It’s Magic Max, Keith Shore’s former Nations Cup show jumping partner, whose reputed million-pound sale in 2003 to Lord and Lady Harris for Irishman Peter Charles to ride caused controversy, has returned to this country.

The British-bred gelding — once considered an Athens Olympic prospect — was subsequently sold to Belgium and then moved to Sweden. His form was inconsistent since leaving Keith Shore’s Cheshire yard.

He has now been bought by Steven Whitaker for an undisclosed sum for daughter Ellen.

“I’ve always liked Max and had tried to buy him a couple of times since he was a five-year-old, so I’m delighted to have got him at last,” said Steven.

“There will be no pressure on him or Ellen. If Max wants to keep on jumping at top-class level, that’s fine, but if not, we’ll drop him down to the national circuit and give Joe a crack with him.”

Ellen had her first competitive ride on Max at last weekend’s South View’s Premier Show, where their double clear in the 1.50m BEF World Class Young Riders qualifier was achieved in copybook style, prompting her to proudly announce: “I love him.”

Keith Shore, who achieved many notable wins at the venue with the 12-year-old by Maximillian Saluut was also pleased.

“It’s great to see Max again and I wish Ellen every success with him,” he said.

  • This news story was first published in today’s Horse & Hound (26 January, ’06)

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