With top-grade horses such a priority and International Races day such a big stage, how is it that some of Hong Kong's stars will be at home in their boxes on the most important day of the season? The Jockey Club has bent over backwards to offer incentives for bringing high-grade runners to Hong Kong, but the programming continues to have aberrations for those horses at the top level. On Breeders' Cup day, there were 12 races, including the eight Breeders' Cup events. On Melbourne Cup day, there were 10 at Flemington, stretching across the day from 10.30am onwards. Now this column is not suggesting that the Jockey Club needs either 12 races or a breakfast start to the International card, but programming the regulation 10 events does not seem an unreasonable suggestion. However, the Club has scheduled nine, which seems odd for the one day of the year when Hong Kong is able to show the world just how far it has come since the amateur days little more than 30 years ago. The strongest section of the Hong Kong equine community is obviously the sprinters, so where are they? Sure, the Hong Kong Sprint will feature four or five of our best. Who knows, maybe six local horses will run if there are late dropouts from the visitors. But if they don't run there, where do they go? As things stand, the home team for the Sprint must comprise Silent Witness, Grand Delight and All Thrills Too. Then there is Firebolt, who hasn't won for a while but has never done anything to compromise his place at the top of the local tree. His 123 rating confirms that. But if that is the local contingent, what happens to the likes of Cape Of Good Hope, Cheerful Fortune, Anabatik, Smart Winner, Prime Witness and others with a high enough standing to be in contention for the Hong Kong Sprint but no guarantee of a run? Previously, the Jockey Club programmed a high-class 1,400-metre event that was a possible outlet for some spillage from the Sprint and Mile - possibly not ideal for either group but at least a race to contest on the glamour day. That race has now become 1,600 metres and will disqualify most of those named above, serving only as consolation for fallen Mile hopefuls. There is also a Class One 'consolation' over 2000 metres, but nothing for the best 1,000-1,200-metre horses. And if not on that day then when? In all of December, there is just one short sprint for horses rated above 110 - the Hong Kong Sprint - and just one 1,000-metre race for Class One the following week. Cape Of Good Hope and Cheerful Fortune would seem to be the most obvious sufferers. If they don't gain a berth in the Sprint - and trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah has said Cheerful Fortune is not necessarily even headed that way - does it make a lot of sense to have sprinters of this calibre at home chewing their bedding instead of showing off their talents on the elite programme? Now, in any programming system one finds areas which seem inadequately served. But when that sector is supposedly your strength in depth and you are nudging owners and trainers to find more of these types of animals, it begs the question.