The Bowman's Crossing barrier curse, which lifted momentarily last start, was reinstituted with a vengeance yesterday morning when Hong Kong's globetrotting middle-distance galloper came up with barrier 10 in field of 10 for Sunday's $3 million Cathay Pacific International Cup Trial. Coinciding with Douglas Whyte's return to the saddle after suspension, Bowman's Crossing has the chance to go one better after two excellent minor placings at his pair of runs since returning from a summer sojourn to Europe, but the bad alley has made his task significantly harder. The story of Bowman's Crossing's luck at barrier draw is one that stretches credibility. That one horse should repeatedly draw outside barriers in feature races, both here and overseas, goes way beyond normal mathematical probability. But he does, almost with the certainty of an eastern sunrise. As trainer David Oughton has often explained, the major effect of drawing towards the outside with a horse like Bowman's Crossing is that it makes his jockey go further back, to get cover and avoid being trapped wide. That means the gelding has more ground to make up when produced for his final run and the added chance of striking traffic problems along the way. With the notable exception of outstanding mare Elegant Fashion, who is race-fit after two Group One races in Melbourne on October 23 and 30, the Cup Trial brings together the best middle-distance horses in Hong Kong at the present time. The event, won last year by Elegant Fashion (under the guidance of Whyte), will be a no-holds-barred contest because the horses are competing to be selected for just four prized places in the $18 million Hong Kong Cup field on December 12. There is also a possibility that some of the horses, notably Bullish Luck and Ain't Here, could have the Hong Kong Vase (2,400 metres) as their international-day goal, but what they do on Sunday at the Cup distance will tell their connections more. Yesterday morning at Sha Tin, Bullish Luck gave notice that he's back in business with a sterling piece of work on the all-weather track, in the persuasive hands of Felix Coetzee. The American-bred gelding fairly sizzled over 800 metres in 50.1 seconds, stepping on the gas over the second half in an amazing 21.5 seconds. Now the top sprinters may run that sort of time for 400m only, but it's an extraordinary split for a staying horse at the end of his final workout. Bullish Luck signalled a return to form last start with a third to Ain't Here in the Group Three Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m). Coetzee was bringing him on the scene with a well-timed run when he was side-swiped with the backwash of the near fall suffered by Blue Stitch. Coetzee was forced to stop riding, look after the horse, get him balanced again and then set sail after the leaders, Ain't Here and Bowman's Crossing, but the best he could do was to worry Industrial Success out of third prize, some four lengths from the winner. It's fair to say Bullish Luck should have finished at least a length, closer, maybe more, and is well placed to take another step up the ratings now that he's back to 2,000m, the distance at which he won the Hong Kong Gold Cup in February. Andrash Starke, fresh from a superb ride to land Sprinter a handsome winner of the final event at Sha Tin on Wednesday night, takes over from Patrick Payne and Torsten Mundry on natural front-runner Saturn, who is also on the verge of rediscovering his best form. Saturn won the new Class One lead-up race to the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby on February 28, leading throughout and running an amazing final section of 22.5 in scoring easily from Shane, Ain't Here and Native Dream. His new trainer, Caspar Fownes, who took him over from the retiring Ivan Allan late last season, has done a great job in teaching the front runner to settle. Starke looks an inspired choice for this sort of horse, remembering how he handled Germany's Epalo in that effortless all-the-way win in the Group One Singapore Airlines International Cup in May.