The doyen of Australian jumping race trainers, Jim Houlahan began his thoroughbred training career at a time when most people are planning their retirement.
After many years as a successful building contractor, Houlahan decided to devote himself to training in 1970 at the age of 57. The story goes that at that time Houlahan was the owner of a moderate jumping horse. He offered the trainer some well meaning advice about the horse; the trainer replied that if he knew so much about training, then he should train the horse himself. This he did, and the horse won easily at its next start.
Houlahan's first major win came in 1977 when he won the Grand National Steeplechase with Strasbourg. Since then he has built up an unparalleled record in jumping races: eight Australian Hurdles, two Australian Steeplechases, seven Grand National Hurdles, one Grand National Steeplechase, four A.V. Hiskens Steeplechases, four Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechases, and three Oakbank Great Eastern Steeplechases.
Although a lesser part of his training operation, Houlahan has also enjoyed success with flat racing, with a number of wins at Group level, including the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap.
Houlahan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.