Racing: Silver Rhapsody glitters

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The Independent Online
FORTY YEARS ago, the first edition of Grandstand - which included three races from Ascot - was immediately followed by an episode of The Lone Ranger. So perhaps it was appropriately a case of "Hi-ho Silver, away" here yesterday as the Berkshire course hosted the celebratory anniversary of the Beeb's venerable programme.

Silver Rhapsody emerged as a filly of some potential in the feature, the Princess Royal Stakes, with a fairly comfortable two-length defeat under Kieren Fallon of last year's victress Delilah. Provided she can be kept sound, that is; her big, rangy frame has had its share of problems and getting her to the track has proved something of an effort, though very much a team one.

The race was only the fourth of Silver Rhapsody's career - she had not been sighted since her third (one place in front of subsequent Arc runner- up Leggera) in the Lancashire Oaks in early July - and soft ground is her key. Post-race, Henry Cecil immediately shifted credit to the three- year-old's lass Sharon Bowles and Warren Place back specialist Liz Minter. "The filly hated the hard ground in the summer and got really quite sore," said the trainer. "It has not been easy getting her ready, but they have done it, not me."

The American-bred Silver Rhapsody, a round-actioned daughter of Silver Hawk, was bought as a yearling by Trevor Harris as a future foundation mare for his newly purchased Lordship Stud in Newmarket and should do sterling service as a mum in time. But she has some racing to do before then this year and next, her most immediate date being the St Simon Stakes over a mile and a half at Newbury in 13 days' time.

The Irish challenger Show Me The Money took home the purse for the afternoon's other Group Three heat, the Cornwallis Stakes. The Noel Meade-trained filly, who beat the bogged-down favourite deadly Nightshade a length and a half, was following in the hoofprints of her sire Mujadil, winner of the five-furlong race eight years ago. Ten years ago the Autumn Stakes went to a promising young colt called Nashwan, who went on to win the 2,000 Guineas, Derby, Eclipse and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes as a three-year-old in 1989. And it would not be hard to imagine yesterday's eight-length winner of the mile Listed contest, Daliapour, heading for Epsom come the first Saturday in June next year.

The Aga Khan's little bay son of Sadler's Wells looked on excellent terms with himself in the parade ring and turned the tables on his Newbury conqueror Boatman in no uncertain fashion. Olivier Peslier, deputising for Frankie Dettori, who gave best to a bout of influenza after riding morning work, had the colt in the van from the off and drew steadily clear in the straight, making light of the testing conditions underfoot.

Daliapour, now with four runs under his girth, will not be seen in public again this year. "We've learned enough about him, and he's learned enough about his job", said his trainer Luca Cumani. "He should be a very nice middle-distance prospect for next year. He's beautifully balanced, very relaxed and the right size and shape."

The young horse may have that little something extra, too. At home, apparently, he is very much the alpha male among his contemporaries. Cumani's wife Sara explained: "He is definitely a leader; if another horse tries to come past him even walking in the string he makes all sorts of threats. He's got a pretty good opinion of himself, but not in a nasty way. He's a real character."

The stable's three-year-old star High-Rise is still on course for the Breeders' Cup Turf in four weeks' time. The trip to Churchill Downs has been added to the Derby winner's agenda after his luckless seventh in last week's Arc. "He enjoyed his day out in Paris much more than I did", said Cumani, "he only raced in earnest for about 200 yards. We'll take it day by day but he still looks extremely well."

The top-level action is back at Longchamp today, when eight line up for France's premier two-year-old colts' contest, the Grand Criterium over a mile. Two travel from Britain, the Royal Lodge Stakes runner-up Glamis (John Gosden) and Red Sea (Paul Cole), and two from Ireland, the Aidan O'Brien stablemates Coliseum and El Gran Hombre. The home side's best defenders are thought to be the Fabre pair Indian Danehill - yesterday supplemented for the Dewhurst - and Grazalema. The going at Longchamp is classed as very soft.