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Sport Preview: Under The Radar - Mon 17th Jan 2022

Under The Radar: 17th Jan

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Selections

Here at Sport Preview, we pay attention to detail, and we give as much focus to a maiden hurdle on a wet Wednesday at Clonmel as we do to a Group 1 at Ascot. With that in mind we will be publishing a weekly review of the weekends action to highlight some exceptional performances that you may not have seen. Here are this week’s horses that went “under the radar”.

MACHETE – 3YO Maiden – Chantilly 15th January – Finished 3rd

Fabrice Chappet is certainly capable of readying a horse to win a maiden and despite having finished 6th on both starts in the autumn, it was no surprise to see MACHETE well supported on his return from a 63-day break. Although it is always important to exercise caution with the UK markets on French races, as the odds often adjust rapidly when they are aligned to the PMU pools, he was well supported from as big as 10/1 into an SP of 2/1 on both sides of the channel, so there was evidently some confidence about him.

He settled nicely in mid-division under Stephane Pasquier and was going best of all as the field began the turn for home. However, being tucked in on the rail at Chantilly is a risky business, the lack of a cutaway in the home straight means that you can be a hostage to fortune riding there as you wait for the gaps to appear. When it became apparent that the gaps weren’t going to open, he was eventually switched out to come with a run, but the winner, who made all and had a much clearer passage, already had a 4-length advantage, and could not be caught. He kept on nicely into 3rd, running the fastest final furlong of any horse in the process, but it was to no avail.

With a more prominent ride next time and with the obvious ability that he is showing at home, he should pick up a similar maiden.

MAGIC MERCURY – 4YO Handicap – Pau 10th January – Finished 4th

Trained by Didier Guillemin, MAGIC MERCURY has won 4 of his 14 starts and amassed over €62k of prize money in the process, to suggest that he is certainly value for his official French rating of 36.5. This was his first run at 2400-metres, and he was certainly ridden to get the trip by Clement Merille, who settled him away from the early pace in the rear of the field.

Whilst appearing to be a sound tactic when riding the horse over this distance for the first time, it left him vulnerable to the slow pace that was set and gave him a mountain to climb when the field began to sprint when they turned into the straight. Magic Mercury was the only horse to make up any significant ground from the rear and he ran the final 3-furlongs in a time of 35.07s, the fastest time of the 11-strong field.

This appears to have been a fact-finding mission to see if he would stay the trip and with that question now answered, he should go close next time under a more prominent ride.

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