Chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges does not believe a souring of the Jockey Club's relationship with the Japan Racing Association will follow from the looming ban on racehorses competing in Japan. It now appears the wave of equine herpes virus (EHV) infections among horses at Sha Tin will almost certainly prevent the participation of Hong Kong's best milers in the Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo in June - a race the Tony Cruz-trained Bullish Luck claimed last year - though negotiations are continuing between the two governments. The ban would be a blow to several trainers, including Cruz, who had hoped to run in the Tokyo race, the fourth and final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge series developed by the Jockey Club and the JRA, and would thus carry a potential US$1 million bonus for the winner of this Sunday's Champions Mile at Sha Tin. 'The Japanese require 60 clear days since the last infection for horses to be exported there and our government has been trying to negotiate a 30-day export quarantine for Hong Kong horses before they leave Hong Kong to be absolutely sure they would be satisfied,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'My understanding is they are still negotiating so the outcome will be known, hopefully, after the race on Sunday.' Engelbrecht-Bresges admitted hopes were fading for a positive outcome, but said the club held no ill will towards the Japanese, despite having played a pivotal role in the promotion of Japanese racing to the top level of the international stud book classifications. 'I have to say that our friends from the JRA have done whatever they can but it is a decision that is not in their hands. It is with the Japanese government and its flexibility seems extremely limited,' he said. 'It is disappointing, yes, but I can say our relationship with JRA will not be negatively affected. It's the quarantine authorities who cannot be seen as very progressive. Frankly, it is not like EHV is new to Japan. Its presence there is well known.' Engelbrecht-Bresges said, in the event of a ban, the club would look at alternatives on the domestic front.