Australian Group 1 winning trainer John McNair, who was best-known for star sprinter Hay List (Statue Of Liberty), has died after a short illness.

His wife Sue and extended family issued a statement saying McNair had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four weeks ago.

“John lived a wonderful and colourful life doing what he loved,” the statement said.

“From humble beginnings as a backyard owner-trainer in Western Australia to Group 1 success from his base at Somersby in NSW, John enjoyed the highs and lows of racing but was forever grateful for the many great friends he met along the way, be they owners, jockeys, trainers, stable staff, administrators, raceday staff and volunteers or the racing public and punters.

“Hay List won 15 of his 28 starts and was the main rival of unbeaten champion Black Caviar (Bel Esprit).