HELENE Star nailed his International Cup colours to the mast with a driving win in Saturday's Sha Tin Trophy Handicap. The bare facts of the victory - a short-head success from rank outsider Champman River and a Topspeed rating of 80 - suggest the Patrick Biancone-trained gelding has something to find if he is to be competitive at an international level. However, there can be no doubt this son of Vice Regal deserves a place in the Cup lineup and a look behind his figures paints a far more optimistic picture of his chances of giving the overseas raiders a run for their money. Nursed back to health by Biancone from a potential career-ending leg injury two years ago, the 1992 Derby winner earned speed figures in the 70s on five of his six starts last season and clocked a season-high 76 when landing the 1,800-metre Piaget Gold Cup on his final outing. Starting the current campaign with a highly encouraging 74 under a welter burden of 142 pounds over 1,200-metres, a time rating of 80 at the weekend clearly continues his progress back to top form. In his 1992-93 campaign, Helene Star twice clocked Topspeed ratings in the 90s, including a career-high 95 for his luckless second in the International Bowl. But, the ability to return that level of speed figure would certainly give the domestic challenge far more bite than it had last year and there is no saying that Biancone had got to the bottom of Helene Star prior to the injury. The very best may be yet to come. And that comment doesn't just hold for Helene Star. Let's not forget Biancone's other runner in Saturday's Group Three contest. If the Simon Yim-ridden galloper landed the spoils, Bumper Star produced the performance of the race at the weights. With a Gold Cup fourth the only defeat to his name in seven starts last season and progressive figures culminating with a Topspeed of 75, the extent of his abilities certainly did not appear to be fully tapped last year and a new career-best time rating of 82 confirms that he has thrived over the close season. Don't be overly concerned about the difference between the speed figures achieved and the official ratings for both Biacone-trained Stars (or any top animal in the territory). At this level the official ratings bear no comparison to the 0-140 handicap scale used elsewhere. Topspeed ratings do and as such give a more realistic view of where our top horses stand on an international basis. Take Bumper Star for example. He is fully expected to prove superior to his current Topspeed rating of 82, but with the best will in the world he is never realistically going to achieve close to Saturday's official mark of 123. Lammtarra has completed a memorable Derby, King George and Arc treble but rates only 130 on the international classification. Take out the built-in eight pound weight-for-age adjustment and that puts him on a figure of just 122. Indeed, the European champion three-year-old clocked a non-weight-for-age Topspeed of 118 at Longchamp and that is the true level of a Group One performer. To be competitive in the invitation races, the home challengers need to reach international Group Three standard and be capable of recording figures above the 100 mark. With Bumper Star posting improved ratings with each run and Helene Star already boasting a Topspeed of 95 to his name, the Patrick Biancone-trained pair are certainly two with the potential to do just that.