Author(s): Mike Dillon
The Empire Strikes is the tale of the well-known Melbourne Cup winner and one of the world's finest horse trainers, New Zealander Laurie Laxon. While most winners come from horse stock, Laurie Laxon was an apprentice builder in Ngaruawahia. To come from that background to become one of the world's finest horse trainers is astonishing. On the way he won every one of New Zealand's major races, a number of them multiple times, and became Singapore's champion trainer a stunning nine years running. It wasn't a boring journey. Laurie overcame financial difficulties to become a multi-millionaire, coped with a potentially fatal flight from New Zealand to Australia on a horse charter aircraft, and battled with racing's stewards, on the reverse side he refused to allow the grief of his wife being killed by a drunk driver destroy him.