SINGAPORE - The month of December is just a 1,100m sprint in racing terms and that was certainly the case for Michael Freedman, who sent around relatively few runners on the polytrack, choosing to rest his horses with the upcoming turf races in mind.
This left the Trainer's Premiership to be fought out by the Old Master, Laurie Laxon, and his Kiwi compatriot, Mark Walker, with the grand old ambassador of Singapore racing being much too good annexing his eighth Trainer's Premiership and assuring all and sundry that it wasn't over yet and he was well on his way to training another 1,000 winners.
With the support of the Oscar Racing Stable and plenty of good young horses like Bordeaux, Goodman, Joe and Frances - all of whom won in the past month - as well as the likes of Orakei Korako, Straighttothepoint, Daniel, Martin and Dujardin, there are plenty more wins in store for the Silver Fern stables.
Owners are blessed in Singapore having the choice of a very strong and talented group of trainers. While Michael Freedman, Pat Shaw and Steven Burridge are consistently at the top of the tree, there are plenty of others of the highest class.
None more so than Hideyuki Takaoka, who once again proved his talent earlier in the year with the great mare Better Life as well as winning good races with his other girls Bendicion and Gold Rutile before capping off the season with a win by Ladies First on the final day.
Through his partnership with Alan Munro, he managed to lift his winners' total from 20 in 2012 to 42 in 2013.
Cliff Brown (above) also had a good year with 53 winners' up from 36 last year.
His Group winner came early in the year with Tenzing in the Woodlands Classic but he developed a reputation for churning out winners over the 1400m on the turf and with horses like Hot Gold and recent winner Spun Gold in the stable, further successes are on the cards.
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