ACCORDING to Timeform, I Am Maximus produced the best performance this century by a Grand National winner when taking the Randox-sponsored Aintree showpiece last Saturday, eclipsing the 165 which Tiger Roll recorded when winning for the second time in 2019.

The eight-year-old shouldered 11st 6lb to victory. Since the days of Red Rum, only Many Clouds, who won under 11st 9lb in 2015, has carried a bigger weight to success. His victory under Paul Townend for trainer Willie Mullins and owner J.P. McManus, saw him take his Timeform rating from a high-class 161 to a top-class 167.

After saving every yard up the inner under a patient ride in mid-division, I Am Maximus was produced to lead after being switched approaching the Elbow and stormed clear to win by seven and a half lengths, such a margin seeming most unlikely given how many were still in close touch jumping the last.

The trio who chased I Am Maximus home, Delta Work, Minella Indo and Galvin, are all Grade 1 winners who have been Gold Cup horses in the past, Minella Indo being the 2021 Gold Cup winner and 2022 runner-up.

The Timeform team pose the question, how I Am Maximus would fare in a Gold Cup.

They say: “His new rating leaves him with a stone to find against his 181-rated stable companion Galopin Des Champs, but while a Gold Cup might put more pressure on his jumping technique, he looks closer to that level now than when finishing well adrift of that rival in both the Savills Chase and Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in the winter”.

In the staying chaser division, I Am Maximus adds to an embarrassment of riches for his owner who was winning the Grand National for the third time. McManus also owns the Mullins-trained Fact To File, rated 164p and currently second in the ante-post Gold Cup betting after his latest win in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

Another McManus runner to advance his claims at Aintree last week was the Gavin Cromwell-trained six-year-old Inothewayurthinkin who followed up his wide-margin success in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at Cheltenham with a clear-cut success in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase.


Also enjoying a memorable Aintree was Ger O’Neill’s Capital Stud, home to the sire of the Grand National winner, Authorized (Montjeu).

The Group 1 Derby winner was repatriated from Turkey this year, and since his arrival it has been a case of good winner after good winner for the 20-year-old. Last week was memorable for the sire, also responsible for the unbeaten Grade 2 Weatherbys Aintree Champion Bumper winner Horaces Pearl.

Not to be outdone, Capital Stud’s Triple Threat rowed in with a winner himself, Sans Bruit carving out a clear-cut victory in the Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase for trainer Paul Nicholls.

Also winner of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy and Juddmonte International, Authorized stood for €12,500 last year. He was under the Darley banner in Britain, Ireland and France before he covered for the first time in Turkey in 2020. He has been a consistent source of winners at the highest echelons in both codes. His flat winners at the highest level consist of Ambivalent, Hartnell, Complacent, Pounamu, Santiago and Seal Of Approval. His daughters have produced the Group 1 winners Top Rank, Etoile and Teona.

Over jumps he already had a place in the history books as the sire of the dual Randox Grand National winner Tiger Roll, and now he has added to that with I Am Maximus. Other notable winners under National Hunt rules include Nichols Canyon, Echoes In Rain and Goshen.


Winner of last year’s BoyleSports Irish Grand National, the French-bred I Am Maximus captured the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase back at Fairyhouse in December. After two efforts behind Galopin Des Champs in Grade 1 company, the Aintree hero warmed up for his historic win with a return to winning form in the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase, again at Fairyhouse. His Irish Grand National win was his first run in the colours of McManus.

Bred by Ron Huggins of Double Triiger fame and his great friend, the late George Tiney, I Am Maximus sold as a yearling at Arqana to Horse Racing Advisory’s Hubert Barbe for €26,000. He made a winning debut in a bumper at Cheltenham trained by Nicky Henderson for the late Mike Grech, and won over hurdles and was runner-up to Hillcrest in a listed hurdle race at Cheltenham, before running fourth in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle last year at the same venue.

Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer) is responsible for both I Am Maximus’ grandsire, Montjeu, and his dam sire, Poliglote. The Aintree hero is one of six winners produced by the stakes-placed French and US winner Polysheba. Her first four winners were successful on the level, I Am Maximus is her fifth, while her sixth successful produce is a full-brother to National winner, All Authorized (Authorized). The latter is the last of 11 foals from his dam.

Eight winners

Polysheba was one of eight winners out of Ganasheba (Alysheba), the only other one to earn blacktype was her full-brother Assurer (Poliglote), and he did so over jumps. Ganasheba was placed nine times but never managed to get her head in front. She had two stakes-winning half-brothers, and both were special. Cahill Road (Fappiano) won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes, but his efforts paled by comparison with his year-older brother, Unbridled (Fappiano). He was the best of his generation at three when winning the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, later adding the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. He went on to become an influential stallion.

While the female side of I Am Maximus’ family is packed is packed with winners, the same cannot be said of Horaces Pearl’s. This six-year-old is now unbeaten in three bumpers, impressing when denying his stablemate in the Grade 2 Weatherbys Aintree Champion NH Flat Race, the final race of the three-day Aintree Festival.

Bloodstock agent J.D. Moore keeps cropping up in this column, and he signed for Horaces Pearl as a yearling in a private transaction for €25,000 at the Osarus National Hunt Sale in 2019.

The following year, reoffered at Arqana, the gelding failed to sell at the same price. He won on his debut at Wincanton a year ago, and won again at the same venue back in November. Horaces Pearl is an exciting two and a half mile hurdle prospect.

Julian Ince

Bred by Julian Ince at Haras du Logis, Horaces Pearl is a son of the unraced Yellow Queen (Slickly), and he is the third winner she has produced. Another, Yellow Samba (Rio De La Plata) won three times. Yellow Pearl’s most recent produce is a yearling colt, Maitre Yellow (Cloth Of Stars).

Part of the reason for a scarcity of winners on this page is that both the grandam and fourth dam of Horaces Pearl had just two foals each. The story is slightly different for his third dam.

She was the dual winner Random Choice (Cap Martin), and while just one of her six offspring won, he was Yellowman (Mansonnien) who numbered the Listed Prix Général de Rougemont and Listed Le Gualès de Mézaubran at Auteuil among his four victories over jumps. His year-younger half-brother All Stars (Lord Of Men) never won, but two of his four placed efforts were in listed hurdle races at Auteuil.