The Big Man mourned by hundreds
Hundreds of mourners representing all sections of the Australian racing industry gathered at Caloundra racecourse on Tuesday to farewell champion Queensland trainer Bruce McLachlan.
McLachlan, 67, died of a heart attack last Wednesday and is survived by his wife Lorraine and three sons, Ian, Grant and Jason.
McLachlan won 16 Brisbane trainers’ premierships, a feat many believe will never be broken.
In a moving ceremony, McLachlan’s three sons and his brother, Ian, told the packed service about their love for the man known affectionately as “Big Man”.
Brisbane race caller Wayne Wilson, who was a long-time friend of the trainer, gave a witty eulogy at the service.
McLachlan was a policeman in Mt Isa and trained the odd horse or two in the mining city before he quit the force to start a full-time career training at Cribb Island, now the site of Brisbane airport.
McLachlan’s rise to fame started soon after he trained his first winner at the old Albion Park sand track in October 1968.
He then moved to Ipswich from where he trained Latin Romance who was runner-up to champion sprinter Tontonan in the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick in 1973.
After only a short time training at Ipswich, McLachlan moved to Eagle Farm and within 12 months was in the top 10 trainers in the state.
By the end of the 1970s McLachlan had won his first Brisbane trainers’ premiership but it was only the start of a career which would see him become a real force in racing across the country.
McLachlan won most of his titles from Thornhill Park which he built from scratch to become one of the country’s showpiece training complexes.
A few years ago he decided to sell Thornhill Park because of the cost of maintaining the facility and scaled back to train at Corbould Park racetrack in Caloundra.
Last year McLachlan and son Jason joined forces in a training partnership and in their first year together won the Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast and Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill with Phelan Ready.
By Glenn Davis