LEADING trainer Ivan Allan is not where he is today without being a most astute placer of his horses. Allan could have launched a double assault on Saturday's 2,400-metre Benson Cup with both Privilege and Sterling Town. Instead he decided to let Privilege take on the ill-fated Gazebo Star and give Sterling Town those extra few days to recover from his third to stablemate, Mr Vitality, in the Stewards' Cup by waiting for tomorrow night's feature event, the Royal Hong Kong Golf Club Centenary Cup. The 1,800-metre contest is the fourth event on the Sha Tin card and thus the most crucial race from a punting point of view as it is not only the middle pin of the Triple Trio, it is also the opening leg of the Double Trio and of the Treble. But it is not as dastardly difficult a 14-runner handicap as first impressions may suggest. For one thing, six of the runners are out of the handicap - that is they are carrying the minimum weight of 116 but should be carrying even less given their ratings but aren't allowed to as 116 is the minimum weight permitted under the local Rules Of Racing. What's more, of these six, three are expected to carry two pounds overweight which will further reduce their chances. Geoff Lane has his stable in fine form and without wishing to sound patronising, it is noticeable that the former star Australian jockey is improving all the time as a trainer. This season, his first with the exciting English jockey Darryll Holland, has led to an influx of horses spearheaded by Viva Icta who takes on Sterling Town in the feature event. Viva Icta ran a solid race in the Stewards' Cup and worked as well as he ever does on Saturday morning. He should be kept safe, especially with Holland riding in top form. His performance on Heavily Armed in the Hermes Watch Cup was a delight to watch. John Moore's Survey King is coming back to himself. He went better yesterday and should not be written off despite a couple of below par efforts so far this term. And David Oughton's Ready is moving more fluently. Allan could also hold the key to the opening leg of the Triple Trio with Success Partners. He's probably no good thing but he put some poor jump outs behind him with a better gallop on the much criticised all-weather surface yesterday and will benefit from the move to a mile. Patrick Biancone's Big Mac had no luck last time but will take plenty of beating in the last. The drop back in distance may suit him as he has a very high cruising speed. The fifth is a very tough call but Space Rock's form is hard to fault and the 10-pound claim of the up-and-coming claimer Alex Yu could prove decisive.