The final World Series leg for 2003 will not settle the winner of that prestigious contest but the $18 million Hong Kong Cup might still present the world's best horse as Falbrav bows out with an eighth Group One victory. The Aidan O'Brien-trained High Chaparral has already put away the title of world's champion racehorse for this year in point-scoring terms, but Falbrav holds the narrower tag of best 2000-metre horse and might have been the deserved winner of the World Series but for ill-luck in some key engagements. Lining up for what will be a single-year record 10th successive run in a Group One race, Falbrav gives no outward appearance of being run down, and even his rivals concede that if the real Falbrav turns up Sha Tin, the race is as good as over. Luca Cumani has not placed him under much pressure during his week's trackwork, but the five-year-old has looked bright and on his toes, appearing full of energy for the final assignment of an impressive career. From gate 5, Frankie Dettori can have Falbrav just about anywhere he wants to be in a race that promises an even tempo at least. Locally trained Self Flit likes to go forward and the improving French gelding Weightless is also a keen frontrunner. Rakti, like Falbrav an Italian horse trained in England now, may not be as highly rated in Europe as the favourite, but he has been on the improve since moving to Michael Jarvis' yard this year and has been prepared with this in mind. Jarvis cleverly aimed Rakti at the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in October, knowing that many of his major rivals might be feeling the effects of a long year. Two runs ago, Rakti beat Falbrav past the post in the Prince Of Wales' Stakes at Ascot, when the latter suffered interference, and he followed up by clearing out in the Champion Stakes. With three runs in 2003 there is no question of him being over the top and Rakti is a serious threat in this race, which could be a precursor to his taking a higher role among the world's elite next year. His jockey, Philip Robinson, certainly won't be lost at Sha Tin after being highly successful here just over a decade ago, taking away two riders' championships in the process. His recent successes in the UK include an Oaks win. Also bowing out of racing will be Eishin Preston, as well known to Hong Kong fans as in his native Japan, and far more successful at Sha Tin. Three international Group One wins from four attempts in Hong Kong might have read even better but for his tribulations behind Precision in a stop-start Cup 12 months ago and Eishin Preston appears again to have done everything necessary in his training here to be a strong competitor. The American Denon is an underrated, consistent horse who won a Group One over this distance in June and was within three lengths of the winner in three straight Group Ones subsequently before failing in the waterlogged Japan Cup. He can be forgiven that run. The leading local hope does not look to be last year's surprise winner Precision but the David Hayes-trained mare Elegant Fashion. She must improve on her effort against Eishin Preston in the QE II Cup in April, but there is every indication that she has done so this season. Precision on the other hand is, by trainer David Oughton's admission, probably not as fit as he was in 2002. He has had only two preparation runs after having minor problems early this season, and although he was finding the line well at the end of the Mile Trial last start, he steps up in trip and grade here and must come on significantly in just three weeks to be any threat. Of the others, Dano-Mast ran bravely last year but has had his problems with travel sickness. Magnaten has some good older form but has not produced it lately and is rising eight. Any surprise is most likely to come from the French, with Weightless making a class rise from the Group Two Prix Dollar win last start but his record of four wins and two seconds from six starts reads very impressively and he is trained by one of Europe's best in Pascal Bary. Bright Sky is a mare worthy of respect too. She is most consistent and will be better suited by the 2000 metres here than the Breeders Cup Turf over 2,400 metres last time, in which she finished sixth.