Richard Freedman has had a long and successful career in the racing industry being one quarter of the all-conquering FBI (Freedman Brothers Incorporated) team, a member of the racing media through SKY Channel, racing administration with the AJC and now enjoying success again as a trainer in Sydney.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Richard about his current training success and the state of racing in NSW and Australia and we also take a look back at his time with FBI and his tips on doing the form.
In the 90’s the FBI were running wild knocking up Group 1 success. How do you look back on that time?
Looking back it was really good fun, we worked really hard, harder than what other people thought at the time. It was a constant learning cycle and those lessons have made me the trainer I am today.
So many great horses of the turf through that period, do you have a favourite?
Naturalism, I was involved with him since he was yearling and I rate him second to Makybe Diva as the best horse to come under the Freedman banner. He holds very good memories for me.
Is there a betting coup story from that time?
The one that comes to mind is Sitting Bull who was a 5yo maiden racing in Canberra on a Sunday. Back then at those meetings all the big Sydney bookmakers from that period like Bill & Robbie Waterhouse would come down to field. It was the first horse Lee had under his name and they put up 33/1 we continued to back it in to 6/1. It saluted and paid for new stables for us in Melbourne.
How do you look back on your time at the AJC as executive director of racing operations and what do you consider to be your biggest achievement?
It was a learning experience on how the administration of a racing club actually works. A lot of people think they know, but it’s not until you are in there you see the workings of a race club.
I think it would have been the licensing of 80 trainers of Warwick Farm and Randwick.
With a 45%+ winning strike rate for you currently in NSW racing what do you put that down to?
You can put that down to a lot of different things. The excellent team that is currently in place, the knowledge I have acquired over the journey and the facilities we have to train the horses. Placing the horses in races where they can be competitive and also having horses that can run a bit helps! *laughs*
How do you see the current state of racing?
In NSW I think it is travelling well. We have had prizemoney increases and the facilities are good for trainers. Nationally it’s still the states running their own race. A national approach is needed however with all the states income streams from different avenues I highly doubt anything will change in the next ten years and racing will continue in its current state. I would love to see a national body to racing. I hope I’m wrong and it does happen.
What is one piece of form you like to see in a horse if you are looking to have a bet?
The stats show more horses that are above the benchmark win more races than those below. So I guess the piece of advice I can give and what I look for is does this horse have the class figures to be winning the race it is competing in today. That’s always a good starting point.
What is the next chapter of the Richard Freedman story?
I will probably go full circle again *laughs*. I would like to have no more than 30 – 40 horses in work just the quality of the horses increase. Not an easy thing to do however that is our aim at the moment.
I would like to thank Richard Freedman for the chat and wish him and the stable the best of luck going forward.