IT IS not the sponsor's product but the prospect of seeing a magnificent race which warms the heart and sinews as we make our way to Sha Tin today for the Remy XO Cup. The season's first major sponsored race sees the reappearance of Hong Kong's greatest racehorse, River Verdon, while the old hero, Quicken Away, the brilliant Concert King and at least four other top class gallopers are all involved in this superb 1,200-metre event. These are some of the best horses racing in Hong Kong - but not all of them are effective over this longer sprint. River Verdon is undisputed champion and trainer David Hill has rarely been happier with his multi-million dollar winning superstar. ''He's in great shape and still really enjoying himself. He turned in a great trial recently and also worked very well on the grass early last week. ''This distance is too short for him but he will be coming home very strongly and a lot stranger things have happened in racing than champions like him winning out of their distance,'' said Hill. River Verdon came home behind Concert King in a superb trial by both horses about a month ago. That was over 1,000 metres on the grass and Concert King, who missed last season's International Bowl because of a bleeding attack, could not have done more. It is hard to forget some of Concert King's superb efforts when putting his opposition into the Sha Tin turf. He relentlessly galloped the opposition into the ground and if he is back to his best form, the Derek Cruz-trained galloper is going to take a lot of beating in this outing. Quicken Away won a grass trial last Tuesday for Mick Kinane in crushing fashion and could not have done much more to impress as he bids to retain the trophy he won last season. ''He's a great old horse. He never ceases to surprise me,'' said happy trainer Patrick Biancone. The luck of the draw has gone against Fastabob, the exciting Australian import from the John Moore stable. A good winner in top company before export, Fastabob's chances have not been made easier by his draw (13) but he has certainly impressed in his work and trials. Moore said: ''I am very pleased with him indeed and I just hope that all his virus and virus-related problems are behind him. I have been particularly happy with his trials and the way he has just generally gone about his work. ''It's his first start of the season but that's the same with a few of the other ones, including Concert King. I am sure he is going to run a very big race.'' The joint-champion trainer is hoping that Fastabob will pull an invitation for the International Bowl in December into which his other excellent sprinter, Happy Money, looks almost certain to go. The lustre has gone off Dashing, the hero of last season from the Geoff Lane stable. Beaten by Mount Hansen, who put in a whirlwind finish, at his first start of the season there were no excuses when he was beaten five lengths at is next start over a mile. He reverts to the longer sprint today but, as trainer Lane ruefully reflected at his last defeat, ''maybe he's not as good as we thought he was''. That might well be the case. Just over a year ago Deerfield was the name on everyone's lips but things went sour for the then Alex Wong Yu-on galloper. A virus attack, mysterious back trouble and, eventually, a leg problem on the eve of the Derby all combined to force Deerfield into the background. He is now trained by Neville Begg but the American-bred galloper just does not look quite right in the mornings. There is a scratchy look to his action and it could prove difficult for him to make an impression here. Possibly time is what he needs and we may see more of the real Deerfield later in the season. Mount Hansen is the potential scene-stealer today. He came from last on the turn and very wide out to scythe down Dashing at his only start of the season to date. That was on good to yielding ground but the manner in which he achieved the victory suggests that this one has finally found his Hong Kong feet. He came to trainer Lawrie Fownes with a good reputation and his former trainer was not surprised at his flying success last time. Of the rest, Right Way will run an honest race but looks up to his neck in this while Sound Print, a former Derby and Stewards' Cup winner, is on the comeback trail.