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Trainer Ciaron Maher has confirmed Azkadellia will progress to the 2016 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm in a fortnight, despite a hapless performance in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap over course and distance on Saturday.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Damien Oliver settled Azkadellia within the field of eighteen; experiencing a reasonable run in transit but failing to handle a tough part of the cut up Eagle Farm track; fading to finish a hapless and forgettable 10th.
Maher told The Gold Coast Bulletin he believes the Shinko King mare’s position in transit was to blame for her Stradbroke Handicap performance, and believes she is still in the right form to atone in the 2016 Tattersall’s Tiara.
“If you look at the two races before her and the race after I don’t think they went anywhere near about 10m off the rail, so it was pretty clear it was inferior ground,” Maher said.
“I think you just have to forget the run and Malaguerra finished back there where Azkadellia did and he was a horse I thought would be hard to beat, but he was just on the wrong part of the track as well.
“Prior to the race we wanted to be on the outside and clearly we weren’t but I know it doesn’t always go to place and it is what it is.
“Maybe (Oliver) thought he could cut the corner and get to the outside but anyway, it didn’t work out.
“She seemed to come through it well and she recovered quickly after the race. If she works well between now and then, I would say I would be going into the race.”
Azkadellia has been a strong and consistent performer for Maher through her entire racing career so far; posting six wins and a further eight minors through only sixteen competitive starts.
Capping an impressive 2015 campaign third in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) Azkadellia resumed this year for second in the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) before savaging the line for success in the Group 3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m) on February 27th.
Running a close second in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m), Azkadellia didn’t handle the particularly heavy going in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on Day 1 of The Championships, but her class carried her to an impressive third place finish.
Breaking through for a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) only one week later, Azkadellia arrived in Brisbane for a close second in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) a fortnight prior to the Stradbroke Handicap.
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