Australian Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman will quit Singapore racing to open a stable on the Gold Coast.
Freedman, 64, confirmed his 2021 plan in a statement after weeks of speculation about his future amid concerns about the state of horse racing in Singapore.
“Now is the right time to renew my ambitions in Australia and I look forward to reconnecting with my Australian owner base,” Freedman said.
Freedman moved to Singapore in mid-2017 and the following year he was crowned the premier trainer in the Asian racing hub.
He said he had hoped to continue training in Australia for established owners from Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
Freedman expects his new stable to be open for business on the Gold Coast in March and he will be an active buyer during Australia’s 2021 yearling sales, starting with next month’s Magic Millions auction.
He says he is excited about the Gold Coast Turf Club’s future as a racing and training centre and its blueprint was a decisive factor in setting up in southeast Queensland.
“Ian Brown, the Gold Coast Turf Club racing manager, has outlined the huge infrastructure development plans for the club culminating in night racing as of 2022,” Freedman said.
“I believe these developments, plus the healthy prize money in southeast Queensland will elevate the Gold Coast Turf Club to an even more exciting racing destination.”
Freedman dominated the Australian racing scene from the late 1980s until the early 2000s, winning 124 Group One races to be fourth on the all-time national list.
He has trained five Melbourne Cup winners with history-making racemare Makybe Diva his most notable after victories in 2004 and 2005 following her 2003 success for David Hall.