Breeders' Cup International Horse Profile: Great Max

December 29th, 2021

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

After mixing it up against the leading lights in the division in Europe in 2021, Great Max hopes that a change of venue will spark a breakthrough. Owner Amo Racing could have been double-handed here, but opted to put Go Bears Go in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.

By outstanding sire Wootton Bassett, whose Audarya will try to repeat in the Filly & Mare Turf, Great Max is out of a full sister to 2015 Chesham winner Suits You. His dam, Teeslemee, is also a half to current two-year-old Orazio, third in this summer’s Rose Bowl. Teeslemee is by Youmzain, who was runner-up in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) three years in a row (2007-09).

Great Max’s trainer, Michael Bell, sent out 2005 Epsom Derby (G1) hero Motivator and 2009 Oaks (G1) queen Sariska as well as Royal Ascot’s 2017 Gold Cup (G1) victor, Big Orange, and Wigmore Hall, a two-time Grade 1 winner at Woodbine. His lone previous Breeders’ Cup runner, The Lir Jet, was a creditable seventh in last year’s Juvenile Turf.

A 260,000-guineas Tattersalls October yearling, Great Max was unveiled in a 6 1/2-furlong novice at Newbury, where he looked beaten when a gap closed on him just as he was trying to launch a bid. The 4-1 chance took time to re-gather himself, but found a sudden spurt in deep stretch to win going away. Runner-up Harrow, who apparently had the race won before hanging left, went on to win three in a row including the lucrative Weatherbys race at Doncaster. Harrow’s streak ended with a third to Modern Games in the Somerville Tattersall (G3).

Nine days later, Great Max tried to emulate his “uncle,” Suits You, in the Chesham at Royal Ascot, but was third behind Ballydoyle’s odds-on favorite Point Lonsdale and Reach for the Moon. Anchored in the back early, the 15-2 chance tried to follow Point Lonsdale through, only to find himself outpaced. Great Max soldiered on through the soft going to snatch third late while no threat to the top two, leaving such useful players as Masekela and New Science unplaced.

Great Max wasn’t able to confirm form over Masekela in their Superlative (G2) rematch on Newmarket’s July Course. The 10-1 shot broke so well that he ended up on the lead, but weakened to fifth as the closing Native Trail and Masekela contested the finish.

Next time in the Solario (G3) at Sandown, Great Max reverted to his more familiar off-the-pace tactics, but pulled hard early before settling. He was drafting behind 2-5 favorite Reach for the Moon, who bounded away in a four-length romp. Great Max kept on to take second in a photo.

A 28-1 outsider when attempting Native Trail and Point Lonsdale again in the Sept. 12 Vincent O’Brien National (G1) at the Curragh, Great Max ran in keeping with his price. He stalked early but couldn’t lift with the principals, checking in fifth.

Great Max won’t have to meet the division’s biggest names at Del Mar, and the step up to a mile in principle should suit. Still, he’d need to improve to avoid getting outpaced around this kind of track. He strikes me as the type who can come into his own later, but has hit a plateau for now. Blinkers will be added here in case that helps.