Inter Dominion Hall of Fame

copyright © Gary Wild

Whip raised high Brian Hancock and Koala King win the 1980 Pacing Championship, Harold Park

Brian Hancock and Koala King parade after their win

Weona Warrior and Brian Hancock in a close finish beat Ultra Jet USA to win the 1994 Pacing Championship, Harold Park

copyright © Clyde Lett Photography

Brian Hancock and Weona Warrior with their Inter Dominion Trophy

copyright © Clyde Lett Photography

Brian Hancock and Our Sir Vancelot with their first Inter Dominion trophy – Adelaide 1997

copyright © Atkins Photography

Our Sir Vancelot NZ and Brian Hancock take out their 2nd Inter Dominion at Hobart in 1998.

Brian Hancock receives the Ern Manea Inter Dominion Gold Medal from IDHRC Chairman, Tony Abell, in 2005

Returning to scale, Brian Hancock and Teeny Rena after her first win at Harold Park

copyright © Clyde Lett Photography

Brian Hancock raises his whip as Our Sir Vancelot wins the 1999 Inter Dominion final in Auckland

1998 Australian Pacing Championship trophy won by Our Sir Vancelot – from left: Bob Lette (APHRC Chairman), Trevor Allamby and Brian Hancock

Brian Hancock and Our Sir Vancelot with the 1999 Australian World Cup Cricket Team – (from left), Adam Gilchrist, Darren Lehmann, Brian Hancock, Ricky Ponting & Mark Waugh

Brian Hancock


“I'd never won a race until I won the Inter Dominion "- said an elated Brian Hancock allegorically in 1994 after winning the South Australian Cup and quoted by Harry Pearce journalist in the NSW Racing Gazette. At that time Hancock had won the Inter Dominion Grand Final twice – once as a driver on Koala King (1980) and again as a trainer of Thorate (1990). Since then he has won the Inter Dominion Grand Final as the trainer/driver of Weona Warrior (1994) and then three times successively with Our Sir Vancelot (1997-98-99) – the latter being a history making feat not equalled until 2008 when Natalie Rasmussen and Blacks A Fake did likewise. His record of five Championship winning drives still stands.

Other Inter Dominion achievements include Grand Final placings - Bundanoon 3rd (1984) and Weona Chief 3rd (1990), Consolation wins with Teeny Rena (1969), and Kingstar (2000), plus 25 heats wins either as a trainer or driver. Overall he has started 33 individual pacers in Inter Dominion Championship heats.

Retiring as a driver in 2003 at 55 years of age he starred again as a trainer, qualifying three horses for the 2004 Grand Final, a feat he first achieved 20 years earlier in 1984. Journalists and the public alike quote him as the “Inter Dominion King” a title well deserved. His achievements and contribution to harness racing were further recognized with his being awarded the “Ern Manea” IDHRC Gold Medal in 2005. However, his record suggests that even if he had not won any Inter Dominion titles he still would be well remembered as a trainer/driver of great distinction.

From humble beginnings in the small historic township of Junee in south-western NSW, and with good fortune coming his way after hard work at an early age, Brian Hancock has become a living legend in harness racing. On retirement his winning drives totalled 2069 including 1114 Metropolitan wins at Harold Park (887), Albion Park, Moonee Valley, Globe Derby Park, Gloucester Park, Hobart and Auckland. At Harold Park Paceway he was seven times Leading Driver for the season.

Born New Years Day 1948 in Junee, Brian Hancock was one of eleven children raised by Cyril and Kathleen Hancock. As a contract shearer Cyril Hancock travelled around the south west and Riverina districts in search of work and was also a well known horse breaker and trainer of animals particularly sheep dogs. Around 1955 Cyril tried his hand at training and racing a pacer - leasing Noorla a mare by Springfield Globe.

Cyril Hancock raced Noorla at Wagga Wagga and other nearby racecourses managing one win and several places before returning the mare to owner WR Heffernan of Noorla Shed at Old Junee. Heffernan in time gave Cyril Hancock Noorla’s first foal Kathsway from whom Hancock bred eleven foals including Jeremy’s Brigade P.1.59 and Cyril’s Girl P.2.06.7ss.

His sons Brian and an elder brother Richard looked on with interest at the breaking in and training of Noorla and there seems to be no doubt that their subsequent moves into harness racing at young ages were triggered by their father’s participation in the sport. Two other older brothers Robin and John had earlier gone into thoroughbred racing and became apprentice jockeys to Roy Roach of Junee a dual trainer of standardbreds and thoroughbreds, and Don Thomas of Wagga Wagga respectively. However, tragically both boys were killed in a car accident near Junee in 1958.

Eager to leave school prior to his 15th birthday Brian Hancock found work around the Junee pastoral area - firstly with Bob Hurley of Bethungra and then with Keith Duck of Junee. Both were farmer/horsemen, and young Brian’s tasks included general farmwork, droving, milk distribution and, more importantly for his future career, he gained experience at breaking in young horses mostly of the standardbred variety.

Fortuitously his next job came with Victor Lawrence (“Pat”) Allamby (b1918) of Victoria Farm, Junee. Allamby was the son of Walter H Allamby who had acquired some standardbred mares in the mid 1930’s and through breeding, he had between 20-30 pacers/trotters on the property when he died in 1963. Assisting Pat Allamby with the breaking in and disposing of the Allamby stock was a great experience for Hancock and an opportunity to evaluate the pacing stock which in the main consisted of pacers by Van Ayr, Fire Bar, and others by colonial sires located around Junee.

A two year old filly by Fire Bar from Fornarina (a full sister by Van Ayr to the champion two year old colt Don’s Ayr (F1945) P.2,2.12SS; 2.07.8SS) took his eye and when he left Victoria Farm he received a lease of the filly now named Teeny Rena and several others to take with him to Bulli in 1965 at age 17. There he joined his elder brother Richard who had been working at the “old” Bulli coalmine for around 5-6 years. Earlier that same year a chemical explosion at the mine had killed 4 miners - the inquiry into the disaster was headed by Judge Alfred Goran later to become Chairman of the first Trotting Authority in NSW.

Working in the mine by night and training his pacers by daylight was a hard life for a 17 year old; however, Teeny Rena made it worthwhile by winning as a three year old at Nowra in early 1966 and then showed encouraging form as a four year old. As a five year old Teeny Rena won nine races including five at Harold Park.

In 1968/69 Teeny Rena had her best season and put Hancock on the road to success. Teeny Rena was then 6 years old and Brian Hancock twenty one years of age when Brian and Richard pooled their resources and headed to Adelaide for the 1969 Inter Dominion Championships. Running 3rd and 5th in the first two heats Teeny Rena won her 3rd heat but was eliminated from the Grand Final by one fifth of a second when four horses scored equal points for three available places.

However, a win in the Inter Dominion Consolation was a great result, and then back in Sydney for the 1969 Easter Carnival Teeny Rena put more gloss on her record when she won the Allstars Invitation FFA and the prestigious Lord Mayors Cup. Shortly afterwards Teeny Rena won a FFA at the Royal Showgrounds in Melbourne and then moved on to Albion Park in Brisbane, winning a top class FFA over 8 1/2 furlongs creating her lifetime record of 2.04.3.

Teeny Rena won only one more race the next season and was returned to Victoria Farm at Junee. Winning 20 races and 24 placings from 77 starts Teeny Rena gave Brian Hancock the incentive later to relinquish his job as a coalminer and establish himself as a public trainer after marrying in 1972.

Teeny Rena’s first foals won to a high level and they formed the basis of Hancock’s early success as a trainer/driver. Brian established his own home and stables close to the Bulli Paceway until he purchased a dairy farm at Albion Park which he called “Teeny Lodge”.

His brother Richard went on to establish a successful stable in his own right, winning the 1972 Inter Dominion Championship Consolation with Polo Breeze at Harold Park. In the period 1970-76 Richard won 101 races including 38 at Harold Park and has won many more since. In 2004 his son Darren trained and drove Jofess to win the Inter Dominion Championship Grand Final and continue the high profile of the Hancock family in that event.

Jikk Adios (F1976) P.1.59.9 proved the best of Teeny Rena’s seven winners winning 43 races and a half sister to him Teeny Teeny (F1981) P.2.03 by Overtrick USA won nine races. Teeny Teeny more importantly at the stud produced the Inter Dominion champion Our Sir Vancelot winner of 47 races and 26 placings for $2,197,990. All Teeny Rena’s produce were trained and mostly driven by Brian Hancock and there is no doubt whatever that the loyalty of the Allamby family contributed greatly to Hancock’s early and ongoing success. They have shared a period of some forty–five years of mutual benefit, and with the grand–daughters of Teeny Rena spreading out and breeding on there is every prospect of more winners in store for the combination.

Brian Hancock raced successfully in every State and in New Zealand. His Inter–Dominion feats are impressive, including winning drives in five of nine heats, plus Grand Final, in the 1998 series, as well as qualifying both Qantum Lobell and Our Sir Vancelot for the Grand Final in three successive years (1997–1999). His driving skills contributed to a record set by his 1980 Inter Dominion winner, Koala King, as the pacer with the most wins (40) at the now decommissioned Harold Park track. He regards Koala King as "a special horse"; the colt was trained by Ray Wisbey, with whom Hancock had a long, successful association, and they shared many feature race victories.

In 2001 he was selected to represent Australia in that year’s World Driving Championship held in Sweden and Finland. He had twenty drives in the series, but a combination of slow horses and bad barrier draws worked against him, securing two second placings only. Nevertheless, the Championship series was a great experience for him, enabling him to visit many European tracks plus Ireland and North America, where he secured some drives at the Dublin track and at The Meadowlands in New York.

In addition to his feats at Inter Dominion level he also drove the winners of seventeen Grand Circuit and Group One races – see Table A for the full list whereas Table B lists his best horses over the four decades of his career.

During the 1980-90’s Brian had so many horses in training that he was forced to engage other reinsmen particularly where he was perhaps suspended or had two or more starters in one race. Each of the following successfully conducted their own stables, but Howard James, Mark Tracey and Trevor Swan were only too pleased to substitute for Brian Hancock and many times they were able to beat Brian when he made the wrong choice of his mounts. In particular the win of Thorate in the 1990 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Adelaide with Howard James and Brian driving the third horse Weona Chief is a prime example.

Mark Tracey took over the reins of Quantum Lobell in November 1997 to win the $50,000 Newcastle Mile in 1.53.1 and on the same horse in January 1998 won the $100,000 Tasmanian Pacing Championship. A few weeks later he won on Our Sir Vancelot in the $250,000 W A Cup.

Overall the three reinsmen won 69 races at least on horses trained by Brian Hancock, who is known as a great conditioner of horses. Both James and Tracey won on Our Sir Vancelot and Thorate.

Retiring as a reinsman in 2003 Brian Hancock still conducts a successful training stable and so his walk of life continues. He has developed his former dairy property into a magnificent picturesque property incorporating a training track and stables at Albion Park south of Wollongong on the south coast of NSW.

In recent years, he has focused on training a smaller group of horses, capturing prizemoney of almost $2m since 2000, and scoring several major successes – South Australian Cup 2004 (Selby Bromac NZ); Newcastle Guineas 2005 (Advance Attack NZ); and the Trans Tasman 2006 (Sweet Fame USA). Nephew Darren Hancock is a frequent driver, but it was long-time friend Howard James who piloted Muscle Beach to victory in the 2008 Australasian Breeders Crown 3 year-old fillies final. Hancock was on a round Australia trip at the time, but was thrilled to win his first Crown title, and also to have the promising pacer Artifactor win the 2009 Junee Cup in his hometown. Strong performances from Vegas Bound are adding to the positive trend, with 8 victories in 2009/10, and a career total of 16 wins from 30 starts at end 2010. Of note is that Vegas Bound is a direct descendent through the maternal line of Teeny Rena, the well–credentialed filly leased by Hancock back in 1965 from the Allamby family.

Brian Hancock continues to be a significant contributor to the industry and his colours black and orange check can always be seen at any major racing carnival in NSW and in the other States. His record five Inter Dominion finals wins is yet to be equalled, and an innovative feature of the 2011 Championships – the Hancock-Purdon trophy for the leading points country - was further recognition of his achievements. It can be expected that he will be involved in harness racing for many years to come.

Thorate (1990)
Weona Warrior (1994)
Our Sir Vancelot NZ (1997-98-99)
Kingstar (2000)
Koala King (1980)
Willadios (1982)
Bundanoon (1984-1985/2)
Thorate (1990/2)
Weona Chief (1990)
Weona Warrior (1994)
Our Sir Vancelot NZ (1996-97-98/2-99)
Quantum Lobell (1997/2, 1998/2)
Courage Under Fire NZ (2001/2, 2002/3)
Sweet Fame USA (2006)
Courage Under Fire NZ (2001)
TREUER MEMORIAL Thorate (1990)
Our Sir Vancelot NZ (1996-1997)
Quantum Lobell (1998)
WEST AUSTRALIAN CUP Our Sir Vancelot NZ (1997-1998)
Weona Warrior (1994)
Quantum Lobell (1997)
Our Sir Vancelot NZ (1998)
Courage Under Fire NZ (2001)
Selby Bromac (2004)
VICTORIA CUP Koala King (1978-1980)
AG HUNTER CUP Try a Fluke NZ (1998)
Courage Under Fire NZ (2001)
MIRACLE MILE Our Sir Vancelot NZ (1997)
Sabilize (2)
THE LEGENDS Our Sir Vancelot NZ (2)
TRANS TASMAN Sweet Fame USA (2006)

NEWCASTLE CUP Tallowood Pursuit
Quantum Lobell
Our Sir Vancelot NZ
Courage Under Fire NZ
Jikk Adios
Deep Rena
Four Penny Dark
Hilarious Gent

Teeny Rena 1962 2.04.3 20 $34,981
Koala King 1972 1.59 78 $680,111
Jikk Adios 1976 1.59.9 43 $251,740
Willadios 1976 2.00.7 36 $180,257
Bundanoon 1977 1.59.5 62 $259,531
Welcome Frost 1979 2.00.7 37 $165,909
Great Ambition 1980 2.02.3 25 $125,757
Thorate 1982 1.53.9 70 $1,329,345
Our Stretto 1982 1.55 35 $164,950
Weona Chief 1985 1.56.9 31 $302,451
Four Penny Dark 1986 1.58.1 31 $300,174
Weona Warrior 1988 1.57.4 28 $534,603
Sabilize 1989 1.55.7 31 $355,056
Our Sir Vancelot NZ 1990 1.55.4 47 $2,197,990
Try A Fluke NZ 1990 1.57 27 $584,802
Quantum Lobell 1991 1.53.1 27 $442,592
Elite Rena 1992 1.59.8 18 $152,847
Deek's Guy 1993 1.55.6 30 $202,708
Kingstar 1994 1.50.8 USA 34 $469,947
Courage Under Fire NZ 1995 1.54.2 41 $1,485,629
Versary 1996 1.49.8 USA 15 $102,575
Selby Bromac 1997 1.57 20 $331,942
Country Ways 1997 1.59 17 $187,760
Sweet Fame USA 2001
(US/Aust Starts)
Aust Starts Only:

1:52.6 USA
1:56.3 MS


Master of Disguise 2002 1:58.4 MS 24 $199,254
Muscle Beach 2004 (still racing) 1:56.6 12 $200,820
Flightpath 2004 1:55.9 12 $290,684
Vegas Bound 2004 1.52.5 MS 16 $142,851

Stakemoney may incorporate win and stakemoney statistics where horse was trained otherwise than by Brian Hancock. Table is in order of year of birth.

1999 Pacing Final
Race footage copyright © NZ Trackside Tape Sales
1998 Pacing Final
Race footage courtesy EVD Pty Ltd
1997 Pacing Final
Race footage copyright © John Rothe
1994 Pacing Final
Race footage courtesy NSW Harness Racing Club
1980 Pacing Final
Race footage courtesy Mike Dickinson

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