‘I Am’ definitely ready to maximise following Nicky!

I Am Maximus represents a Nicky Henderson-trained ‘special’ in the fourteen-runner Novices’ Hurdle over two miles of  ‘good to soft’ Newbury this afternoon and yet this ‘once-raced’ Authorized gelding might just trade at decent odds under Nico de Boinville; portents suggest the multi-champion trainer is now ready to enjoy his usual Winter spree of winners!

If you can’t beat them, join ’em and I am ready to side with this powerful stable.

Nicky adopts a patient policy and times his run from mid-December right through to March and beyond; we need to be with the Lambourn maestro whose yard is littered with potential which you can guarantee will be placed shrewdly and adroitly to challenge Paul Nicholls ‘juggernaut!’

Hopefully punters will latch on to recently beaten first-up favourite, Raymond Tusk, from the powerful Alan King yard; punters, by nature, are like sheep when chasing money!

Spirit Of Nguru did this column proud at 10/1 earlier this month when landing my nap over course and distance but there’s no sentiment where serious wagering is concerned and I’m opposing William Haggas’ charge in a seven furlongs Novice Stakes, second leg of the obligatory Kempton eight-race meeting on polytrack tonight.

On the time-handicap, which I’m totally ruled by unless there’s a good reason not to, Neptune Legend is ‘different gravy’ and sure to be a better price; reason being last of twelve 66 days ago at Goodwood.

Drawn hopelessly wide, on a desperately slow surface, Neptune Legend had no chance from the moment he was journeyed from Hugo Palmer’s Newmarket base; at no stage was jockey James Doyle expectant of taking issue and virtually pulled up the hitherto Newmarket winner a long way out.

Course AWR form is at hand, this Invincible Spirit gelding was subsequently beaten only three-quarters of a length back in September under Oisin Murphy, achieving a time-figure way superior to the recent mark achieved by Spirit Of Nguru.

Plenty of ‘super-bred’ newcomers from high-profile yards could be useful but in the middle of December it’s unlikely any will be sufficiently wound up to challenge our 85-rated selection.

Half an hour later I’ve narrowed down division one of the Maiden Stakes over a mile to three with Andrew Balding’s Groundbreaker a strong preference on the back of an encouraging debut here six weeks ago; jockey Andrea Atzeni is well-known for his patience which, from stall ten, should suit the Oasis Dream colt for the final stretch run.

Selections, Newbury, 12.50 I Am Maximus; Kempton, 4.15 Neptune Legend (e.w); 4.45 Groundbreaker (e.w).

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019