A Popular Reinsman with a Long Track Record
In the season of 1951/52 Max Johnson was just 21 years of age. He was on a winning streak, driving horses for his father Bill Johnson and working at the stables in Hamilton Hill. Bill Johnson was the State’s leading trainer and at the age of 21, Max became the States leading driver. To this day he remains the youngest person ever to win the title. The talented reinsman won another four premierships before 1960 and was runner-up on a further five occasions.
While the bulk of Johnson’s career highlights came before he turned 30 years of age, many will remember his association with the black stallion Satinover, which he drove to successive wins before the Match Race of the Century against Pure Steel. That winning streak also included two heats and final of the Australian Pacing Championship and the WA 150th Anniversary Cup.
Max Johnson travelled the length and breadth of the country with his father in support of the Inter Dominion, and he drove Inter Dominion heat winners in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.
While his record as a trainer is significantly less than his achievements as a driver, Johnson also trained 203 winners.
Johnson was no fly-by-night. His career as a driver spanned more than 60 years. He rightly earned a reputation as an outstanding judge of pace and one of the State’s very best front-running drivers. Johnson went on to win a total of 866 races across four Australian states.
Don't Rush Me
In 1998 Max bred and foaled a beautiful chestnut horse on his farm in Beverley, where he has lived for 49 years. He called the horse ‘Don’t Rush Me’ as it was something he frequently said. Don’t Rush Me was nearly ready to race as a two year old, but finally made it to the race track 10 years later. Max trained and drove Don’t Rush Me until the horse was 14 and Max was 81.