When Lou Luciani took to the saddle in 1972, a promising career as a jockey beckoned. After eight years, however, he turned his mind to training.
The decision bore immediate fruit when Dallas Dempster, one of the richest and most influential men in the state, opted to pursue a yearning to racehorses and provided Luciani with the opportunity of a lifetime as his private trainer.
Visionary developer of the Burswood resort and casino, Dallas Dempster would build a state-of-the-art training complex opposite Ascot racecourse, then acquire a stallion destined to have huge success in WA and sire many of Dempster’s greatest racetrack performers.
While fortunate for Luciani, it was also a providential move by Dempster for his young trainer would not let him down.
During his career with Dempster, Luciani won a record eight training premierships in a single decade, stretching from 1988 to 1998. The masterstroke behind much of this success was Dempster’s purchase of 1986 Sydney Cup winner Marooned.
A son of English Derby winner Mill Reef, Marooned stood at Dempster’s Tilden Park Stud in Harvey, where he would sire, among many top class winners, two outstanding gallopers in Island Morn and Hardrada.
Both would be guided to Group 1 glory by Lou Luciani. For Island Morn, it was the prized double of the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town Classic in 1994, and for Hardrada, the 2003 Railway after finishing second in 2002. In addition, he ran third in the Kingston Town that year.
Island Morn also won the Group 2 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield in 1995, an Open Handicap at Adelaide’s Cheltenham course, and a
Hyperion and a Scahill Stakes at Ascot, both at Group 3 level. Aside from his Railway victory, Hardrada recorded Group 2
Winterbottom and Lee Steere Stakes wins, and as a two-year old, a Sires Produce Stakes and two Listed Race successes. Marooned’s progeny won a total of 19 stakes races and he would complement those achievements as a broodmare sire.
Luciani’s 2004 Perth Cup winner, King Canute, was out of Marooned’s daughter, Marooned Lady, as was his full brother, Redwoldt, who won the Karrakatta Plate that season.
Luciani secured a second Perth Cup in 2009, with perhaps his favourite galloper, Guyno, who also won a WA Derby, a Mornington Cup in Victoria, and a Lord Reims Stakes in Adelaide.
As well, Guyno ran second in the 2011 Perth Cup and was second in a Kingston Town Classic.
Prime Again was another of Marooned’s stock to shine, taking out the 1993 Group 3 Champion Fillies Stakes and, notably, provided Luciani’s initial eastern states success in the Group 3 Auraria Stakes in Adelaide, before placing in both the South Australian and West Australian Oaks. Prime Again also won the 1994 Coolgardie and Northam Cups and the Group 3 Strickland Stakes at Ascot.
Timeless Action, by Serheed, was also a Strickland winner for Luciani. A star at two, Timeless Action had eclipsed a Supremacy and an NJ Way Stakes that season and placed in three other black-type features.
Serheed also sired another gifted Luciani/Dempster galloper, in Hard Act, who apart from winning a Group 3 Blue Ribbon
Quality, a Melvista Stakes and a Bunbury Cup, in which he deadheated, was only collared right on the line in the 1989 Australian Derby by the TJ Smith-trained star Key Dancer.
In fact, Hard Act picked a bad year to rise to elite level in the West. In the Railway Stakes that summer he beat all but the mighty champion Better Loosen Up in the Kingston Town Classic.
Later in his career, Luciani formed very successful relationships with a range of renowned owners and enjoyed a period where he co-trained with his son Dion.
In all, Lou Luciani has trained the winners of some 30 races at Group level and he now joins the ranks of the select few in WA Racing Industry’s Hall of Fame.
GROUP & LISTED RACE WINS
Railway Stakes: Hardrada (2003), Railway Stakes: Island Morn
(1994), Beat 2 Diabetes: Island Morn (1994)
Perth Cup: Guyno (2009), WA Guineas: Moccasin Bend (2008),
Karrakatta Plate: Redwoldt (2004), Perth Cup: King Canute
(2004), Winterbottom Stakes: Hardrada (2003-2002), Lee Steere
Stakes: Hardrada (2002), Karrakatta Plate: Born Priceless (2001),
Champion Fillies Stakes: Prime Again (1993), VATC Memsie
Stakes: Island Morn (1995)
WA Derby: Guyno (2007), Sires Produce Stakes: Hardrada (2002),
Champion Fillies: Miss Precisely (2001), Sir Ernest Lee Stakes:
Zedamoss (1999), Colonel Reeves Stakes: Wolf Pak (1998), Sires
Produce Stakes: Snooping (1997), Hyperion Stakes: Island Morn
(1996), Scahill Stakes: Island Morn (1996), Roma Cup: Defensive
Play 91995), Sire Produce Stakes: Marooned Lady (1995),
Strickland Stakes: Prime Again (1994), Roberts Stakes: Daring
Smile (1994), Prince of Wales Stakes: Daring Hombre (1993), Sire
Produce Stakes: Rapid Tripper (1992), Bunbury Cup: Hard Act
(1992), Strickland Stakes: Timeless Action (1999), Blue Ribbon
Quality Stakes: Hard Act (1999), SAJC Lord Reims Stakes: Guyno