If that is still true on Friday evening, it will not be for want of trying. Chapple-Hyam's nine- runner challenge at this year's meeting is his strongest yet, and such as Cairo Prince (the King Edward VII Stakes), Abury (Ribblesdale), Lyford Kay (King George V Handicap) and Zind (Queen's Vase) will all go to post with a chance. But like many teams, its overall success may depend on the performance of its youngest members.
The winning debuts of Stonehatch and State Performer on consecutive days at York last month were a reminder of Chapple-Hyam's own first season, when Dr Devious and Rodrigo De Triano collected most of the juvenile prizes worth having, before going on to still better things at three.
One punter had sufficient faith in the parallel yesterday to strike a pounds 50,000 to pounds 3,000 bet on Stonehatch for the 1994 2,000 Guineas, but Chapple-Hyam is more cautious.
'It's very hard to compare them,' he said yesterday, 'because Rodrigo hadn't done any serious work at this time of the year, while Dr Devious had won and was running in the Coventry.' He finished second, to Dilum; Stonehatch will start a warm favourite to go one better in the same race this afternoon.
State Performer gets his chance in the Chesham Stakes on Wednesday, while another Manton juvenile, Turtle Island, should also have an outing in either the Norfolk or the Windsor Castle Stakes, but Chapple- Hyam has few doubts as to their relative merits: 'Stonehatch, State Performer and Turtle Island, in that order.
'I see Richard Hannon said that Wajiba River (Stonehatch's principal rival today) is his nap of the week,' Chapple-Hyam says. 'I think he's a good horse, but Stonehatch is my nap of the week, so one of us is going to lose out.'
Should Hannon be proved correct, Chapple-Hyam will at least be diverted by the need to saddle Cairo Prince, another likely favourite who Chapple- Hyam believes 'will take all the beating'. For backers looking to the long term, however, it may be significant that no Ascot runner excites the trainer more than White Muzzle, the Italian Derby winner, who runs not at the Royal meeting but in the Churchill Stakes on Saturday's much less prestigious Heath card.
'I was thinking about running him at the Royal meeting, but he ran in a Group One last time and if you keep bashing away at these Group ones it takes a lot out of them,' he said. 'In Saturday's race he gets a 4lb penalty, I think, so it's ideal.'
Chapple-Hyam's infectious confidence may have taken a few knocks by the time he gives John Reid the leg-up on White Muzzle, but satisfaction with his week's work could could be guaranteed very quickly and simply.
'One winner will do.'Reuse content