Armada, Vengeance Of Rain and Bullish Luck became the frontline candidates for next month's International Races with high-calibre performances in the HK$3 million Hong Kong Mile Trial at Sha Tin yesterday. In the Hong Kong Sprint Trial, fresh-is-best sprinter Able Prince made amends for second placings in the race for the past two years with an upset win, while fallen idol Silent Witness ran his heart out for a close-up fourth (in a dead-heat with Planet Ruler). These were the major developments on a sparkling day of racing that has perfectly set the stage for the International Races at Sha Tin on December 10. Armada, brilliantly handled by Douglas Whyte, was given as easy a run as possible in scoring by three-quarters of a length from domestic benchmark miler The Duke (Olivier Doleuze), with rising star Floral Pegasus a neck away third. Trainer John Size quickly declared the Hong Kong Mile a target, knowing that victory in the Mile Trial would comfortably secure the New Zealand-bred chestnut an invitation for the HK$16 million feature in three weeks. 'He's done a good job, because he's gone into that race second-up today and it was a pretty hot field,' Size said. 'He'll now take his place in the Mile. My major concern is how he comes out of this race. I wanted him to win without having too hard a run.' Size has twice been runner-up in the Mile with Electronic Unicorn, firstly behind Japan's Eishin Preston in 2001 and the Ivan Allan-trained Olympic Express in 2002. Vengeance Of Rain stormed home late for fifth, beaten officially 13/4 lengths, in what was generally regarded as the stellar performance of the race. It was a performance that had both trainer David Ferraris and jockey Anthony Delpech in raptures. Next start for Vengeance Of Rain will be the HK$20 million Hong Kong Cup, a race he won last year from French mare Pride and British raider Maarahel. Bullish Luck, who was a run behind the other horses in terms of fitness, rattled home late for sixth and pleased jockey Brett Prebble. The Yasuda Kinen winner will be significantly fitter now for the Hong Kong Mile, where he will meet Armada on five pounds' better terms. Meanwhile, in Japan, high-class mare Dance In The Mood secured her ticket for the Hong Kong Mile with a second to Daiwa Major in the Group One Kyoto Mile. British raider Court Masterpiece, a heavily-backed second favourite behind Daiwa Major, ran seventh for trainer Ed Dunlop and jockey Frankie Dettori at his final start before the Hong Kong Mile, in which he finished fifth to Hat Trick last year. Hat Trick, prepared by Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Katsuhiko Sumii, laboured home to finish eighth and continues his run of sub-standard form compared to 12 months ago.