Graham was the first female racing presenter, setting out on that path in 1993 after several years in practice as a commercial lawyer. Her interest in racing goes back to her earliest years, as her parents regularly took her to their local track, Bangor on Dee, from when she was three years old.
Explaining that she did not particularly want to move forward into the new era of coverage Graham said, “I have only been doing 12-14 Morning Lines and the Cheltenham Festival for a couple of years. My loyalties and my love of my Channel 4 Racing role were always provided by Highflyer, and as Highflyer haven’t got the contract I wouldn’t have seen myself as being part of the new set up.”
She takes up her new post in the new year, when Cedric Burton, who has held the job for nine years, takes retirement. Graham is clearly looking forward to a fresh challenge, and returning to a sector she has worked in previously. She said, “I am really excited by the prospect of returning to the charitable sector. I worked for many years with the Animal Health Trust and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Racing Welfare provides an absolutely vital source of support to all those upon whom our sport depends. They are the backbone of the sport and I have no doubt that, despite the current economic circumstances, racing will ensure that the charity continues to meet its aims and expand its activities.”
Chairman of the charity, Joey Newton, welcoming the appointment of Graham, set out a priority for her to improve communication between Racing Welfare and the industry. He said, “Lesley clearly has a huge amount of experience and I have no doubt she will dedicate herself to the tack of implementing the changes necessary to secure our future successes.”