Racing needs a feel good story. Scroll through Twitter or read through the Racing Post and you’ll come across a seemingly endless wall of negativity. Too much racing, poor prize money, small fields, affordability checks, inadequate media coverage, terrible industry prices. It feels like it never ends. Now that is not to say I don’t agree with a lot of the things that have been said and written about these topics, but the doom and gloom merchants can often cloud what is a fantastic sport. A fifth day at the Festival is inevitable on that front, as are the 3-runner Grade 2 Novice Chases most weekends throughout the Jumps season. What we need is a story to lift the clouds, a hero to ride into the picture and raise the spirits. That hero could be David Maxwell.
Before you raise an eyebrow, you should know that this is a serious piece. He may not be the greatest jockey in the world, but the man puts his body on the line and a lot of his own money into the game, so he deserves the success that can come with it. Although better known for his Hunters Chase recruits, he has slowly begun to amass a better string and high profile wins on Dolphin Square and Cat Tiger last year helped to show that he can deliver the goods with the right ammunition. If he could find a top class horse, they could go to some incredible places together and that story could transform the sport. It’s a big if, but todays horse could take him to the next level.
MOMBASA (Philip Hobbs)
2 starts. 2 wins. Having made a winning debut at the end of May at La Teste, he backed up that promising start with an impressive performance at Auteuil just 15 days later to land the Prix Stanley. Having tracked the pace, he quickened nicely in the home straight and stayed on well to record a 2-length victory over Castellet. That win came at the end of the Auteuil Spring season, so the form has yet to be truly tested, but the time for the final circuit was decent, 10s quicker than the course average, albeit on slightly better ground. He found well for pressure and held off some more experienced rivals when asked for his effort.
He certainly created a good impression with his new connections, as they went to €250,000 to secure him. Bought by Guy Petit, who has made several purchases for David Maxwell in the past, he told Jour de Galop “The horse won really well”. There are several graded performers in the immediate family, which has produced several precocious Juvenile hurdlers, so there is every chance that he could be capable of making his mark at that kind of level. In 2 starts he has done very little wrong and he fits into the “could be anything” bracket, which makes him the most exciting recruit his owner has on the books. He will be trained by Philip Hobbs.