The scratching of a rising star has robbed the Group One Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup of what could have been a tantalising clash and left the HK$10 million feature at the mercy of Richard Gibson's remarkably consistent gelding Gold-Fun.
The withdrawal of Thewizardofoz with a swollen right front leg and temperature on Friday and the absence of any other young sprinter-milers on the rise means that the only thing that will stop Gold-Fun is terrible luck or a bad day - a rare occurrence for the seven-year-old over four outstanding seasons.
In a week when Lucky Nine was retired, Gold-Fun is left as the standard-bearer for maintaining a high level of performance at stakes level over a long period of time, the chestnut having finished top three in 11 of his last 12 starts over the last 18 months, all in Group races, and 18 from 23 overall in Group races.
Whether it be it his early days racing predominantly at a mile, or in the past 12 months when reborn as a crack sprinter, Gold-Fun's sweet spot has always been Sha Tin's 1,400m, where he has compiled an ominous record of three wins from five starts.
One of those victories was in this race two years ago and last year Gold-Fun was third when blown off the track, along with everyone else, by a rampant Able Friend.
The other horse to beat him home that day was Beauty Flame - who will maintain a close spot, if not lead, from barrier two - in a race with more than enough speed to keep things moving along. Multivictory is drawn alongside in three and, from gate nine, Secret Sham is likely to be hunted forward as well.
Contentment has usually positioned in the first two pairs but, from barrier seven, Brett Prebble is on a horse that has enough tactical versatility to be handy without getting involved in any messy speed battles. The John Size-trained five-year-old comes off a solid third over a mile and drops back to a distance where he captured the Group Three Celebration Cup earlier this season. Contentment has won four from five over 1,400m, albeit with three of those four wins when making rapid progress through the grades.
The trump card for gun-for-hire Christophe Soumillon on Gold-Fun is barrier four, from where he can easily slot in behind the speed and adjust accordingly to whatever pace scenario unfolds.
A better than average tempo presents the best chance for a couple of closers: Beauty Only (Ryan Moore), who might find this distance too sharp now, and recent stable transfer Dundonnell (Neil Callan), having his first run for Caspar Fownes. Both will be doing their best work late.
If Gold-Fun is successful the Irish import will become the second two-time winner since the race was switched to 1,400m in 2005 after Joyful Winner - on whom Soumillon won the first of back-to-back victories for John Moore's horse in 2006.