Popular South Coast of New South Wales trainer Bede Murray has passed away peacefully in his sleep overnight at the age of 80.

Bede Murray. Photo: Steve Hart.

Murray started his training career in 1962 at his Conjola property “Rissmore”, south of Nowra. “Horses in the country do better as it’s closer to their natural environment” was his mantra.

In 1994 he expanded his operation, setting up “Hussars Lodge” at the Kembla Grange racecourse with the assistance of his two sons Paul and Graeme.

“He was a legend and a champion bloke and most of all he was my dad,” Paul Murray told Fairfax. “He lived a long and successful life and won’t be quickly forgotten.”

During his career, Murray was best known for his deeds with star galloper Universal Prince.

The pair combined to win four Group I races – The AJC Australian Derby, Ranvet Stakes, Spring Champion Stakes and Canterbury Guineas. In total Universal Prince won seven of his 30 starts earning more than $2.9 million.

Murray also handled the careers of Group I winners Victory Vein, Half Hennessy, Hussar’s Command and Coniston Bluebird.

In more recent times, Murray holds the honour of being the first trainer to win the Provincial Championships final after Sure And Fast claimed the inaugural running of the race in 2015.

On Sunday at Canberra, Flash Fibian was Murray’s last runner and finished a brave second to Defcon in the Group III Black Opal Stakes.

One of racing’s true gentleman, Murray was a popular figure at carnivals throughout NSW and his words on the Murray Racing website reflect on the man he was.

“I love going to the races, seeing the results you expect. That gives me a sense of achievement and I love seeing the pleasure our owners get out of it.”

Bede Murray is survived wife Edie and their three children Brenda, Paul and Graeme. Murray also had eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.