Graham Lee: “I didn’t want to say I wasn’t riding because I was depressed”
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Carr 8:00PM 9 OCT 2016
ON THE eve of World Mental Health day, Graham Lee has become the latest top sportsman to admit to fighting a battle with depression.
It got so bad early this summer that the jockey, who has conquered the worlds of jump and Flat racing, took five weeks out of the saddle.
That was attributed at the time by Lee and agent Richard Hale as a virus, although the jockey was the subject of much racecourse rumour, with suggestions he was being investigated by the BHA for integrity issues, rumours that have resurfaced very recently.
Lee has decided to speak out, revealing to the Racing Post that he has been suffering from depressive illness, which at its lowest point was so severe that he vowed to quit the sport.
Lee, 40, the only rider to win the Grand National (on Amberleigh House in 2004) and Ascot Gold Cup (Trip To Paris last year), said: “I didn’t want to say I wasn’t riding because I was depressed, because it was a sign of weakness, so the best that my agent and I could think was to tell everyone I had a virus.
“I went home to Ireland and had a few days with the family, I had time out and didn’t buy the Racing Post for five weeks.
“I spoke to [PJA chief executive] Paul Struthers and he openly admitted he has suffered from depression himself, and it did me good to speak to him.”
Read more in Monday’s Racing Post – available on iPad now