Mr. Zeyn Mirza & Trainer S S Attaollahi leading Silken Touch ( Trevor Patel Up), winner of The Krishnaraja Wadiyar Cup
A long card of ten events was framed for the opening day of the Bangalore Summer Season 2012 on Saturday. The fields were well filled and racing was keen and competitive. The Krishnaraja Wadiyar Cup, a sprint handicap for horses in Class I, was billed as the day's feature. A dozen of the best sprinters stationed at Bangalore had accepted to face the starter. A mere look at the card confirmed that the three runners which looked better than the rest were Silken Touch, Win Again and Valahak. Silken Touch had won a similar race in winter before she was campaigned in “graded" company. There were a few things that favoured her today. Firstly, she was reverting to a handicap event. Secondly, both Win Again and Valahak were carrying penalties for their victories in previous starts, and most importantly, Silken Touch was known to run her best races when "fresh”. All three of them had done some brilliant work on the training track. The connections of Win Again and Valahak had chosen to lighten their burden by entrusting them to apprentice jockeys. The bookmakers odds reflected a similar sentiment, as these three runners occupied the top slots on the betting boards.
Magnitude Star darted to the front and set a good pace ahead of Win Again. Silken Touch and Valahak travelled comfortably behind them, while the other eight were under pressure to keep pace with the front-runners. Apprentice Noornabi managed to take Win Again to the front near the two furlong marker, and tried his best to keep him going. However, he had no answers to the final onslaught of Silken Touch. Trevor Patel brought her with a smooth run through the middle, and assumed command of the proceedings. He rode her hand-n-heels thereafter to saunter away from Win Again. Valahak improved late to beat Magnitude Star into fourth place. Suleiman Attaollahi must be complimented for producing Silken Touch in such fine shape in the day's feature. The filly has a lot of ability, and it will be interesting to see how she is campaigned during the rest of the season. The placed horses are sure to get their opportunities in the coming months.
This was Trevor Patel's second winner as he had already won the season's opener with Cecil. This Dhariwal trained maiden was always considered to be a good type, but an early setback had delayed his progress. His morning trials indicated that all was well with him. However, he seemed to have a formidable opponent in B Mahesh's Motivating. This filly had run a good second in the only start of her career. She had looked "gross" that day, and it was felt that she had improved significantly in the last couple of months. The bookmaker's odds confirmed that both the camps were equally confident about their respective wards. Motivating took a smart jump from the six furlong marker, set a nice pace in the backstretch and was the first to enter the straight. Cecil joined the issue in the last furlong and the pair began to pull away from the rest. Srinath gave a few cracks to Motivating, but finding nothing extra , put away his stick. On the other hand, Cecil responded gamely to Trevor's urgings and got the better of Motivating near the winning post. The runner-up is sure to pick up a maidens race this season.
The other maiden's event held on Saturday was over a longer trip. Ganapathy trained Own Asset was backed to the exclusion of his rivals and the chestnut started as a 45/100 favourite in this race. This big made horse struggled in the early stages and those who had chosen to back him at such a short price were beginning to get worried. However, he managed to find that little bit extra in the final stages to go past a tired Amazon Bay. Sreekanth had to use all his abilities to help him across the wire. Nocturnal Hunter, Air Display and Firelight ended in a heap to claim the minor placings. Own Asset will need to show much improvement before re-entering the winner's enclosure.
The Mayor's Cup, a seven furlong handicap open to horses of all ages, is normally used as a lead-up race by three year old classic contenders. It was no different this year. A handful of them were entered in this event, and since the number of acceptors was fairly large, the race was divided. The highly rated Jersey Girl was the only youngster in the upper division. By winning a "million" event over the Invitation Weekend, the filly had shown a lot of promise. Even though she was a winner of a single race, the official handicapper had rated her amongst the top few juveniles at this centre. The fact that she was seen getting stronger in the finishing stages of that memorable victory, was enough to enthuse her connections. Since she was bred for a bit longer, they felt that she had a lot of potential. Jersy Girl confirmed all this and more by putting up a wonderful performance today. Srinath held her back on a tight leash as they took the rising ground and turned for home. Staying away from possible traffic problems, he pulled her towards the centre of the track and asked her to accelerate. Jersey Girl responded gamely and sped away from Castro and Radical Attraction. This Puttanna trainee is expected to improve further and put up a good show in the Fillies Classic.
Cocktail Circuit, Maths Baby, Imperial Verse and Union Jack lined up in the last race of the day. Maths Baby had the best credentials, but the fact that he was running for the first time after being gelded, was a bit of a dampener. After a superb debut victory, Cocktail Circuit had put up a dismal performance at Mumbai. Racegoers chose to ignore that run and backed her with confidence. There was no doubt that both Cocktail Circuit and Maths Baby were looking wonderful in the paddock. No-hopers Living Legend and Mountain Beauty did the early running before fading from the scene. F Da Silva, riding his first race in India, occupied the box seat with Maths Baby and the pair travelled comfortably in third spot ahead of Imperial Verse and the others. Cocktail Circuit ran green in the backstretch and it took a while before Trevor could get her into some sort of rhythm. She was almost last of twelve at the top of the straight. Maths Baby seized a nice looking opening on the rails and charged for home. His free flowing strides enabled him to coast away for an authoritative victory. Cocktail Circuit emerged from the trailing pack to finish a clear second ahead of Imperial Verse and a tired Mountain Beauty. Maths Baby is definitely headed to climb much higher than his present rating.
Prithviraj trained Salsa Touch covered acres of ground in the straight to overwhelm Absolut Grey in the final furlong and run away for an easy victory. The seven furlong handicap for older horses in class IV had an open look. The presence of B Prakash astride Absolut Grey made him the first choice of the punters. Even though it was widely acknowledged that this horse had a tendency to stop in the closing stages of a race, it was felt that he would be good enough to handle the present opposition. After chasing Bounty Hunter for the first half of their journey, Absolut Grey seized the initiative. He opened up a nice looking lead and emerged clear of the pack. Not many noticed Salsa Touch at this stage. The colt was weaving his way through a group of tired horses and getting stronger with each passing moment. Before one realized what was happening, Salsa Touch overtook Absolut Grey and registered one of the easiest victories of the afternoon.
An entirely different finish was witnessed in the other division of this race. Last outing winner Mellonsdelight was fancied to repeat his performance. The only worry pertained to his slow getaway from the starting stalls. Since he had been drawn on the wide outside, it would be necessary for him to take a smart jump today. That is exactly what he did. While the fancied pair of Apollo King and Claara took a while to find their rhythm, Mellonsdelight raced keenly from the word "go". Imran Khan pushed him ahead near the bend and made free use of his whip. The long lead that he established at this stage was mainly responsible for his ultimate triumph. Claara made up much ground towards the end, but was still shy at the wire. Apollo King got tired in the straight to finish a tame third. He will be a different proposition the day he tackles a similar set of horses over a shorter trip of six furlongs.
A couple of races for horses in the lowest category witnessed runaway victories for Javanica and Loving Fantasy. Javanica enabled Puttanna to lead-in a double for the afternoon. The four year old filly was the only one to come into this race with some decent winter form. After winning a similar race in January, she had carried a penalty into third place subsequently. Receiving one-sided support on Saturday, she performed on expected lines. Despite her wide draw, she flew out of the gates and was alongside Stately Dance near the first bend. Vaibhav chose to wait a little longer before making his final move. Responding nicely to her jockey's urgings, Javanica lengthened her strides in the straight and ran away from the early leader. Benedict took the third spot ahead of a bunch of ordinary performers.
Inayathulla's Loving Fantasy was lucky to find herself in the lower division of this event. With money flowing in the direction of Jeyem and Smart Edition, Loving Fantasy started as an outsider. Quick Silver, Jeyem and Smart Edition cut pace with each other and were the first three into the straight. Vivek and Loving Fantasy were seen cantering in mid-group as they skirted the false rails and entered the straight. A tired Jeyem felt the pressure near the distance post and leant onto Quick Silver. Smart Edition, who was travelling right behind this pair, had to be switched outwards. In the midst of all this action, Loving Fantasy moved smoothly towards the centre of the track and took over the running. A mere tap from Vivek was all that was required to keep her going. Jeyem and Smart Edition took the minor placings. Since the verdict between the placed horses was only a short head, Imran Chisty tried to get the second spot for Smart Edition by lodging an objection. His contention that Jeyem's interference with Quick Silver had hampered his passage, failed to impress the Stewards.