• Ian Ender


FREEDOM NOW. 01 January 1998. Sadlers Wells-Free At Last Owner-Frank Hanson

Out of all the horses I have written about to date, this one is definitely the most travelled so far, having spent time in a total of nine different yards, in his 40 race career, enjoying his most successful period when trained here at Oakwood Stables.

Freedom Now is also a very well bred horse, being by Saddlers Wells out of a Shirley Heights mare. His dam was placed in a Group 2 race for Guy Harwood, and three of his siblings, including a full brother, and sister, were all Listed placed.

Freedom Now raced six times as a two year old, winning in July at Windsor under Jamie Spencer, and earning a BHA mark of 87.For his three year old career, his owner/breeder Mr Gerald Leigh moved Freedom Now to France to race from the Chantilly based yard of J.E.Peace, where he ran on four occasions, with a third at Clairefontaine in July, being his standout effort.

He was sold to the trainer John Hills, in Lambourn, and raced a further four times as a four year old, with his best performance coming at Newmarket, over 12 furlongs, off a mark of 81, with Richard Hills in the saddle.

As with many of Micky's purchases, Freedom Now was bought as a dual purpose horse.He was only in the yard for one season, but managed to fit in 14 races, including five on the flat.He made his hurdles debut at Wetherby on Boxing Day 2004, weakening from two out to finish seventh. At Catterick in January 2005, he was a length in front when falling at the second last, and completed his three runs for his handicap mark by running in the Grade 2 novice hurdle at Wetherby, and although last of the five runners, still picked up some good prize money.He next had four unsuccessful attempts on the flat, before returning to the jumps in June at Hexham, finishing second to the Kariana Key trained Mister Moussac, which set him up nicely for a run of four consecutive wins.He won those next four races in just over eight weeks, all in novice hurdles, and all in the hands of Graham Lee, which saw the handicapper raise him to 115, the highest jump mark he would achieve in his career, his last win being achieved under a triple penalty.

Both Micky, and the horses owner Frank Hanson agreed that the horse had now achieved everything they had set out to do, and he was sold on for a very handsome price at the Doncaster sales.

Freedom Now raced for a further five seasons, for five different trainers, and having 18 more starts, including a final season point to pointing, but he never won another race.

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