Racing

Freedman to make Kranji debut tonight with five runners

Australian Hall of Fame trainer can start after obtaining employment pass

Australian Hall of Fame trainer David Lee Freedman will make his Singapore debut tonight after having obtained his employment pass from the Ministry of Manpower during the week.

Popularly known as Lee Freedman, he has fielded five runners, all from former nine-time Singapore champion trainer Laurie Laxon's stable.

They are Lim's Archer (Race 3), Alfonso (Race 4), Euro Zone (Race 5), Lim's Shot (Race 7) and Dicaprio (Race 8).

Although Laxon's final day at Kranji was last Friday, he was given special permission to extend his time until Freedman obtained his employment pass.

This is now not necessary and the Malayan Racing Association has been notified that Laxon has relinquished his licence.

Laxon will return to New Zealand to train exclusively for his friend Sir Peter Vela.

Freedman has taken over his Kranji stable and most of his horses.

Freedman's presence at Kranji can be seen as a boon for Singapore racing.

His dominance in some of Australia's biggest races over a period of more than two decades was remarkable.

The crown jewel to his accolades has to be his five Melbourne Cups, including two of the three won by star mare Makybe Diva.

He won the "race that stops a nation" the first time in 1989 with Tawrrific, then in 1992 with Subzero and 1995 with Doriemus.

The 61-year-old also captured four consecutive Golden Slippers between 1993 and 1996 with Bint Marscay, Danzero, Flying Spur and Merlene, four Caulfield Cups and two Cox Plates.

Born in a racing family, Freedman made humble beginnings in Warwick Farm with brother Anthony in 1983, before moving to Flemington one year later. They instantly met with greater success in Melbourne, with their first Group 1 winner not taking long to materialise, Miss Clipper in the SAJC Australasian Oaks in 1986.

HIGHEST LEVEL

From that point onwards, Lee became synonymous with success at the highest level in Australia. A whopping 124 Group 1 wins has come his way since, including one captured overseas, incidentally the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup with Mummify in 2005.

He also landed the King's Stand at Royal Ascot with Miss Andretti in 2007 before the race was upgraded to Group 1 status.

Lee has had the distinction of training many champions, arguably headed by crowd favourite Super Impose, a winner of eight Group 1s including the 1992 Cox Plate, two Epsom Handicaps and Doncaster Handicaps twice (1990 and 1991), Mannerism, Mahogany, Naturalism, Schillaci, all in the mid-1990s.

Lee decided to retire in 2011, leaving brothers Anthony and Michael to take over the family business. When Michael moved to Singapore soon after, Anthony helmed the operations alone. Michael has since taken up a stint in Hong Kong.

After taking up various positions in the racing industry including Director of Racing for Lloyd Williams' Macedon Lodge, a training partnership with Sydney-based Graeme Rogerson and an adviser to Sir Peter Vela's Pencarrow Stud in New Zealand, Lee eventually returned to training in partnership with Anthony in 2014.

Racing