DEATH OF A FRIEND
By Garry Robinson
VALE MAX LEES
DIED AGE 65 AUGUST 2003 A NEWCASTLE ICON
In 1988 I wrote and published my first book on Form Analysis, Racing Pays. It was an instant best seller and a breakthrough in the way horse form was analysed. For the first time, race times became accepted as a major basis for form analysis.
The Max Lees trained Lucky Rass, at his 3rd run from a spell saluted at Randwick at 16/1 in May 1987 proving that the time he ran at Rosehill in his previous preparation was no fluke and I wanted to include his story in my book.
As I am a Newcastle boy who grew up watching Max ride, and noted his ongoing success as a trainer, I approached Max to assist me in writing about trainers and their ways. Now Max has always been in the top echelon of trainers with many Group One successes but as a person, I found him very approachable and eager to help.
Max later helped me out in my career as a Racing Journalist and was always the first person to say a cheery hello at the racetrack. I was able to publish an excellent interview for my readers, which gave a clear insight into his philosophies and methods. He was very down to earth.
Although Max reaped the financial rewards of a highly successful training career, he was never tempted to move from his modest family home just metres from Broadmeadow racetrack and he never wore the trappings of his success. His home is adorned with photos of his many successes but apart from that, you simply wouldnt know.
We all can rightly believe that Racing has been robbed of another great man but he passes on the baton to his son Kris, who we hope will be able to echo his success.
Goodbye old mate, well miss you. Thanks for all those memorable moments.