AUSTRALIAN ace John Marshall had no luck in the Melbourne Cup, but he should gain a consolation piece of silverware in the fourth event at Sha Tin today when topweight Champman River tackles the Peninsula Jubilee Challenge Cup. Champman River, now trained by Brian Kan Ping-chee, is dropping back in distance from 1,400 metres to 1,200 metres but that will not pose any problems for this strapping five-year-old who could scarcely have been more impressive when winning last time. Marshall jetted back on Wednesday from Melbourne to be on hand for the gelding's final hitout on Thursday before today's event and was pleased with the work. ''It was all a bit of a dash going to Melbourne and then coming back immediately after the race. We arrived 24 hours before the race and left Melbourne the next morning. ''But it's a great race and I was happy to be part of it,'' said Marshall. His attentions now are turned to Champman River who looks fully capable of following up on his last-start win. ''It was a very good win but I thought that Brian (Kan) had him really right for the race. There has been no need to do much with him since then and I will be very disappointed if he does not run well. ''He is coming back in distance and some of them in this may be a bit sharper over this trip but I am not too concerned. My horse is strong and genuine and he will be there,'' said Marshall yesterday. Clerk of the Course John Jeffs was walking and prodding his Sha Tin track yesterday with the initial forecast yielding to soft. But this remains unpredictable as the weather is currently changeable. However, with more rain definitely expected it is not unreasonable to assume that we might have soft going - and assessments of races today should be made on that assumption. That will not worry Champman River - which is clearly a big plus factor. Towards the end of his griffin year in May 1992, he put 21/2 lengths into Super Bingo II in hacking up under 138 pounds in a 1,200-metre race in soft ground. That saw him put into Class Three and he now carries topweight at the sharp end of Class Two - but he's good enough to do it. Champman River has gone up seven pounds for his last winning effort but the 132 pounds should not stop him today and his proven record under a big weight on soft ground only serves to enhance his chances. But this is an interesting cup event and there will be solid support for a number of other runners, not least proven soft and heavy track horses like Blazing Blade and Sky High. Namjong, Diamond Treasure and the useful Manor Lord must all come into calculations so it would be foolish to take too short a price about Champman River, although he does look fully capable of doubling up on his last success. Heavily Armed was not ideally suited by his 1,000-metre dash last time and should appreciate the step up in distance. However, he has not, to date, quite recaptured the dash that saw him win on his Hong Kong debut. His work has not been outstanding, but there is clear ability there and it may pay to put him into a small quinella or tierce bet. Blazing Blade returns to Sha Tin and likely soft ground after a fair third at Happy Valley last time. Trainer Lawrie Fownes has turned to stable apprentice Richard K. M. So and a repeat of his earlier course and distance win in similar conditions under Dave Penna is not impossible. Namjong won at ridiculous odds last time and is not out of this. He put together three wins on the bounce last season and was still off a reasonable mark when winning first time up. He has real ability but his best efforts have all been on top of the ground so it remains to be seen whether he handles the likely going today. Melbourne Cup star Mick Kinane rides Diamond Treasure who was definitely in need of the run first-up at Happy Valley when he ran below his best in a longer sprint at the city track. He will go a lot closer here and strips as a main danger to the topweight. He has run second on yielding ground so there is reason to believe that he will not be adversely affected by the anticipated going. Darren Beadman, who also made a lightning trip to Melbourne for the big event, has fared badly at the draw as Clear Classic is out in 12. He finished second at his seasonal debut with Blazing Blade and Diamond Treasure behind him at the Valley and will beseeking to confirm form. The ground will be suitable and the run at the Valley has certainly not harmed him so he is another chance in what could be an excellent trophy event today.