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Tue 4 May 2021

By Jordan Gerrans

Five-time Melbourne Cup winner Lee Freedman does not expect to play a massive role in the 2021 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.

But come 2022, the legend of Australian racing aims to make his mark back in the Sunshine State.

The respected horseman has relocated from Singapore and will now base himself on the Gold Coast, with his new stable set to be fully operational as early as the 21st of this month.

The 64-year-old has been busy snapping up yearlings and will build his new-look team with young horses, while also declaring he was on the hunt for tried horses over the next few months to add to his growing stable.

Speaking at the launch of the 2021 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival late last week at Eagle Farm, Freedman is loving being back in Queensland at this point of a year, a state where he has trained plenty of big-time winners.

“It is terrific, I have been missing it the last few years being in Singapore, we probably did not bring many up to Queensland for a year or two before we eventually went overseas,” Freedman said.

“So, it has probably been seven years since we were apart of it - it is great to be back.

“The climate here is so good over the winter, it has benefits and advantages to come here.”

He described basing himself at the Gold Coast as a “no-brainer”, remarking on the new opportunities through increased prizemoney that will come through growth in the south-east Queensland area.

Just weeks after The Gold Coast Turf Club’s $38 million transformation into an international night racing attraction was officially confirmed, Freedman says the multi-million-dollar project at Aquis Park will benefit all participants in Queensland.

“They’ve been granted $38 million to do all the upgrades to the place, including the stabling, so it’ll be a pretty good place in another couple of years,” he said.

“I just felt the lifestyle and the racing, particularly with the improvement over the next couple of years which have been promised, is going to make it a pretty exciting place.”

While he was one of the stars of the show at the launch of the TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, Freedman played down expectations in the short term.

Describing the upcoming period as a “quiet carnival” for his new-look operation, he says he will be recruiting tried horses from other Queensland stables, as well as from down south, to get back into the swing of things come the back end of 2021 and into the new year.

The Hall of Famer also reflected on his previous Queensland Winter Racing Carnival champions that helped launch his career.

“My fondest memories would be Durbridge and Paris Lane quinellaing the Doomben Cup, we have won four or five of those,” he said.

“Danasinga’s Stradbroke, probably Mahogany’s wins they were all really good, but there was a few more, too.

“It is always a great time of the year.

“We won a lot of big races over the years with my brothers, Stradbrokes, Derbys and Oaks' – things like that.”

The new-look TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival heads to the Gold Coast this week, with the day headlined by the Group 2 TAB A.D. Hollindale Stakes, as well as two Group 3 races and several Listed events. 

Click here for full details on the 2021 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival feature races.