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The Queensland racing industry has lost one of its most admired servants following the passing of Geoff Burns.

A stalwart within Queensland’s training ranks, the 72-year-old, who came within a whisker of capturing the 1981 Melbourne Cup after El Laurena finished second behind Just A Dash, seemed as comfortable at Flemington as he was at Deagon during a decorated career.

The popular Brisbane trainer steered winners until the very end, with Dunners saluting at Kilcoy on Wednesday.

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said his death had been greeted with much sorrow upon learning the news today.

“Geoff was a much admired and respected member of our training ranks who will be sorely missed,” Mr Parnell said.

“He was a popular figure with his fellow trainers – and the industry more broadly – and was a horseman who boasted incredible knowledge.

“While he had scaled back in recent years, his training feats with El Laurena are well known and we extend our condolences to his family and friends.”

With the legendary Kingston Town among the horses that El Laurena beat home, the tough, front-running stayer was perhaps Australia’s most unlucky horse at one stage, placing in some of the nation’s most prestigious Group 1 races including the Melbourne Cup, Brisbane Cup, Doomben Cup, AJC Derby and Metropolitan Handicap.

Over the years, Burns also trained smart sprinters Crawford and King Capri, while in more recent times, he enjoyed success with Ashgrovian, Catch Candy, Benno First and Classy Ruby.

Racing Queensland extends its condolences to the Burns family.

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