'Cape Crusader' and Planet Ruler to get better of overseas raiders Despite the absence of Silent Witness, Hong Kong's defence of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint remains in great shape with Planet Ruler and Cape Of Good Hope set to continue the local dominance. In six running of the Hong Kong Sprint, local horses have lifted the $10 million Group One event on four occasions with the Australian entire Falvelon being the only successful visitor, taking the world's richest 1,000 metres race in 2000 and 2001. Fairy King Prawn took the inaugural running for Ricky Yui Poon-fie in 1999 with the David Hayes-trained All Thrills Too winning three years later. In the last two years, the event has dominated by Silent Witness, whose third attempt at the event was ruled out last week after the champion failed to get over a virus. Almond Lee Yee-tat knows what is required to win the Hong Kong Sprint as he was assistant trainer to Hayes when All Thrills Too landed the event under French jockey Gerald Mosse in 2002. In only his second year in training, Lee has made a great impact on the local scene and Planet Ruler, formerly prepared by Hayes, has emerged as one of the leading candidates following a dominant win in the Sprint Trial over the same course and distance three weeks ago. Planet Ruler is one of many to live in that large Silent Witness shadow during his 43-start career. The six-year-old has met the great one on seven occasions with his best performance being a neck second in the Sha Tin Sprint Trophy two years ago. While Planet Ruler has hovered around the top level during that time, he had never managed to win at 1,000m prior to his last start but it was a change of riding tactics under instruction from Lee that brought the turnaround. Lee insisted Mosse attempt to settle Planet Ruler closer to the speed after coming up with barrier two and the plan worked perfectly, with the Danehill gelding tracking a solid speed before bursting through late and drawing away to win by a length and a half from Able Prince. Amazingly, an identical script has been written today and there is every chance it will unfold, with the speedy Natural Blitz likely to cut out a fast tempo, allowing Planet Ruler an energy-saving run just off the speed. 'He has his chance if he can run like that again,' Lee said. 'It may not be as easy this weekend but he's done some nice work since and I have been concentrating on keeping him fresh and sharp.' The ever-reliable Cape Of Good Hope is favourite with betting agencies around the world to lift his first local victory since October 2002 and trainer David Oughton has the seven-year-old primed to be right at his best. Cape Of Good Hope, returning to Hong Kong after placing in his two assignments during the Melbourne spring carnival, showed his readiness for competition with an impressive trial win on November 29. 'He was a little tired after his two runs in Australia and had a little time off but he is back to his best now,' Oughton said. Best of the visitors is Japan's Admire Max, although better known over more ground, and French sprinter Chineur, who had the measure of Cape Of Good Hope at their only meeting at York in June. Admire Max, who finished third to Silent Witness in the Sprinters' Stakes at Japan in October before running sixth in the Mile Championship behind Hat Trick last month, is having his first start over 1,000m, which is the concern of his jockey Hiroyuki Uemura. Chineur has not been successful in three starts since winning the King's Stand Stakes over 1,000m at York, when relegating Cape Of Good Hope to fourth, but trainer Mikel Delzangles is hopeful the four-year-old can end a long year on a winning note.