Riverina racing legend Richard Freyer passes away aged, 69

MAGICAL MOMENT: Corowa trainer Richard Freyer and his 2005 Melbourne Cup fourth place-getter, Leica Falcon. A third generation trainer, Freyer died early on Monday.

MAGICAL MOMENT: Corowa trainer Richard Freyer and his 2005 Melbourne Cup fourth place-getter, Leica Falcon. A third generation trainer, Freyer died early on Monday.

BORDER District racing legend Richard Freyer has died, aged 69.

Freyer was a dominant training force in the Southern District Racing Association from the 1970s through to the mid-2000s with his best horse, Leica Falcon, running fourth to champion mare Makybe Diva in the 2005 Melbourne Cup.

He trained continuously for 47 years from his base at Corowa and followed in the footsteps of his father, Jack, as a leading racehorse trainer in a golden era of great horsemen including Hal Hoysted, Bert Honeychurch and Ollie Cox.

Freyer succumbed to a recent battle with cancer early on Monday and trained his most recent winner at Narrandera on July 23 soon after another success at Wodonga.

One of Freyer’s most memorable moments from a lifetime in racing came in the mid-1960s when he rode one of his father’s horses, Swift Chief, to victory at Randwick as an amateur jockey.

But as a trainer his record in the SDRA may never be eclipsed.

His 2500-plus winners and 16 successive SDRA trainers’ premierships includes a record eight Albury Gold Cups, 12 Corowa Cups and 10 Berrigan Cups.

Freyer’s most recent Albury Cup winner was Personal Image in 2004 with his success in the race starting in 1984 with Prince Tone and further victories with Major Quarry, In The Field, Trev Cent, Barrakee and Taskwin.

The Wagga Gold Cup was one race to elude him.

Freyer rode the highs and lows of racing when Leica Falcon burst onto the scene for owners, Alan and Margaret Eaton.

The gelding went from Wagga maiden winner early in 2005 to charging home late and narrowly missing the placings in the Melbourne Cup.

Leica Falcon produced a similar finish at his previous start in the Caulfield Cup to loom as a real threat to Makybe Diva winning three successive Melbourne Cups.

Leica Falcon was installed early favourite for the 2006 Cup, but connections were left devastated when the gelding suffered a tendon injury and didn’t race for two years when he also became a equine flu outbreak casualty.

Freyer is survived by children Kylie and Rick and his funeral will be held in Corowa on Saturday.

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