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Deane Lester dead: Legend dies after battle with cancer

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The Australian racing community is in deep mourning following the death of revered industry identity Deane Lester, aged 54.

Deane, one of most respected and astute form students in the game, passed away peacefully on Thursday night with his family by his side following a brief battle with cancer.

The news has sparked an outpouring of emotion in racing circles with RSN issuing a statement paying tribute to a “much-loved friend and colleague”.

“It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of our much-loved friend and colleague Deane Lester,” the statement read.

“On behalf of the RSN Racing and Sport board and staff, we extend our deepest condolences to Deane’s mother Sandra and his partner Leanne.

“As you may be aware, ‘Deano’ has experienced health issues throughout his entire life. He was born with Spina Bifida and from 2002 was aided by a mobility scooter.

“Despite this, Deane never complained, moving forward with courage and dignity. There was work to be done, winners to be found.

“Just last month, Deane received the devastating news that he would be facing the biggest battle of his life, a rare form of cancer.

“Sadly, this was a mountain too big to climb and after a short, but very brave fight, Deane passed away peacefully at the Alfred Hospital on Thursday (February 16) at 54.”

Jockey Ethan Brown described Deane as a “very considerate person who only had his peers and friends best interests at heart.”

“Deane was a great mentor to me to say the least. Forever remembered and thanks for everything. Rest In Peace Deano,” Brown wrote.

Racenet iQ’s legendary form analyst Tony Brassel joined the chorus of tributes.

“R.I.P. Deane, virtuous one,” he wrote.

Racing commentator Jenny Chapman said: “We have very fond memories of Deane over many, many years. A great and passionate racing person and brilliant judge.”

“Gone too soon and sadly missed. A proper racing legend.” she wrote.

“Rest In Peace Deane.”

Retired racecaller Bryan Martin described Deane as an “amazing man”.

“Deano brought so much to so many in racing,” he wrote.

“His friendship will be sadly missed along with his wonderful knowledge. A very sad time. We acknowledge a true champion.”

Trainer Robbie Griffiths said Deane “could have been good at anything”.

“As a young man he could have been a pro-golfer, he was an A-Grade pennant squash player but his passion was racing,” he said.

“Deane and I have always had many horses together, winning with The Quarterback in The Newmarket was something special to share.

“He’s always got time for everyone, he’s the most selfless person that you can come across, he gives and gives and gives.”

Deane was born in the Victorian seaside town of Dromana and spent most of his childhood on stud farms on the Mornington Peninsula.

He attended the races for the first time when just eight weeks old, and in 1972, aged four, he watched the great Gunsynd win the Cox Plate.

After news of Deane’s cancer diagnosis and the magnitude of the battle ahead, RSN established a ‘Go Fund Me’ page to assist Deane with mortgage repayments and mounting medical expenses.

More than $290,000 was raised towards the cause, an illustration of the regard in which he is held within the racing industry.

In the coming days and weeks, tributes will continue to flow for Deane, who leaves behind an indelible mark on the racing industry he loved so much.

Originally published as Revered industry identity Deane Lester dies following battle with cancer, aged 54

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