Lucky Nine is the one to beat
The questions about Lucky Nine's stamina can wait for the Derby because there is no doubting the Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old at 1,400m today and that should enable him to claim a second Group One success in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup.
The merits of his second to Ambitious Dragon over 1,800m last time out were open to some debate and connections will have a decision to make about going an extra 200m on Derby Day, but that isn't a concern this time.
While many might query the switch back in trip and then back up again, Fownes has probably pulled a smart move in running as any stamina questions might have been exacerbated on Derby Day if Lucky Nine (Brett Prebble) had been without a race for a month.
This run will ensure he is rock hard fit if he is to tackle the Derby - and there's a decent sort of prize at the end of the 1,400m Group One anyway.
Dropping back in distance won't be any issue at all for Lucky Nine, who has terrific natural speed and the draw to take advantage of it.
With he and Beauty Flash (Gerald Mosse) looking the only regular front-runners, the prospect is for a muddling tempo and a sprint home, a pattern which has characterised many of the good mile races in the past 12 months.
That pattern has enabled Beauty Flash to rack up three Group One wins and his honesty and toughness will carry him a long way again.
Prebble has options to lead or take a sit, but he may use Lucky Nine's speed to ensure he holds the front and the rail and forces Beauty Flash to sit outside him, rather than having everything to his own recipe in front.
The John Moore-trained One World (Darren Beadman) looks a threat if he was to get circumstances to suit, but a soft tempo has never been his preferred pace and is part of the reason why his 1,400m record has been fairly indifferent.
If there is to be an upset - and both Sacred Kingdom and Good Ba Ba have been turned over at odds-on in this race in recent years - then John Size-trained Brave Kid (Greg Cheyne) appears the most likely improver.
His first run this season was full of merit up the straight 1,000m, then he was caught off the track in the Chairman's Sprint (1,200m). Going an extra 200m again is going to suit better and he should be trailing the leading runners into the straight.
Lucky Nine has been most impressive in winning six times from 12 outings and his bank balance has swollen to: HK$9.5m