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Maxfield marches on with dominant G2 Stephen Foster Stakes win


Maxfield produced another sensational display at Churchill Downs, USA, with an effortless victory in the G2 Stephen Foster Stakes on Saturday, 26 June.

The Street Sense homebred headed into the nine-furlong closing day feature having scored for Brendan Walsh on all three of his previous starts at the Kentucky track, including a decisive win in the G2 Alysheba Stakes at the end of April.

After racing behind the leaders exiting the stalls, Maxfield settled in sixth of the nine-strong field, away from the inside rail, after the first furlong and a half.

He took closer order leaving the back straight and unleashed a powerful turn of foot turning for home, picking off his rivals in a matter of strides to hit the front at the top of the straight.

Maxfield took full control entering the final furlong and was allowed to coast home by Jose Ortiz, hitting the line an easy three and a quarter lengths clear of Warrior’s Charge.

Brendan Walsh said: “It was a good performance from Maxfield, who looks as though he is improving all the time. Hopefully, we can keep him fit and healthy. We wanted to get a good string of races into him and have him in good shape for the second half of the year. It’s starting to happen but we won’t get too far ahead of ourselves yet.

“There’s always a bit of pressure around Maxfield. He was very impressive but we expected him to get the job done, and he did it in a great fashion.

“We haven’t anything set in stone but we will try to find another spot in four, five or six weeks’ time. Maxfield has taught us not to get too far ahead of ourselves but thankfully he has been very sound, touch wood, and hopefully we will get a clear run from here. It’s exciting.”

Jose Ortiz added: “Maxfield is a big horse, so I let him catch up his stride when we hit the half-mile pole, and he did it nicely. I would rather let him gain more ground, put him in the clear and use his stride than go down the inside and try to be a hero. He was the best horse, so I rode him like the best.

“He is getting better, for sure, and he loves it here at Churchill Downs. In the Alysheba, I made him run but I took care of him today inside the eight-pole. I knew I had it, so I just let him gallop to the wire.”