Hong Kong's top racehorse, Oriental Express, must put in the race of his life if he is to place in this afternoon's US$1.2 million Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo. The Japanese spectacular is run over a mile and, apart from some top-class domestic and overseas opposition, there is also the problem of the ground being softer than Oriental Express likes. Trainer Ivan Allan has been at Tokyo racecourse since the beginning of the week, supervising Oriental Express' preparation. Allan knows all about travelling horses having sent many from Singapore to Hong Kong to contest and indeed win the old Invitation Cup as well as sending his horses all over the MRA circuit. He's left nothing to chance, taking out to Japan with Oriental Express all his own feed and a spare set of shoes as well as all the necessary riding equipment for jockey Douglas Whyte. Allan researched the water situation facing Oriental Express and decided it wasn't necessary to take his own water with him. But not even Allan can do much about the weather, and the midweek downpours which hit Tokyo racecourse, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday, have left Allan seriously concerned that the ground could ride too soft for Oriental Express. Speaking from Japan, Allan said: 'There was a lot of rain earlier in the week and it definitely concerned me. My fellow is a horse who doesn't want the ground too soft. He can accelerate and that kind of ground is no good for him. 'The last day or so has been better and the ground at the moment is all right but we do not want any more rain.' Oriental Express had a taste of the Tokyo turf on Thursday morning when breezing to Allan's satisfaction. After the canter under his usual trackwork rider Yung Siu-man, Allan said: 'I'm very happy with Oriental Express. He worked very well.' But Allan is also worried about the left-handed nature of Tokyo racecourse compared to Hong Kong's right-handed tracks. 'My only concern is that he did not handle the left-handed bend on the final turn. 'Hopefully, though, he'll soon get the hang of the bend in his work.' As for Oriental Express' well-being, Allan couldn't be happier. 'He's done very well do date. On a scale of one to 10, he is a 10, with his fitness being an eight out of 10 and by the race I expect his fitness to be a good 10 out of 10.' The 17-runner field abounds with dangers but two, for Allan, stand out from the others. The main concern has to be Japan's Taiki Shuttle whom Allan understands 'is a special horse and the one to beat'. Taiki Shuttle comes into this off a superb victory and Allan has already given Whyte instructions to track Taiki Shuttle through the run if at all possible. Allied Forces also commands plenty of respect. He was a very useful performer when trained by Henry Cecil in England and has since won the Hollywood Derby since leaving Cecil's care.