By Nicholas Godfrey
Fair Grounds (Feb 13): Mineshaft Stakes G3 $200,000, 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+
Godolphin’s Maxfield is 6-1 co-favourite for the Dubai World Cup after extending his unbeaten record to five on Saturday with a convincing victory in G3 company at Fair Grounds on Saturday.
However, nobody connected with the lightly raced four-year-old will be taking anything for granted given his history of setbacks, which has restricted him to just three runs since a G1 victory at two in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.
A bright future was forecast for the son of Street Sense, but he missed the Breeders’ Cup through injury and was forced off the Kentucky Derby trail in 2020 with a condylar fracture of his right front cannon bone.
Having won a Listed event at Fair Grounds in December after a seven-month layoff, Florent Geroux-ridden Maxfield followed up at the New Orleans venue in the G3 MIneshaft Stakes, where he closed from off the pace to win easily by 3¼ lengths over Sonneman as 3-5 favourite.
Jockey Florent Geroux suggested Maxfield is now ready for “bigger things”, and the prospect of the Dubai World Cup on March 27 was put to trainer Brendan Walsh.
’We’ll see,” ventured the trainer, understandably cautious. “All options are open. We’ll go back, see how he comes out, talk to the team, and come up with a plan.”
Dubai World Cup betting (William Hill): 6 Charlatan, Maxfield, Military Law, 7 Knicks Go, 8 Mishriff, 12 Chuwa Wizard, Salute The Soldier, Tacitus, 14 Jesus’ Team, 16 Military March, 20 bar.
Shall we talk about it?
Brendan Walsh (Maxfield’s trainer): “He’s just a special horse – you point him in the right direction and he does it for you. It’s a privilege to have him in our barn. He’s really progressed and he’s turning into the horse we always hoped he would be. He’s making the progress we want him to make and I think we’re in great shape with the horse.”
Florent Geroux (Maxfield’s jockey): “The key with Maxfield is getting him into a nice rhythm and wherever he is comfortable, whether it’s close to the pace or further back. I was clocking the horses in front of him and, when I asked him down the lane, he gave me a very nice kick. That was more impressive than his last run and it was one of the first chances he had of running back-to-back races. I think he is ready for bigger things now.”