Maximiser plans on hold after fall

future plans for the Simon West-trained Maximiser remain on hold after the horse’s heavy fall at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting.

Jockey Joe Colliver. Picture: James Hardisty.

The exciting grey came to grief at the 11th fence in the high-class Grade Two novices’ chase won by Dan Skelton’s Three Musketeers.

Although the seven-year-old, ridden by Sheffield-born Joe Colliver, was down for some time, he thankfully was able to get to his feet.

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“He was very sore, more behind really, he got clipped by Sametegal on his way past, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Middleham-based West.

“He’s actually got a problem with his tail but there’s not much we can do about that, we’ll just have to see how it is over the next week to 10 days.

“It’s frustrating as he was jumping well, but it was too early to tell how he’d have fared so we’re none the wiser.

“We obviously know he’s pretty good as his Carlisle form was franked by Silsol, but you’d rather see them go and do it themselves.

“I panicked when he didn’t get up so the most important thing was we brought him home.

“As he was rated 143 over hurdles we can’t really look for just a little race, we tried that at Carlisle and Silsol and Seeyouatmidnight turned up.

“We’d even discussed the Ladbrokes World Hurdle route as that doesn’t look the strongest.

“We were going to go for the Feltham at Kempton at Christmas but I won’t do that now after what’s happened.

“We’ll give him a couple of weeks and then make a plan.”

Meanwhile, Just Cameron, another horse associated with the aforementioned Colliver, is likely to be rerouted to Wetherby over Christmas after the Betfair Tingle Creek at Sandown on Saturday “came a week too soon”.

The eight-year-old, trained by Micky Hammond, looked good as a novice chaser last term, with three victories and a three-length second to Un De Sceaux at Punchestown in the formbook.

Just Cameron was in contention to renew rivalry with Willie Mullins’s Arkle winner at Sandown, but he did not feature in the confirmations on Monday and is instead poised to run much closer to home.

“He’ll either run in a decent two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham on December 12 or in the Castleford Chase at Wetherby on December 27, which probably looks a better option,” said Hammond who also trains at Middleham.

“He’s coming to hand nicely, though, but we just felt the Tingle Creek came a week too soon.”

Gordon Elliott feels Don Cossack could not be in ruder health as he gears up for a likely assault on the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Ireland’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hope also holds an entry two days later in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, but connections are instead likely to head across the Irish Sea.

Don Cossack has won his last four races over fences, three of which were Grade Ones, and enjoyed a nice workout on Tuesday morning under Bryan Cooper.

“He’s entered in the Lexus but more than likely the King George is the plan,” said Elliott. “He looks a picture.”

Meanwhile, Coneygree, the reigning Gold Cup champion, could miss possible engagements in either the King George or the Lexus according to connections.

Not declared for last Saturday’s Hennessy at Newbury, Lady Oaksey, the widow of Coneygree’s breeder Lord Oaksey and a member of the Max Partnership that owns the horse, said plans revolve around a successful Gold Cup defence.

“He’s a very fragile horse and has long legs. The longer the legs, the more problems they have,” she said. “We’ve obviously missed work already, and I would think, but I could not guarantee, that it (King George) would come too soon. There is also the Lexus, but that is only two days after the King George and could also be a bit too soon.”

The horse, trained by Lady Oaksey’s daughter Sara Bradstock and her husband Mark, could be saved for either the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on January 30 or the Denman Chase at Newbury on February 13 – a race he won last season before heading to Cheltenham.

Lady Oaksey said: “The horse needs to get fit and then he’ll tell us when he’s ready. Quite honestly, though, his main aim is the Gold Cup.”

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls enjoyed a first success at Catterick when Stilletto landed the Come Racing New Year’s Day Beginners’ Chase.

Nicholls, the dominant force for a decade and more in the National Hunt game, had never even had a runner at the Richmondshire venue prior to yesterday.

That honour fell to Romain De Senam, who did everything but win the Support The House That Jack Built Juvenile Hurdle.

However Stilletto, one of the horses that top owner Roger Brookhouse has moved from Tom George’s yard, provided swift compensation under a confident Sam Twiston-Davies.