A tough wide draw has put up an extra hurdle for Sunday's HK$6 million KrisFlyer Sprint favourite Krypton Factor - along with whatever questions there are over his ability to perform on the Singapore turf.
'He's a bit out. Such is life,' said trainer Fawzi Nass. 'I'll have to work out a strategy and find out who are the fast horses on my inside. It shouldn't be a problem as he's shown he could win from behind in Dubai.'
Since the withdrawal of hometown hero Rocket Man with a leg injury, some bookmakers have posted Krypton Factor at well into odds-on to emulate Rocket Man's feat 12 months ago in winning the Golden Shaheen-KrisFlyer double.
His win on Tapeta in Dubai stands out as form which is head and shoulders above the opposition, but Bahrain-based Krypton Factor's turf ability remains a query and barrier eight yesterday at the draw will not make things easier for the hot favourite.
While Rocket Man won from barrier nine last year, the four previous editions of the race had been won by Green Birdie (barrier one), Sacred Kingdom (one), Takeover Target (two) and North Boy (two). On paper, the switch to turf is not a problem - the gelding won five juvenile races in England on turf. However, that form alone would not be good enough and Krypton Factor's formline appears to have improved rapidly since he discovered Tapeta in Dubai.
Nass is obviously not concerned, considering his future plans revealed earlier this week: 'Krypton Factor will be running at Royal Ascot, and I have targeted the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup . Yes, don't remind me. We will be running against Black Caviar - but what to do, we've got to give it a try.'
The best of the opposition, English run-on mare Invincible Ash, came out with barrier six, and the leading local contenders had mixed fortunes.
Both trained by Australian Michael Freedman, Better Be The One suffered a blow to his chances drawing gate nine, but Mr Big was better treated with the two alley.
The Freedman-trained pair were Group One placed in Singapore last start, chasing home Rocket Man in the Lion City Cup.
'That's the first time Mr Big has drawn the inside. That's probably because they didn't use a computer,' joked Freedman. 'It's a nice draw and will give Steve Baster every option where he wants to ride him.'