Horses To Follow » Mad Max

Mad Max

Mad Max put up a nice performance to win the two-mile novices’ chase on his chasing bow at Kempton on Saturday. Fiendish Flame set a fair pace on the ground and Barry Geraghty on Mad Max, a giant of a horse, sat in behind him, travelling well and jumping well for a debutant. Fiendish Flame wilted after the first on the far side, and Geraghty allowed Mad Max stride on, but he was quickly pressed by Mahonia. It always looked like Mad Max was travelling better, Geraghty was motionless going down to the second last as Ruby Walsh was almost flat to the boards on Mahonia, but Mad Max put in a short one before the second last and went through it, giving Mahonia a chance. It was impressive, then, that the Henderson horse was able to get back on top before the last, Geraghty went for a long one there, which he duly got, and Mad Max came away to win nicely.

There were lots of positives to be taken out of this performance. For starters, for a horse who never really mastered the technique of jumping hurdles, Mad Max’s jumping over the larger obstacles was very good for a debutant. For a big horse, he displayed a surprising amount of agility to get up and over the second last. Also, the manner in which he was able to pick up again between the last two fences after making a fairly bad mistake at the second last and pick up Mahonia was impressive. Mahonia is no mug, he was a good novice hurdler last season, he beat Medermit and he finished second to Karabak, and he was close up behind King Edmund and El Dancer and Shoreacres in a good novices’ chase at Plumpton last month on his chasing bow when he fell at the second last, and he and Mad Max had plenty in hand of their rivals here. Mad Max has had four wind operations so far, he obviously has problems with his wind, and Nicky Henderson was therefore worried about the soft ground here, but he did it well, the soft ground didn’t seem to bother him. Even so, he should be better on better ground. He is a high class horse with any amount of potential. He has loads of pace, he is a pure two-miler and, as long as he remains sound, he could make up into an Arkle candidate this year.

16th January 2010