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Full Speed fools everyone

By Sharan Kumar | 11 Dec 2004 | BANGALORE

Full Speed (Silva up) winner of the Harvins Bangalore 2000 Guineas (Grade II)

Trust Irfan Ghatala, the magician, to pull a fast one on everyone. He has been doing this act time and again with utter contempt for public expectations and yet he has got away because he is a trained actor who can convince anyone and everyone of his noble act! The Derby win for Full Speed at Mysore came after a dismal run in the Guineas and the ridiculously easy win in the Gr 2 Harvins Bangalore 2000 Guineas was achieved after the mess up in the previous run where India’s best three-year old ate humble pie against mediocre opposition, under questionable trade practices. The cynical race goers have learnt to take these things in their stride though these skillful deceits always leave a bitter taste in the mouth and rob the success much of its glory. One can cite innumerable instances of the in and out running of his wards but when things are in one’s favour, contempt for niceties is only natural. Elite Zone did not exude any great enthusiasm in the paddock parade and only Full Speed and Berlioz showed out. Full Speed should have run as a favourite but somehow, the trainer has a way of fooling everyone by sowing seeds of suspicion, resulting in his wards running at lucrative odds and the Derby winner was quoted at a generous 6/1. With Berlioz sporting blinkers for the first time there were some doubt as to how the son of Sri Pekan would react to the equipment. While one could argue it did not have any negative effect, it also showed no positive gains. The race was won for Full Speed once the son of Burden of Proof hit the front and his challengers Berlioz and Elite Zone were held back. Silva cleverly dictated a pace that suited Full Speed and coming a few horses wide at the bend as is her wont, she put the colt in top gear. Full Speed burst into a commanding lead without much fuss even as Elite Zone and Berlioz were struggling behind. Full Speed went away for a comfortable win over a late-finishing Berlioz who appeared to be full of running at the finish when the cause was long lost. Berlioz would have been better served by being on the haunches of the front-runner rather than allowing a Derby winner a free run in the front. With the eclipse of Fantabulous King, Full Speed is the easily the best thee-year old in the country because Venus Arising’s win in the Indian 1000 Guineas was not on expected lines. Somebody like Queen of Fashion who had always found one better in Bangalore ran Venus Arising perilously close. It is quite possible that Full Speed, Star Admiral and Berlioz rank among the top three year olds in the country along with the light framed Venus Arising on whom the hard race would have taken its toll. The connections of Full Speed have decided to keep him for the Bangalore Derby and the Indian Turf Invitation Cup which will be held at Chennai while the rest are already in Mumbai. Among the lot stationed here, Forever Elegance is undoubtedly on the upgrade and has immense scope. When Silva is not declared to ride, you can trust Irfan’s horses to run below par. La Bella Vita had run down the field with top jockey Malesh Narredu in the saddle and as such, the below par performance of Fiorenzza in her previous essay was only to be expected as Paswan, more famous for his mess up on Full Speed, being in the saddle. Now with Silva back in action, Fiorenzza sprouted wings as it were to win the 1400 metres Royal Calcutta Turf Club Cup, a race for horses rated 40 and above, in taking style from a late-finishing Master Craft. Favourite Believer was sluggish at the start and jockey Appu did not aid the cause of the favourite by traveling wide all the time and expending the energies before the serious took a serious turn. Star Force was backed to the exclusion of his rivals in the Haveri Plate (Div II) and the price on Fort Knox drifted out alarmingly in the ring. Star Force was a beaten cause as he did not break off well from the gates. Fort Knox sailed past the front-running Witch Doctor to record a facile win. In the upper division of the race, Jojoba had to be driven out hard by Srinath to get the measure of front-running Imperial Ruler. Trainer Habib Khan had a double for the day through Air Warrior and Zimmerman, both of whom were lucky to have lasted out to win. Air Warrior managed to keep Pick Me Up at bay because apprentice Ashwin Rao kept whipping his horse despite the strongly fancied runner drifting to the edge of the race track. Zimmermann barely lasted out as Lusitania came up with a spirited challenge only to find the winning post coming to the rescue of the front-runner who had run out of steam. Initiation once again let down as a strong favourite, never coming into contention at any stage of the race. Triple Treasure came up with raking strides close home to collar Storm Hawk who had shaped like a winner. In the day’s other action, Proud Tradition was not hard-pressed to win from Langley Wood.