Racing: Chapel lures punters

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COLLEGE CHAPEL, trained by Vincent O'Brien, is the early favourite for the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Thursday. Ladbrokes make him a 5-2 chance to add another Group One success to O'Brien's already illustrious record.

After weekend rain, the going on the Knavesmire is good to soft, and soft in places, ideal conditions for the Irish challenger. Second favourite for the five-furlong contest is John Gosden's Keen Hunter at 7-2, and the firm then bets: 5-1 Elbio and Paris House, 8-1 Lochsong and Pips Pride, 9-1 Lyric Fantasy, 20-1 Surprise Offer, 25-1 Sea Gazer, 33-1 Bold N' Flashy, 50-1 others. Bold N' Flashy, a leading Canadian sprinter, will attempt to improve on the third place for last year's transatlantic challenger for the race, Diamonds Galore.

An uninspiring weekend on British tracks prompted plenty of backers to concentrate on the main events at York's showpiece meeting. Few can see beyond Sabrehill and White Muzzle in tomorrow's International Stakes, with the former still clinging to favouritism despite strong support for White Muzzle. Ladbrokes cut Peter Chapple- Hyam's colt to 2-1 from 9-4, with Sabrehill unchanged at 7-4, but Coral trimmed Sabrehill to 6-4, from 13-8. The same firm also cut Sabrehill's odds for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, from 14-1 to 10-1.

In the Ebor, market moves indicated that John Dunlop's My Patriarch will run in Wednesday's big handicap, rather than Melrose Handicap tomorrow. Ladbrokes now make him 8-1 joint favourite (from 10-1) with Luca Cumani's Spin Doctor. The latter also found supporters at William Hill, who cut him two points to 9-1, while Key To My Heart is 16-1 from 20-1 with Ladbrokes.

Michael Roberts, the champion jockey, received his fifth ban of the season yesterday. The stewards at Gelsenkirchen-Horst in Germany found the South African guilty of careless riding after he had steered George Augustus to victory in the day's big race, the Group One Aral Pokal. George Augustus was demoted to second in favour of the home-trained Monsun, ridden by Michael Kinane. Roberts is currently 44 winners behind Pat Eddery in the race for the jockeys' title.

At Hoppegarten, River North and Beneficial, the two British-trained runners in the BMW Championat, could finish only third and fourth behind Kornado.