Former champion Charles Leck to train in KL
Former multiple-champion trainer Charles Leck will be returning to the training ranks after almost seven years.
The 54-year-old Singaporean's application for a licence was registered last week with the Malayan Racing Association (MRA), together with New Zealander Simon Dunderdale.
Leck and Dunderdale were given six months to secure stabling facilities at any of the four associated turf clubs, failing which their registrations would lapse.
Leck will be setting up shop in Kuala Lumpur. He has been granted 35 stables by the Selangor turf Club.
"I would like to thank the MRA for granting me the licence and the Selangor Turf Club for the stables to embark on my second chapter of my training career," said Leck yesterday.
"I'm really excited to be with horses again. I miss the smell of the horses in the morning and riding trackwork."
Leck, who was champion in Macau three times and Singapore-Malaysia three times, is also back with a life-long dream.
"I would like to train more on quality than quantity. Hopefully, I can get some top horses to travel overseas. It'll be good to bring horses to compete in Dubai or Hong Kong. That's my dream. You never know, if the right ones come along."
Leck has been off the racing scene for almost seven years, including two-and-a-half years on disqualification for being the trainer and person responsible for presenting three horses to race on July 20, 2007.
The urine samples taken from the horses were found to contain the presence of metabolites of Acepromazine, a tranquiliser banned under racing rules. His ban took effect in September, 2009, after a protracted appeal hearing.
During his absence, he was involved in some businesses and travelled frequently overseas.
In his first season in Macau in 1990, Leck finished second in the trainers' premiership with 33 winners. He won the title the next three years (with 58, 66 and 72 winners respectively) before returning to Singapore midway through the 1994 season after saddling 42 winners.
He made his Singapore debut in 1996 and saddled 50 winners. Two years later, he was crowned champion with 76 winners, which included those in Malaysia.
He won the title again in 1999 with 62 winners and in 2003 with 84 winners (solely Singapore).
His career highlights also included many feature triumphs.
He won the Lion City Cup five times (Superb Effect in 2001 and 2002, Classic Marco in 2003, Super Racer in 2004 and Ninetyfive Emperor in 2005).
His three Raffles Cup winners were Emerald Isles (1996), Hippo Valour (1997) and Chevron (2008).
Emerald Isles also captured the 1996 Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
One of his top horses, Pacific Prince, won the Kranji Mile in 2000 and 2002. In 2002, he was also victorious in the Patrons' Bowl with Bon Amie.
Leck rated his late surge to win the 1991 and 1998 championships as his most memorable moments.
"Both years, I was more than 15 winners behind the leading trainers halfway through the seasons, but yet I was able to catch up and emerge as champion with winners and winners every weekend. It was very satisfying when I got there."