Freedman resigns from AJC
Controversial racing administrator Richard Freedman has resigned his position with the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) just days out from the club’s first feature race meeting of the autumn carnival at Randwick.
His resignation comes a week after the AJC was served with a petition which will require all but one of its directors to stand down and a new board to be elected within two months.
Freedman has been under fire from trainers at both Randwick and Warwick Farm since his appointment a year ago as the AJC executive director of racing.
In August the Randwick Trainers Association issued a vote of no confidence in Freedman to the board of the AJC after dissatisfaction with the way lease agreements for stables at the track were handled.
Freedman and leading trainer Gai Waterhouse have locked horns over the past 12 months with Waterhouse using her website blog to voice her opinions, with particular regard to the maintenance of training tracks and facilities.
However, Freedman said in a statement announcing his resignation he believed there had been significant improvements during his tenure.
“In the best interests of both parties I have terminated my agreement with the AJC,” Freedman said.
“I am satisfied that during my time at the AJC there were significant improvements in the quality of the race tracks and training facilities at both Royal Randwick and Warwick Farm and a number of other significant structural changes.
“I am departing knowing that Royal Randwick is now considered to be the best racing surface in the country.”
Among the concerns of the Save Our AJC group which initiated the move to have the board stood down were reports of hefty bonuses paid to Freedman and chief executive Norman Gillespie.
The Group One Chipping Norton Stakes meeting at Randwick on Saturday was transferred from its traditional home of Warwick Farm, angering trainers at the south western Sydney track.
The AJC cited problems with the Warwick Farm track surface as the reason for the switch.
Darren Pearce, executive director of finance and corporate affairs at the AJC, will take over Freedman’s role.