After a 15-year odyssey, things have come full circle for Peter Chapple-Hyam. Though he might easily have lost his bearings during that unhappy exile in Hong Kong, from a standing start he has taken just three seasons to renew his status among the very best trainers of a two-year-old.
Of course, there is more to him than that. When he won both the Group One races at Newmarket for juvenile colts, in 1991, he left himself enough rope to win Classics the following year: Rodrigo De Triano taking the 2,000 Guineas, and Dr Devious the Derby.
This time round he has already won the Middle Park Stakes with Dutch Art, and on Saturday he saddles another unbeaten colt, Hamoody, in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes. Hamoody did not receive due recognition for his narrow success in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in August, barely three weeks after his debut. Certainly Chapple-Hyam does not perceive the same gulf between the pair as the bookmakers, who offer Hamoody at 33-1 for the 2,000 Guineas, and Dutch Art 7-1. "They are very different horses, but they probably have the same ability," he insisted yesterday.
True, Dutch Art has more runs on the board, albeit he has not yet met a colt as proficient as Teofilo, who sets the standard in the Dewhurst. But it should help Hamoody that Newmarket missed most of the rain yesterday, because he tries a seventh furlong having previously raced only on quick ground.
"Rain would be a slight worry, because he is such a good mover, and obviously it's a bloody tough race," Chapple-Hyam said. "But I have never had him better. He did everything wrong at Goodwood, and so did his trainer and jockey. He saw too much daylight, but basically it was my fault, I rushed him to get there and that's why he got so keen. He was just a baby before then - he's actually very easy to train - but he has developed all the while since, physically. You'll see a different horse on Saturday."
Chapple-Hyam's resurgence was maintained at the Tattersalls yearling sales yesterday when he was promised a Medicean colt, purchased for 200,000 guineas by Cheveley Park Stud - another new patron for his stable.
With Alan Munro still sidelined, Frankie Dettori takes the mount on Hamoody. There was never any danger of Dettori being claimed by Godolphin, whose juveniles have been so slow to emerge. They are finally peering over the parapet, however, and none will stimulate quite as much interest as Jalil, who makes his debut at Newmarket tomorrow. This is the Storm Cat colt who cost $9.7m (£5.2m) at Keeneland last September.
Sheikh Mohammed is fully aware of what Jalil must achieve to represent good business, but would undoubtedly settle for a performer akin to either of the colts currently animating the American wing of his racing empire.
Understandably, he yesterday decided to keep Bernardini and Discreet Cat apart. With Bernardini likely to end his career in the Breeders' Cup Classic on 4 November, Discreet Cat will be diverted to the Grade One Cigar Mile at Aqueduct three weeks later. The Godolphin colt will instead be given his chance to bloom next year.
"With Bernardini a red hot favourite for the Classic, it makes more sense for us to look for an alternative route with Discreet Cat - especially with his four-year-old career in mind," Simon Crisford, the stable manager, said. "His summer programme was wiped out when he started coughing, so we had to give him time. He has made plenty of physical development, having been very light-framed early on, and next year will be competing at the highest level."
Definitely on course for the Breeders' Cup is Ouija Board, who declines a final bow to her British admirers in the Emirates Champion Stakes on Saturday. With the ground on the easy side, Ed Dunlop confirmed that she would go straight for the Filly and Mare Turf race in Kentucky.
As indicated in these pages last week, Kieren Fallon will be able to ride Yeats in the Melbourne Cup next month.
The jockey has now been formally notified that he remains eligible for a licence in Victoria, despite his suspension from British racecourses.
Nap: Windy Spirit
NB: Ladies Best
(Newmarket 2.35)Reuse content