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Under the Radar 28th Feb

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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”.

Al Zahira – 3YO Maiden – Cagnes-Sur-Mer 23rd February – Finished 5th

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Having finished 5th on debut, AL ZAHIRA made his 2nd start under Christophe Soumillon in what looked to be a relatively open maiden contest over 2150 metres. Having raced prominently, Soumillon made the decision to stay on the far side rail, away from the obvious track bias. The 4 horses who finished in front of him, including the winner Kingdom, all chose to come to the stands side where the better ground appears to be on the turf track. Al Zahira was still in front with 300-metres to run before the track bias took its toll and he tired in the final furlong, running the last 200-metres in 12.02s, the slowest of any of those involved in the finish. He was only beaten by 4-lengths and is worth forgiving this run given the way that the race panned out and the route his jockey chose to take.

Auen Adventure – 4YO+ Handicap (C3) – Cagnes-Sur-Mer 23rd February – Finished 2nd

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Following a similar line as Al Zahira, AUEN ADVENTURE is also worth noting for next time given the way that this staying handicap developed. As a 6-year-old, he is relatively exposed at this point, but he has run consistently, with form figures of 2,5,4,3,2,2 since October and he is on the same mark of 27-kilos as he was for his last win at Vichy in July last year. He has chased home Barbadin on both of his most recent starts but will now have a 3-kilo swing at the weights if they meet for a 3rd time and was a little unlucky to be beaten by a length on Wednesday. Having settled in behind the leaders, he made sustained headway to challenge in the straight, but Ludovic Boisseau chose to come down the centre of the straight, whilst Christophe Soumillon drove Barbadin to the stands rail for the better ground. Had Auen Adventure followed the same path he may well have won, but he was still 3-lengths clear of the other runners who raced down the centre and is worth considering next time on an unchanged mark.

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