Maximilian will miss Cheltenham Festival date in favour of Aintree – PlanetSport

Planet Sport writer

The chestnut was a point-to-point winner and has looked highly promising since starting out under rules, winning two bumpers and his first two starts over hurdles.

Then stepped up in class for the Grade Two Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown in December, the gelding was beaten for the first time in his career when third to Henri The Second.

He bounced right back to form the next time, however, tackling an extended three miles to win the Grade Two River Don at Doncaster at the end of January.

After that victory McCain suggested Cheltenham would not be a priority despite the horse holding an Albert Bartlett entry, with Aintree the preferred option later in the season.

Dan Downie of Owners Group echoed that idea as the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade One run over three miles and half a furlong, looks to be the ultimate target.
He said: “He’s been going very well, everything is good with him and he’s come out of his race well.
“The plan will be to hopefully run at Aintree in April. That’s a little way away and we might find something in between, but Cheltenham is not happening and we know he won’t go there.
“We were really pleased with him at Doncaster. He’s a horse we’ve always liked but he’s a bit of a enigma in some ways, he’s not very flashy at home and he races quite lazily.
“You never quite know and at Sandown he was a bit disappointing, but I think that tacky ground just didn’t suit him and he was obviously much happier at Doncaster.
“I think he is a real stayer and that will be his game.”


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