Lancelot Bromac sets new pace for record books

History will be made at Albion Park on Tuesday when Lancelot Bromac breaks the Australasian standardbred record for most starts when he lines up for his 487th race.

Starting in Race 2, the 12-year-old will go past the mark of 486 set by Destreos following his retirement in February 2020.

Trainer Stewart Dickson, who’s raced Lancelot Bromac in all but five of his career starts, paid tribute to the extraordinary achievement from his old stager.

“They’re once-in-a-lifetime horses these horses, he’s never shown an unsoundness ever in his whole career and he just loves to race,” Dickson said.

“I’m proud to be part of it to be honest with you.

“I just think his constitution is unbelievable, I’ve never had a horse with a constitution like him.

Dickson went on to say that he comes home from the races and bucks around the yard ready to go again.

“His whole racing career he’s never ever put a bad race in, and it’s unusual for him to not finish in the first five,” he said.

“It’s just his consistency is the biggest thing he’s been known for.

“He has got a bit of a cult following for sure – everyone comes up to you and says ‘how far is he off the record’ and all that, that’s been a bit of thing the last few weeks.”

Lancelot Bromac is essentially a part of the furniture at Albion Park, racing every Tuesday.

Lancelot Bromac with driver Angus Garrard and trainer Stewart Dickson

After purchasing into the ownership of the pacer three years ago, co-owner Mitch Manners admitted the approaching record had snuck up on them.

“Only just recently we were sort of made aware of it and he’s passed the milestones along the way like 300, 400 and we thought 400 was sort of a pretty good achievement,” Manners said.

“Once he hit 400, some people started to come out and say he was only 80 odd starts away from equalling or breaking the record.

“You think 80 odd starts is a long way away over a few months, but when they race every week, it’s come along quickly and in the last week or so we knew we weren’t too far away from equalling it.

“The best thing about him is nothing changes with him – it’s no different whether he starts 300 or 500, he does his thing and he tries hard and goes home and more often than not, Stew’s got no reason not to go again because he pulls up so well and just loves racing.”

When asked what the key to Lancelot Bromac’s longevity has been, Manners paid homage to Dickson’s ability to get the best out of his runner.

“Stew is very meticulous in his handicap rating system and he’s got the right benchmark for his horses and that’s why he’s got a number of horses throughout his career that have won not just five or six races, but we’re talking 15 to 20 wins,” he said.

“Stew has a great background of knowing what capabilities his horses have got and what the rest of the opposition are so it all comes down to Stew’s placement really.

“(Lancelot) is a cagey old bugger and he’s got the same traits every time he races, nothing changes with him.

“He can be a bit prickly at the races putting the gear on but nothing ever changes.”

Lancelot Bromac now has 33 victories to his name, as well as 130 minor placings, for $370,842 in prize money.

Dickson and Manners are quietly confident about the chances of adding to his tally in his record race, having drawn barrier 3 for the Tuesday evening running.

“He’s got no gate speed at all but if he runs a genuine race and runs it at a good tempo, he’ll be right down the finish for sure,” Dickson said.

“There won’t be any celebration (of the record) – I think he’s more a people’s horse, everyone knows him and even the people that clean the stables know him.”

Manners echoed the trainer’s thoughts, quietly confident that Lancelot could come home with the chocolates.

“That’s the thing with that old horse these days, the race has got to be run to suit him and he needs the right tempo,” Manners said.

“It was a cheeky sixth place on Tuesday (December 20), so if he can find the right race next week and the right tempo he can run well for sure.

“As we said there’s not much difference in winning 487, we can always win 488 as well – we’ll be setting our sights on the following week after the record, don’t worry about that!”

Lancelot Bromac is still giving his competitors a run for their money, with his last victory coming on August 30 this year.

But even after hitting such an incredible achievement in over 10 years of racing, the inevitable thought of retirement is not something that’s being entertained.


There’s even another milestone that Dickson has firmly set his sights on.

Lancelot Bromac will set a new Australasian standardbred record for most career starts

Lancelot Bromac will set a new Australasian standardbred record for most career starts

“I think he can crack 500, he’s not showing any signs of slowing up or anything like that – he’s full steam ahead,” he said.

“I’d love to get to 500 with him and a few wins in between there too!”

Manners agrees that their old marvel is sure to kick on well into 2023.

“As long as he stays sound and happy and continues to be competitive in the grade that he’s in at the moment,” he said.

“If the placings drop off and he shows no zest for racing at all, I’m sure that’s when Stew will ring me up at some point and say he’s had enough.

“We can probably get another 12 months out of him no problems the way that he’s going at the moment.

“He could easily be up to 550 starts in 12 months’ time and wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

As for a lasting tribute to Lancelot Bromac, several suggestions have been put forward before harness racing moves from Albion Park to the new Queensland Harness Centre at Norwell in 2026.

“He’s had 486 starts and he’s been in the same tie-up rail number 43 at Albion Park all those starts,” Dickson said.

“I think they should put a plaque on the back wall of that stable to be honest…it would be pretty memorable.”

Despite the code being on the move in the coming years, Manners was still hopeful the feats of their grand old stager would be remembered.

“I think Chris Barsby the caller has said a number of times they should build him a statue out the front,” Manners said.

“To break a record of that description, it would be nice to get some accreditation for the old horse anyway.”

A video feature from September 2021, discussing Lancelot Bromac’s unheralded feats.


By Andrew Smith