- The jockey switched codes to flat but previously rode 1,000 jump winners
- Lee, 47, was taken swiftly to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle
- Colleague Cieren Fallon was also tended to by medics on the course after start
The 47-year-old, a hugely respected figure within the weighing room, was unseated from his mount Ben Marduk as the stalls opened for a sprint handicap on Friday night.
He was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for examination and then moved into intensive care ahead of further assessments to determine the severity of the injury.
A popular character with jockeys and trainers across both Flat and jump racing, there is enormous concern for his well-being among colleagues, many of whom have taken to social media to express both their anguish and support. A statement released by the Injured Jockeys Fund said: ‘Graham was taken by ambulance to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where he is in intensive care with a neck injury. He will undergo further tests.’
Lee, a married father of two, has had an outstanding career. His biggest moment as a jump jockey came in 2004 when he partnered Amberleigh House for Red Rum’s trainer Ginger McCain in the Grand National to an emotional triumph.
Graham Lee is in intensive care with a neck injury after being unseated at Newcastle on Friday
This season, the flat jockey – who previously enjoyed a successful National Hunt career – has ridden 47 winners (pictured on Quiet Reflection)
That was one of more than 1,000 triumphs over obstacles, which also included the 2005 World Hurdle (now known as the Stayers Hurdle) on Inglis Drever when he was the retained rider for leading owner Graham Wylie.
But Lee, who was considered small to be a jump jockey and able to ride at light weights, made the switch to Flat racing in 2012 and he continued to enjoy tremendous success.
His red-letter day arrived at Royal Ascot in 2015 when he partnered Trip To Paris to victory in the Gold Cup.
To further prove his versatility, Lee won York’s Nunthorpe Stakes — the shortest Group One in the Flat calendar — in 2018 when he guided Alpha Delphini home for trainer Bryan Smart.
Lee primarily rides at racecourses in the north and Jim Goldie, a trainer with whom he has a long-standing alliance, heaped praise on him.
Goldie said: ‘Graham was just a teenager when he first rode for me.
‘He won on Jack Dexter for me and I think it was nearly his first ride at Goodwood when he won the Stewards’ Cup on Hawkeyethenoo.
‘Some big names tried to jock him off but we had a gentleman’s agreement that he would ride 100 per cent of the horses and he went from rookie to the third best in the country and cock of the north.
‘It was amazing. And he was the best jump jockey I used. He’d give everything a ride.’