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Zoffany Bay

Zoffany Bay ran a big race to finish second in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Ascot on Saturday on his first run back after exactly 700 days.

Settled in mid-division early on by Aidan Coleman and towards the inside, he was a little keen early on, which was fully understandable on his first run back after such a long absence. He travelled well into the home straight, but he was still well back in a well-bunched field. He picked up smartly though on the far side at the second last flight and, while Irish Hill had hit the front and gone for home at that stage, he stayed on well on the far side to take second place behind him, just in front of Samarrive, with the three of them clear.

Zoffany Bay is nine now, he won on the flat as a three-year-old for George Peckham and as a four-year-old for Ali Stronge, and he won three of his seven hurdle races in France in 2020/21. He probably put up a career-best performance on his final run in France in March 2021, when he won a listed hurdle by four lengths from Super Alex, who won the Grade 2 Prix la Barka last June. The Zoffany gelding has since moved to Ireland, and it was a fine training performance by Peter Fahey to have him ready to run as well as he did after such a long absence. He was weak in the market too, and there is every chance that he will come on appreciably for this. He holds an entry in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at Cheltenham, and his handicap rating of 122 is very workable.
Ascot, 18th February 2023