Hot favourite makes no mistake at the first time of asking

If Solar Great's recent turf barrier trial wasn't enough, the betting for the opening race told everyone that Solar Great was expected to win first time out for David Hall. In a race thin on chances, Solar Great (Brett Prebble) opened up a warm favourite and made no mistake - and was still struggling to get a kind word from his trainer. "He's scary to look at - his conformation is not good, neither are his knees and feet, he has a history of leg problems and not much hindquarter," Hall said, but rather than call for the ambulance, he was looking to future. "He's not pretty but he is athletic and we've managed to put some weight on him and keep him happy." Alan Aitken


Barrier one proves to be a blessing this time around

Once upon a time, gate one up the straight with the rail out was a deadly poison, but Michael Chang Chun-wai's Ultimate Winners produced an extraordinary win in those circumstances on the C+3 to continue a more recent trend. Of the last 13 straight course winners from gate one since early 2008, eight came on the C+3 track - symptomatic of how straight racing has changed since gates were moved to the outside rail. Prebble said his plan was always to give Ultimate Winners a chance and sit back early and the gelding responded with a paralysing finish to arrive in the final bounds: "I think the boys up the front went a bit hard in that mid-section." Alan Aitken


Breeders' Cup Sprint star eyes Hong Kong showpiece

North American sprinter Smiling Tiger was back on form running third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and his connections may be looking for an invitation to the Longines Hong Kong Sprint. It was the second time Smiling Tiger had been placed in the race during a career which has netted him three Group One victories and trainer Jeff Bonde indicated to the media afterwards the son of Hold That Tiger could be a starter for Sha Tin next month. In other news, Gerald Mosse is likely to be the new rider for last season's Classic Mile winner Sweet Orange, when David Ferraris' four-year-old resumes in the Jockey Club Mile on November 18. Alan Aitken