Max Presnell the Last of the Great Turf Writers

‘The last of the great turf writers’: Max Presnell’s time at the Herald comes to an end.

After a staggering 67 years, Presnell has written his last column.

By Andrew Webster

APRIL 19, 2024

See: Max Presnell’s time at The Sydney Morning Herald comes to an end (

Featured Image: Max Presnell ‘On Golden Pond’

It’s fabulous article by Andrew Webster. Max says he will never retire because it IS the journey of his life. Like his late great mate Bert Lillye, he will live on in memory. There are tributes galore from far greater racing critiques than me. They include James Cummings, Les Bridge, Jim Cassidy, Ron Quinton, Ian Craig, Kerrin McEvoy, Darren Beadman, Craig Young, Peter V’landys, Robbie Waterhouse, Greg Radley, Ken Callander, Chris Waller, Gai Waterhouse, Ray Murrihy, Peter McGauran,

I will only remark that it’s been an honour to have Max as an official guest at our annual ‘Bletchingly Lunch’ during the Royal Easter Show. He always richly augments the field.

One comment is from “Wookey” who wrote:

“My Grandfather Richard Wootton built the Doncaster Hotel as a place where racing people could go for a drink after Randwick races.

The Presnells were a part of racing history and folklore for >90 years”.

This links Max directly to the famous Wootton family. His family ran the ‘Doncaster’ for the owners, the Woottons.



Max also penned a classic defining his virtual addiction to racing journalism.


He both outlived and outlasted early competition from Ray Flockton & predicted ‘dud’ Richie Benaud! John Pilger was also ‘on the starting blocks’.