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Silken Touch Resumes Her Winning Way's

By Pearcey | 31 Dec 2011 | BANGALORE

Mr Zeyn Mirza & trainer S S Attaollahi leading Silken Touch (Marthin Dwyer Up), winner of The Dariya Daulat Cup

Suleiman Attaollahi's Silken Touch made a brilliant start to her winter campaign by claiming The Dariya Daulat Cup at Bangalore on Saturday. Running for the first time in Class I, she mocked her rivals by cantering away to perhaps the easiest victories of her career. It was a proud moment for Dr Vijay Mallya's racing establishment, as this performance completed 120 wins in a calender year for their colours in 2011. It equalled the record set by them last year. The sprint handicap for horses rated 80 and above attracted a small group of seven runners. The presence of Show Time, Secret Punch and Silken Touch scared away quite a few entrants. Irfan Ghatala's Show Time had good form. She had clocked a superb timing while accounting for a good set of youngsters earlier in the season. The said performance had enthused her connections to run her over a longer trip in The 1000 Guineas at Bangalore. It was felt that if she could handle the mile, she would win. After leading into the straight Show Time had got tired that day, and had to eventually settle for the third spot. With a chunk of weight off her back, and running over a favourable sprint, she was installed as an even-money favourite on Saturday. Secret Punch and Silken Touch received stray support in the betting rings.

In a fast run race, Secret Punch made the early running and led from Silken Touch and Show Time. The other four runners were seen racing in single file as they took the rising ground near the three furlong marker. Both Sreekanth on Secret Punch and Martin Dwyer astride Silken Touch were yet to move in their saddles, and it was difficult to say who was travelling better than the other. On the other hand, Suraj was seen niggling Show Time to inch towards the leaders. The race took a serious turn in the straight, and the winner was sighted a long way from home. A mere tap from Dwyer put Silken Touch into top gear. She overtook Secret Punch and strode away to a comfortable victory. A hard ridden Show Time could only manage to finish a tame third ahead of Rare And Precious and the others. The winner is sure to receive a penalty for this performance, and it is more than likely that her trainer may target Silken Touch at some "terms events" in the future.

For both Attaollahi and Martin Dwyer this was victory number two, as they had already scored a point each earlier in the afternoon. Three year old filly Astonishing had shown tremendous improvement while running away with The Kudremikh Trophy. Dominic's Violent Storm was an odds-on choice in this race. This last outing winner was "kicked" by Lightning Express as the horses were making their way to the starting gates, and a serious injury resulted in his withdrawl. Apprentice Vaibhav made full use of his innermost draw and pushed the Attaollahi trained Astonishing into an early advantage over Final Countdown and Jeyem, while the speedy Lucky Sam was held back in fourth position. Astonishing increased the tempo into the straight and tore away from the pack. Lucky Sam rallied into second place while Stud Muffin and a late finishing Apollo King managed to figure on the board.

Martin Dwyer had started the day on a winning note. With money flowing in the direction of Anonymous, Padmanabhan's Imperial Verse was ignored from a betting perspective. The favourite had been showing out in his track trials and he looked the part in the paddock. However, a couple of mishaps near the starting gates led to an altered scenario. Sumela dropped Samuel Fargeat and bolted rider less. The favourite Anonymous reared up in the gate and fell on his back, thereby injuring Impressive attitude who was drawn alongside. All three of them were declared as "non-starters".  Volcano showed initial speed to charge away from Sweet Secret and Clever Trick. Martin Dwyer was seen urging Imperial Verse in the early stages of this race, but the filly was not responding to his tactics. Sweet Secret assumed control over the proceedings in the final furlong and went ahead of Clever Trick and Volcano. It was exactly at this stage that Imperial Verse began to move. Dwyer's never-say-die attitude paid rich rewards. Imperial Verse got stronger with each stride and managed to beat Sweet Secret near the winning post.

On a day when not a single favourite obliged, the two divisions of a Class II sprint were won by relative outsiders. Irfan Ghatala's Tanzanite struck immediately on demotion to finish ahead of stablemate Soberano and Star Presence. Sharat Kumar's The Spartan was the medium of some inspired betting, but the horse performed pathetically to finish off the frame. Irfan has been giving regular opportunities to apprentice Anjar Alam, and the boy has been improving with each ride. He positioned Tanzanite advantageously in the back-stretch and pushed her vigorously in the straight. Other fancied runners in this race like Abnoba, Marie Curie and Florida were there only for an outing.

Even though he failed with The Sparatan, Sharat Kumar managed to pick up the lower division of this race with Smooth Glider. While Game Dancer, Foswell, Eagle Claws, Adonis and Lad Fury were huddled together in front, Smooth Glider was content to stay out of trouble. John had settled him comfortably towards the outer portion of the track, and the pair of them waited till they were well into the straight. They made their move on the wide outside and sailed past a bunch of tired horses. Smooth Glider won by a widening margin from a hard ridden Eagle Claws and Foswell, Adonis and Lad Fury. The last three finished in a heap and a camera was consulted to separate them.

Samuel Fargeat was seen at his best while guiding Cinnamon Rush successfully across the wire. The Neil Darashah trained filly beat a bunch of fancied runners while landing this prize. Lady Gaga was tipped as a "certainty" in this race. With Suraj in the saddle, she received strong support to start as a firm favourite ahead of I Specialist and Lad Star. Lady Gaga and I Specialist took off nicely from the gates and engaged each other in a duel. With African Queen and Sky Rider deciding to cut pace with the first two, there was a bit of jostling in front. Fargeat and Cinnamon Rush stayed out of trouble and made their move only in the straight. The filly skipped clear and opened up a nice looking lead into the final furlong. I Specialist moved on the wide outside while Lady Gaga tried her best to rally along the rails. But it was Cinnamon Rush who emerged victorious. Less than a length separated the three of them at the finish.

The day ended with another Sharat Kumar trainee biting the dust. After acquiring Six Shooter last year, the trainer had given this horse a number of runs to bring him down at the scales. He was entered in a suitable sprint alongside horses in his own age group. Those connected to the stable went "nap" on him, while the others followed the action in the betting rings. Early morning favourite Kripa set the early pace and brought them into view. Six Shooter ranged alongside and roused the hopes of his supporters. Md Shoaib pulled out his stick on Six Shooter and asked him to quicken, but the expected acceleration failed to materialize. Kripa responded to Imran Chisty's strong urgings and went clear of a tired Six Shooter. Sparkling Image rallied late to run into third place.