SNOWBOUND in Alaska, forced to divert to Tokyo and then delayed in the Japanese capital . . . that was the tale of woe for a trio of American challengers for Sunday's International Races when they finally touched down in Hong Kong late last night. International Cup contender Stark South plus Bowl hopefuls Journalism and Fourstar Dave walked on to the Kai Tak tarmac after a planned 26-hour journey that turned into a near 40-hour marathon. Trouble for the trio started when their plane touched down at Anchorage and could not take off again in the swirling snow. When the snow cleared and the plane finally left it was diverted to Tokyo because the flying hours permitted to the crew were not sufficient to fly it direct to Hong Kong. A relief crew had to be flown to Tokyo from Hong Kong to bring the horses here last night where, shortly before midnight, the comment was: ''Considering everything they have been through, they don't look too bad.'' One concerned jockey was Irish-American Declan Murphy, who partners Fourstar Dave in the Bowl, and he will be at Sha Tin this morning to check out his ride in the $4 million, 1,400-metre event. ''There's so much that depends on how the overseas horses travel. This certainly doesn't sound too good but we'll see in the morning,'' said Murphy. The five-year Hong Kong veteran, meanwhile, is officially on standby to ride in the $5 million International Cup. He will be declared for standby starter Our Pal from the Derek Cruz stable and if the horse doesn't run in the Cup will partner the now certain Derby favourite in another race on Sunday's card. Murphy was officially engaged yesterday by Cruz for the ride and said: ''I'm very happy about it. I won four times on the horse and came second once last season so Derek has been very good about it. ''I saw his run in the Stewards' Cup behind River Verdon and thought it was terrific. I'm looking forward very much to riding him on Sunday and if they want someone for the Derby, well I'm available!'' Cruz has also engaged visiting international rider John Reid for dour stayer Polygain and the Ulsterman has also come in for the rides on Excel Treasure and Endurance for trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen. Popular visitor Reid also found himself in demand at Sha Tin yesterday morning when the work rider for English challenger Marina Park failed to show up. Trainer Mark Johnston's travelling head lass, Robynne Wattson, was left walking Bowl challenger Marina Park for 30 minutes as appeals went out on trackside walkie-talkies for a suitable jockey. The ever-willing Reid was tracked down and duly worked Marina Park, commenting: ''She went well and I certainly wouldn't mind riding her. But Frankie [Dettori] is here for that.'' Hong Kong Bowl challenger Sound Print passed a pre-race check examination by senior vet Keith Watkins who said: ''Sound Print had a minor tendon problem and we were just being ultra-careful. I am perfectly happy with him as I am now with all the rest of them.'' Irish champion Mick Kinane, back in action yesterday after his six-day trip to Osaka, worked Cup contender Alflora who is an eye-catching horse. Kinane has partnered Alfora successfully before and commented: ''He went well and, more importantly, showed no ill effects at all from the travel.'' Alflora, who lost a reported 20 kilos on the flight, certainly looked top-notch on his spin around the equitrack and trainer Clive Brittain's head man, Jock Brown, confirmed that he had put back much of the weight lost. French hopefuls Verveine and Voleris, the latter trained by John Hammond who is due in today, certainly looked well after their tiring journey. The filly Verveine was particularly lively and appears to have held her condition. On her unlucky run in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita, Verveine could go close to winning the Cup on Sunday. Champion British trainer Richard Hannon's Swing Low looked scratchy when working out for his Bowl partner, Reid, but too much should not be read into that. Said Reid: ''He never works any other way, you certainly wouldn't be backing him on what you see in the mornings. That's not the problem. I would be slightly more worried about the firm ground and the seven furlongs.'' New Zealand champion jockey Lance O'Sullivan, who will ride Kiwi challengers in both Cup and Bowl, has received Sunday support from trainer Bruce Hutchison. He will ride Esteemed and Acclaimed for the Perth-born mentor.