Laurie Laxon passes away

Kranji racing is mourning the sudden passing of nine-time Singapore champion trainer Laurie Laxon in New Zealand on Thursday night.

Trainer - LAURIE KEVIN LAXON Picture: Trish Dunell

The legendary Kiwi trainer is understood to have died in his sleep at Whitianga, a seaside town he had been living in since he retired from training and left Kranji in 2017. Laxon was 75.

From a stellar local career spanning 17 years, the Melbourne Cup-winning trainer (Empire Rose in 1988) bowed out the winner of 1,263 races in Singapore, with no majors missing on his multiple-Group winning resume.

The last winner he saddled was Lim's Shot on August 13, 2017. Two weeks later, he tried to sign his farewell meeting on a winning note with the same horse, but Shane Baertschiger's Caorunn rained on his parade, beating Lim's Shot close home.

In 2016, he was inducted in the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame. He handed his Kranji stables over to Australian Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman in 2017, but often came back to the races as a guest, notably to watch Mr Clint race.

Since COVID-19 and the closure of borders, Laxon has not again been seen at Kranji, and will be sadly missed by all and sundry in the tight-knit racing industry in Singapore and New Zealand alike.

Laxon is survived by his wife Sheila, sons Craig, Roger and John, and daughter Lucy.

As a sign of respect, jockeys will wear black armbands before the first race this Sunday, and a short tribute video will also be shown.

A fitting tribute story on the great man who was described by his peers as "larger than life" will follow soon.

Singapore Turf Club