Chapple-Hyam eyes successful return

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2007, 12:00am

Whether Al Qasi can win the HK$16 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile or not, popular trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam returns to Hong Kong this weekend in triumph - as Britain's champion trainer, voted Europe's trainer of the year and the reigning Epsom Derby winner.

'I think in four years that's pretty good,' Chapple-Hyam (pictured), 44, said during yesterday's Sha Tin trackwork session. A masterpiece of understatement from a man who slipped out of his role as one of Britain's best in the 1990s to take a plunge into the pool of Hong Kong racing and found the water drained.

After a tough 31/2 years at Sha Tin struggling with numbers, Chapple-Hyam returned home to England only to find the nightmare had not ended. 'I started again with nine horses and it was difficult there, too,' he said. But it has snowballed since.

'The two-year-olds have been very good and, of course, the Derby winner, Authorized. I always thought he was something special because he was bred to stay yet, even from the beginning, he had the speed to go with some very good sprinting horses I had. This year went easy.'

Now Chapple-Hyam returns to Hong Kong hopeful, rather than confident, with Al Qasi in the Mile.

'Al Qasi might not quite be up to it at his first attempt at 1,600m but he may get it around this track, he's tough and I'm hoping he runs a big race. I would love one day to bring a really big horse here - I thought it might be Dutch Art this year but he was retired. Still, I have some of the top two-year-olds in Europe so maybe it will be one of them next year.'