Newcastle Jockey Club hopes to grow the Max Lees Classic into an established race for two-year-olds after confirming the event will be held for the first time on Sunday 3 December 3.
NJC has been working with Racing NSW about forming an annual race to honour the late Broadmeadow trainer, who had 20 Group 1 wins and was most famous for his work with 1977 two-year-old triple crown champion, Luskin Star.
NJC's chief executive, Matt Benson, said the Max Lees Classic for two-year-olds would be held over 900 metres and carry prizemoney of $50,000. The Robert Thompson Cup will also be part of the December 3 meeting.
“I think the aim is to develop it into a bigger race in the future,” Benson said of the Max Lees Classic. “The timing is perfect at the beginning of December.
"It rolls into the Inglis race in Sydney and it’s before the Magic Millions at Wyong, so those horses are hunting for prizemoney at that time of the year [to qualify].
“It’s a perfect opportunity, over a wonderful start for two-year-olds at 900 metres, with a lovely camber and 430-metre run home. You couldn’t hope for a better first or second-up run for a two-year-old, so hopefully trainers will factor that into their plans.” - Craig Kerry [Newcastle Herald]