Last weekend's running of the opening leg of the 2007 Global Sprint Challenge (GSC) in Melbourne has highlighted again how vital Australia and Hong Kong are to the survival, let alone the prosperity, of the concept of any international series. In 2005 it was Cape Of Good Hope and last year it was Takeover Target. In 2007, it may well be Lightning Stakes winner Miss Andretti, who carries all the interest in the series. Trainer Lee Freedman has confirmed that Miss Andretti's programme includes the leg at Royal Ascot as an enhancement to her breeding value. And she will doubtless tackle the second leg in Melbourne, the Australia Stakes. Then her participation in any other series races will depend on her results in England and perhaps the sporting nature of her connections. There is no real imperative for her to compete in GSC legs in Japan or Hong Kong yet. While it's all very well to posit these international series as the answer to making horseracing a more global sport followed by an audience wider than mere domestic interest, a la Formula One or Grand Slam tennis, it is always just a breath from failure at present. The only international visitor at Moonee Valley last Saturday was from New Zealand - where the standards are somewhat lower than Australia these days - and the date clash with the Centenary Sprint Cup ensured, if any extra nails were needed for that particular coffin, that no Hong Kong horse would be there. It's too early for any European, and the reality is probably that none would go all that way for a belting anyway, now that the deficiencies in northern hemisphere sprinters compared to the southern hemisphere have been highlighted. So the GSC will have to be carried by a Hong Kong or Australian sprinter every year and the day must come when it doesn't happen. It's something that will be tested again shortly with the start of the Asian Mile Challenge at Caulfield, which has a better design and bigger dollar signs than the GSC but might still see a struggle for participation. Jockey Club international racing manager, Mark Player, said recently one problem is that owners and trainers do not see winning these series as more important than any one race, within the series or otherwise, and until that changes, the thin veneer of success on these international series is in danger of peeling away.