Horses To Follow » Mad Max

Mad Max

Mad Max proved that he simply doesn’t stay a strongly run two and a half miles at Cheltenham when once again running well to two out before tiring up the hill and not getting home in the Vote A.P. Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday. It was a similar story in the Paddy Power four weeks previously, and he has now run below par in all three of his runs over this distance at Cheltenham (the other one was in the then Ballymore Novices’ hurdle two years ago), while his one run at Prestbury Park over two miles saw him run a cracker in the Arkle last year, a bad blunder two out ruining his winning chance.

Paul Carberry had him right up there in the front rank here and he jumped well as usual but just simply failed to see it out. While the dead ground wouldn’t have helped, Nicky Henderson said beforehand that he should have come on from his seasonal return and so, if that is the case, it is safe to conclude that he simply didn’t see out the trip. His breathing has always been well-documented and his form on flatter tracks over this trip is much better; his win in the two-and-a-half mile Grade 2 Manifesto Novice Chase at Aintree in April where he was a comfortable victor over Somersby was scintillating. Although he has had a breathing operation over the summer, it seems that he is still unable to operate to his best at Cheltenham over further than two miles. On a flat track he is a very high class chaser and will be of interest whenever he returns to a less punishing course, or if he is dropped to two miles, even at Cheltenham, as that Arkle run was a very good one, he was serving it up to Sizing Europe and company before that bad error at the second last. Nicky Henderson has always been adamant that Mad Max has huge ability if his breathing lasts out, so lets hope we get the chance to see so soon. He may be under-rated next time on the back of this ostensibly disappointing run. The Desert Orchid Chase, run over two miles at Kempton’s Christmas meeting, could well be the race for him, although there is also a chance that he will be better given a break until the spring now after two tough runs quite close together. The ideal race for him now in the medium term is the Melling Chase at Aintree, back over the course and distance of his impressive Manifesto Chase win last April.

11th December 2010