further 10 years until injury forced him out of the saddle, and then took out his trainers' licence. In 1961 he got his first stakes winner when Mikadis won the Goodwood Handicap. He then produced the brilliant two-year-old Proud Miss which won nine successive races in Adelaide and Melbourne before running second in the 1962 Golden Slipper Stakes. In 1963 came one of the high points of his career when Gatum Gatum ran second in the Caulfield Cup and then took out the Melbourne Cup. In 1963-64 Heagney won the Adelaide trainers' premiership.
The most brilliant galloper to pass through Heagney's hands was Tobin Bronze with whom he won the Victoria Derby, Toorak Handicap, Underwood Stakes, Caulfield Cup, Doncaster Handicap, Cox Plate (twice), Mackinnon Stakes, and All-Aged Stakes. With Tango Miss he won the 1970 VATC 1000 Guineas, the 1971 William Reid Stakes and the 1972 Goodwood Handicap, while Idolou won for him two Futurity Stakes. He twice won the Adelaide Cup, with Borgia in 1957 and Rain Lover in 1968.
In the latter years of his training career he was associated with prominent owner, Felipe Ysmael, for whom he trained many winners.
Heagney was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.
Image Source: Atkins Photography