It's Helene Brilliant's turn to prove his superiority
Despite the late stage of the season, fans have had a feast of outstanding talent in recent weeks and the Tony Cruz-trained Helene Brilliant should add himself to the list as he takes a second step towards being the best racehorse at Sha Tin today.
Big statement? In the past fortnight we've seen Medic Power then Viva Pataca turn on the power in a fashion that said they need fear no-one, but fit and well Helene Brilliant will be standing up beside them next season, too.
And the proof for that was not in his March defeat of a brave if not outstanding Firm Offer at his debut, just as it will not be in his defeat of a brave if not outstanding group today, most of whom are giving the three-year-old weight in the HSBC Premier Cup (1,400m).
The proof for Helene Brilliant's depth of quality comes from Europe over the past five weeks, where Cockney Rebel has won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas to become the undisputed star miler of his age group in Europe.
Cockney Rebel now heads to the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, where his most serious rival is touted as Aidan O'Brien's Excellent Art after his unlucky fourth in the French 2000 Guineas.
Why is this relevant? Because, at his third start Helene Brilliant comfortably beat Cockney Rebel at York before going down by a nose next run in a Group Two at Newbury. The winner? Excellent Art. And they trounced the remainder.
Helene Brilliant (Brett Prebble) has already shown he has had no trouble settling in to Hong Kong and this race should be a formality on the way to more important assignments. While the greatest interest will be in how Helene Brilliant does the job, the other talking point centres on Cruz's ability to snatch away the HK$200,000 HSBC Premier Series trainers' prize for the second successive season.
To topple Danny Shum Chap-shing from the premier spot, Cruz needs to train the first three placegetters plus fourth or fifth, and with eight runners he has the numbers to make it possible to do to Shum for what he did to John Moore last year.
More vulnerable at the head of the jockeys' standings is Howard Cheng Yue-tin, who rides Nilometer for Cruz.