Racing: Youngsters learn the Manton habit: Peter Chapple-Hyam's two-year-olds are treading a path of continuity in the build-up to the Royal Ascot meeting

Click to follow
NO SOONER have punters retuned their brains from the jumps to the Flat and started to absorb the latest three-year- old generation, than a fresh set of faces arrives to jostle for memory space. It may be hard to credit, but next week Royal Ascot will stage the first juvenile Group races of the season.

Such names as General Monash, Rambrino and Millstream attract little recognition now, but by next Friday they could be the market leaders in the newly-opened ante- post books on the 1995 Classics. More immediately, anyone planning a bet on one of next weeks' events - and few backers can resist - will need to be aware of the story so far.

Early indications are that Peter Chapple-Hyam, who took the Royal meeting's three most prestigious juvenile colts' events last year with Stonehatch (Coventry Stakes), Turtle Island (Norfolk Stakes) and State Performer (Chesham Stakes), will again be the man to beat.

This term he will also be saddling runners in the Queen Mary Stakes, for fillies, and Windsor Castle Stakes. The Manton trainer's principal hopes appear to be Rambrino (Coventry) and General Monash (Norfolk), both of whom were winners on their first and only starts, the latter by no less than 15 lengths on holding ground at Newbury.

Chapple-Hyam is clearly a creature of habit with good two-year-olds. General Monash started his career in the maiden won last year by Turtle Island, while Rambrino's success came in the York event taken last year by Stonehatch.

Turtle Island, of course, has since recorded a 15-length victory of his own, in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, and he will be one of the Royal meeting's main attractions if he contests the St James's Palace Stakes next Tuesday. He will appear 'as long as the ground isn't firm', Chapple-Hyam said yesterday.

A point to bear in mind if one of the trainer's juveniles records an impressive success next week is that he has plenty more at home which have yet to see a racecourse. 'The horses are in good form and I'm really happy with them,' Chapple-Hyam said, 'but I wouldn't have thought you've seen the best one yet.'

Other members of the new generation who have made an early impression are Princely Hush (trained by Michael Bell), Statom and last week's Woodcote Stakes winner Silca Blanka (both with Mick Channon), while one of the most promising fillies seen out so far is Mark Johnston's Millstream.

Johnston is currently in second place in the trainer's earnings table, with pounds 430,000 and 51 winners. He is thus comfortably ahead of the former champions Henry Cecil and Michael Stoute, even though his Middleham yard 'only has half their number of horses', as Johnston's wife, Deirdre, pointed out yesterday.

Millstream, who has won her two races to date with considerable ease, is from the first crop of Dayjur, the champion sprinter of 1990, but does not share her father's tearaway attitude to racing. 'She's an absolute dream, as laid-back as they come,' Mrs Johnston said. 'I think she'll take it all in her stride.'

Mister Baileys, meanwhile, will be allowed to rest following his exertions in the Derby, before returning to take on older milers in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in late July. 'He needs a good rest. He was so brave at Epsom, he gave everything,' Mrs Johnston said.

This year's Sussex Stakes has attracted a fine list of entries, including the American-trained Lure, twice winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile. After Mister Baileys' exhilarating performance in the Derby, however, many punters would agree with Mrs Johnston. 'They'll have to be very good,' she said, 'if they're going to beat ours.'

(Photograph omitted)