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Posted 2021-07-16 04:15:18  
New Zealand Legend Trainer Dies

New Zealand Hall of Fame trainer Laurie Laxon, whose list of achievements included winning a Melbourne Cup and multiple Singapore training premierships, has passed away.

Laxon had lived in retirement in the Coromandel seaside town of Whitianga in New Zealand since returning from Singapore in 2017, the year after his induction to the NZ Racing Hall of Fame.

He had ruled supreme in Singapore training ranks after relocating there in 1999, claiming nine premierships and becoming the first to win 100 races in a season, as well as the first - and still only - trainer to reach 1000 wins at Kranji on the way to a full tally in excess of 1250.

Laxon was born into racing as a member of a family involved since NZ's earliest European settlement years. Growing up north of Hamilton, as a teenager he became an amateur rider and in his final race-day ride he won the Duke of Gloucester Cup.

After completing a carpentry apprenticeship, he was drawn fully into racing when he established a stable near Ngaruawahia.

From there he first made his mark with 1974 Great Northern Hurdle winner Cobland, who he owned with his late wife Jenny, before establishing his credentials as the trainer of major flat performers.

A big part of that early success was the association Laxon built with brothers Philip and Peter Vela, leading to their joint maiden Group 1 success with Sir Tristram filly Noble Heights in the 1981 New Zealand 1000 Guineas.

Sir Tristram was also the source of the Laxon-trained, Vela-owned-and-bred Romanee Conti, winner of the 1993 Hong Kong International Cup, and dam of Ethereal, who was trained by Laxon's second wife Sheila to win the 2001 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

Sir Tristram also sired the Vela-owned-and-bred Riverina Charm, a four-time G1 winner on either side of the Tasman under Laxon's training, while for owner-breeder Fred Bodle, Laxon prepared giant Sir Tristram mare Empire Rose to win the 1988 Melbourne Cup.

"Laurie was an outstanding trainer and horseman who was particularly skilled with fillies and mares," commented his close friend and near neighbour, NZ Bloodstock Chairman Joe Walls.

"His astute horsemanship was noted by a number of successful breeders, most notably Peter and Philip Vela, and they had some great times together.

"When Laurie went to Singapore, he remained staunchly loyal to the New Zealand-bred and much of his success there was down to the horses he sourced from New Zealand," added Walls, who confirmed that Laxon, who recently turned 75, passed away in his sleep overnight.

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