They came from afar but they couldn't topple the locals, with Designs On Rome leading home a 1-2 result for John Moore and Hong Kong in the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup (2,000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Australian jockey Tommy Berry made it back-to-back wins in the Group One on Designs On Rome as he edged out Military Attack, the horse who provided him with his first Hong Kong winner 12 months ago.
South African raider Vercingetorix (Anthony Delpech) was third with Japanese raider Epiphaneia (Yuichi Fukunaga) a distant fourth after sitting wide throughout.
Berry admitted he was nervous when he saw last year's winner creep through towards the rail after making a run out wide.
“There was a little bit of a scare when Military Attack got up on the inside but you always know I’ve got a little bit more left in the tank when I haven’t pulled the stick through to the right hand because he finds a little bit more when I do," Berry said. "He loves a dogfight, this horse. I’ll be surprised the day he gets beat because he never gives up.”
Moore suggested the Group One Champions and Chater Cup (2,400m) on May 25 will be Designs On Rome's next aim, while both Military Attack and Vercingetorix are likely to head to Singapore for the Group One Singapore Airlines International Cup (2,000m) on May 18.
Earlier, Moore made it a clean sweep of the features with the success of Charles The Great in the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m).
Charles The Great (Douglas Whyte) came with a barnstorming run to grab a gallant Lucky Nine (Brett Prebble), who seemed to enjoy the addition of blinkers but was left in front a long way from home.