The handicappers of the world are in lockdown this week in Happy Valley, thrashing out the merits of the world's best racehorses for the World Thoroughbred Rankings, and exactly how they handle Absolute Champion will be fascinating. The David Hall-trained galloper thrashed the best available in Sunday's Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint, clearing out for the biggest margin in the history of the race and smashing his own course record in the process. There is absolutely no doubt this was the best performance by a sprinter anywhere in the world this year and it should be recognised accordingly. The absence of Takeover Target should not give the handicappers any excuse to underrate this performance, because the mathematics of the business tells us clearly that Absolute Champion would have beaten the Global Sprint Challenge hero even at his best. Our own speed ratings, designed to integrate Hong Kong horses with the rest of the world, credit Absolute Champion with a 124 rating on Sunday. His winning time of 1:07.8 was 0.4 seconds faster than standard after factoring out the very fast speed of the track on the day. The presence of the great Silent Witness and top British sprinter Benbaun in second and third place gives us a clear guide as to how good this performance was. Silent Witness, the world's best sprinter in 2003, 2004 and 2005, was a solid 123 horse at the height of his powers, though he hasn't returned that figure since the Sprinters Stakes in October last year. The great one is now racing solidly at a level below that, 118, and that's the figure we have him running on Sunday. On our reckoning, he's gone that figure three times this year, the other two times being his second to Joyful Winner in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Stakes (1,400m) at Sha Tin and his close fourth to Takeover Target at Nakayama on October 1. Benbaun ran Takeover Target to a short head in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, receiving five pounds from the Aussie raider. He was three lengths behind him at level weights in the Sprinter's Stakes (and a neck behind Silent Witness), while at Sha Tin he ultimately weighed in a length behind the Witness. Racing Post (UK) has pinned its colours to the mast, giving Absolute Champion a 129 rating and, while that might be on the high side, it's the figure you get if you stick rigidly to the old three pounds to a length and use Silent Witness as your 'line horse'. Not surprisingly because of the fast time and big margin, Absolute Champion has now usurped Silent Witness and Fairy King Prawn for the highest-rating individual performance from a Hong Kong sprinter. The Prawn and Witness were both 123 sprinters at their best, though Silent Witness always gave the impression there was more in the tank had it been required. The day it was, he found a 125 performance but it wasn't enough to stave off the late lunge of Bullish Luck in the 2005 Champions Mile. The problem the handicappers will have is projecting Absolute Champion so far forward from his pre-race international rating of 108. Gentlemen, that figure is wrong - he went the equivalent of 116 in the HSBC Premier Bowl leading up to the Hong Kong Sprint. Of the other stars on international day, we've credited Collier Hill with a 122 performance in the Vase, The Duke with a personal best 124 in the Mile and Pride with a 121 in narrowly taking the Cup from Japanese three-year-old Admire Moon. Vengeance Of Rain has gone 119 in defeat after being three wide without cover for the final 1,000 metres. Yes, the 'big horse' is back.