Racing: Time to catch Muzzle's drift: General Monash reinforces the claims of a stablemate out of favour in the betting for Saturday's King George

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The Independent Online
ALTHOUGH White Muzzle's racecourse gallop at Newbury on Saturday failed to impress bookmakers and punters that Peter Chapple- Hyam's charge should be supported for next Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, events at Maisons-Laffitte yesterday might just sway opinion.

Chapple-Hyam's General Monash galloped back to form at the Paris track, taking the Group Two Prix Robert Papin and demonstrating that his stable should not be written off as being out of sorts. Sent off at the generous price of 8.7-1, General Monash provided a reminder that longer odds than expected should encourage, not deter, support. With White Muzzle being eased by two of the major bookmaking firms after his Saturday exertions, his success was well timed.

White Muzzle was given a testing workout at Newbury where last year's King George runner-up finished clear of two stablemates over a mile and a quarter. He tracked Spanish Grandee until Relentless Pursuit joined them five and a half furlongs out. White Muzzle quickened past them two out to stretch about four lengths clear.

'At home nothing can go with White Muzzle,' Chapple- Hyam said. 'He's been doing everything too easily and has got laid back. This was to wake him up and he is more on his toes than before.'

Nevertheless, White Muzzle was pushed out to 11-2, from 4-1, by Coral and to the same odds from 5-1 by William Hill. 'We just haven't been laying him,' Rob Hartnett, of Coral, said. White Muzzle is 6-1 with Ladbrokes, who have 9-2 joint-favourites in Erhaab and Apple Tree. White Muzzle finished only fifth behind the latter in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and, although he is the rival Chapple-Hyam fears most, the trainer added: 'We weren't ready at Epsom but we are ready for action now.'

The best backed King George contender has been Foyer, now a 10-1 chance with Coral, William Hill and Ladbrokes. Hartnett explained: 'He has been backed ever since Frankie Dettori was booked to ride him.'

General Monash's success came a day after Flowerdrum, at Newbury, had ended a 17- day spell without winners for the stable, which endured another disappointment when the odds-on Missel finished only fourth on the same card.

'I've never been worried about the horses at all,' Chapple-Hyam said. 'I think I have had only 15 runners since Royal Ascot and Missel was quite badly struck into.'

In France yesterday, the Manton trainer was equally ebullient. 'General Monash wasn't right (when beaten) at Ascot, but he certainly was right today and proved himself a top-class horse.

'He idled in front and only ever does just enough. He's tough and, provided the ground is good, he may run again in the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.'

Chapple-Hyam, who had been booed by the Parisian punters after Colonel Collins ran poorly at Saint-Cloud on Thursday, added: 'I'm the hero of France now.'

Prix Robert Papin

1. GENERAL MONASH bay colt Thorn Dance - Zummerudd B Thomson

2. Tereshkova T Jarnet

3. Expelled Pat Eddery

Also ran: Sonic Boy (4th), Philoma (5th), Idamus (6th), Donleole (7th), Shamanic (8th).

8 ran. nk, 5. (P Chapple-Hyam for R Sangster). Pari-Mutuel: 9.70; 1.50, 1.20, 1.10. DF 16.10.

(Photograph omitted)