Freedman has a Clint in his eyes as new season begins

Trainer Lee Freedman is banking on Mr Clint to give him another first at Singapore’s kick-off meeting on New Year’s Day.

The Power three-year-old handed the Australian Hall of Fame trainer his first Kranji winner a few weeks into his Singapore debut back on September 10. Among seven entries at the January 1 meeting, Mr Clint stands a good chance of repeating that ice-breaking feat in the new season for Freedman.

The five time-Melbourne Cup-winning trainer has since added five more wins from 62 starters all-up, a score considered as decent given the relatively short time he was given to learn about multiple Singapore champion trainer Laurie Laxon’s former string of horses, and which he is evidently hoping of improving on at his first full season at his new hunting ground – starting with Mr Clint on Monday.

Ice-breaker: Mr Clint brings up Lee Freedman's first win on September 10, picture Singapore Turf Club

It is clear that the 61-year-old handler has a soft spot for the horse that got him off the mark at Kranji.

More satisfying even was to see the Oscar Racing-owned gelding go on to prove he was no flash in the pan with a third and a second at his next two runs.

It is that very last-start second to eventual Group 3 El Dorado Classic winner Secret Win in a Class 4 race over the mile on October 15 which has Freedman a little more buzzed up about his comeback and ensuing campaign in 2018.

“Mr Clint is racing again after three months. The El Dorado winner beat him over a mile at his last start,” he said.

“He was my first winner here in Singapore and I’ve always had a high opinion of him.

“He is only a three-year-old and has grown a lot during his break. I’m very happy with the way he has come along and I hope he puts up a good run first-up on Monday.”

Mr Clint makes his racing comeback in the Class 4 Premier Division 2 race over 1200m. Freedman can also count on six other horses to begin the 2018 season on an auspicious note.

“We don’t have a runner in the New Year Cup but we’ve got a fair team going around. I’ve got two of them in the two Class 3 races over 1200m, Augustano who just transferred from Cliff Brown, and Aotearoa who is first-up for me,” he said.

“They both look fit and well. Valbuena is back over a bit more ground in the Class 3 race over the mile while Kings Ryker is the first emergency in the same race.”

Obviously still trying to get to the bottom of his horses, mostly a motley crew of former Laxons and recent stable transfers, Freedman can’t wait to move to the next phase of his fledgling career in Singapore – the day his own new imports hit the ground running.

“I have 12 maiden horses that are getting ready. There is also a former Hong Kong horse, Circuit Land who was reasonably competitive there,” said Freedman.

“He’s six and we should be able to find a niche for him here. I hope he performs up to his Hong Kong form.”