The late Riverina trainer Richard Freyer never recovered from the pain of missing the Melbourne spring carnival during the equine influenza crisis, his son believes.
The champion trainer from Murray River town Corowa was a force to be reckoned with in Riverina racing, winning 16 successive NSW Southern Districts premierships during a training career that spanned 47 years.
But the father-of-two, who died aged 69 this week after battling prostate cancer, was more widely known for the one-time favourite for the 2006 Melbourne Cup, Leica Falcon.
The fairytale stayer ran fourth in the 2005 Cup before suffering a tendon injury leading up to the 2006 race.
He was then stranded in his Corowa stable in 2007 when equine influenza stopped NSW horses travelling to Victoria.
“Dad was shocked and I think a lot of that contributed to his ill health,” his son Rick told RSN on Tuesday.
“Dad had a turn in 2008 and had an aneurysm and I think the consistent worry of trying to get the horse across (the river) was the start of Dad’s ill health.
“Dad took it really bad.”
Rick thanked those who had written messages after hearing of his father’s death.
He also alluded to his father’s tireless work in the stables by revealing he didn’t think his father ever took a holiday.
“It was all about the horses. That’s our life. There are no holidays, no days off, no nothing,” he said.
Freyer’s last winner was Autocrat at Narrandera on July 23.
He is survived by his daughter Kylie and son Rick, the fourth generation of Freyers to become a trainer.