Racing: Chapple-Hyam looks for a road to victory: The trainer of White Muzzle, Britain's lone runner in the Japan Cup, is glad as the going gets harder in Tokyo

Click to follow
SIMILAR things were said before Britain's whitewash in the Breeders' Cup three weeks ago, but Peter Chapple-Hyam is confident that White Muzzle will be at the top of his form for his final race, Sunday's Japan Cup.

White Muzzle has worked well since arriving from Manton, and the fast going at Tokyo racecourse has also encouraged Chapple-Hyam. 'He'll love this ground,' he said yesterday, 'I want it like a road. The only time he had it like that was in the Italian Derby, which he won by five lengths, beating the course record by two and a half seconds.'

In the search for possible dangers to the Arc runner-up, two names quickly emerged. 'If I had to name a couple it would be Naturalism, second in the race last year, and The Phantom Chance,' Chapple- Hyam said. They are both very tough and used to this type of track. Let's face it, Naturalism only has to go one better than last year.'

Lee Freedman, Naturalism's Australian trainer, and Colin Jillings, who prepares The Phantom Chance in New Zealand, similarly respect the chance of White Muzzle, while both feeling that the race may come too soon for Kotashaan, the Breeders' Cup Turf winner. 'It's asking a lot to come off the Breeders' Cup,' Freedman said.

With two shrewd trainers expressing doubts about the favourite, the odds being offered by British bookmakers make interesting reading. Kotashaan is 11-4 favourite with Hills, who then bet: 3-1 White Muzzle, 6-1 Urban Sea, the Arc winner, 7-1 Star Of Cozzene, the second American challenger, 8-1 Naturalism (from 10-1), 10-1 The Phantom Chance, 12-1 Winning Ticket and Misil, 14-1 others.

The Japanese think nothing of staging their most important race on a Sunday, but in Britain such an occurrence - with legal betting, at least - would be impossible. The British Horseracing Board's campaign for a change in the law continues, however, and yesterday it announced that two more experimental Sunday meetings are to be staged next year.

Racecourses will be invited to apply to stage a Flat meeting in late July or early August, or one over jumps in late October. The aim is to keep the campaign to allow on-course betting on Sunday in the spotlight as Parliament prepares to debate legislation on Sunday trading in the current session.

Three trial race meetings and one point-to-point fixture, with no on-course betting, have already been staged to demonstrate the demand for legal Sunday programmes.

The progress of the Sunday Trading Bill, on which MPs will have a free vote on three deregulation options, is crucial to the introduction of regular Sunday racing, possibly in 1996.

(Photograph omitted)