Caspar Fownes' comment last Sunday that he didn't think we would see the full extent of Young Elite's effectiveness until he raced at 2,400m was a boost for local hopes in the one Cathay Pacific international in which they have generally been uncompetitive, the Vase. It's a race Hong Kong last won with Indigenous 11 years ago, when in fairness it probably didn't have the profile it has now, and locals haven't seriously entered discussions on many occasions since. The first stage of entries for the internationals will close on Friday and the people behind the three-time Arc runner-up Youmzain have said the Vase is very much on his agenda this year, so the visiting quality doesn't look like slipping. But if Young Elite convinces Fownes in the Cup Trial next month that he is ready for 2,400m in that sort of company and if Thumbs Up and possibly even Packing Winner can be presented in the right order for the race then there is at least a chance Hong Kong horses can figure. The problem as always, for Thumbs Up and Packing Winner anyway, is preparing the local horses for the Vase with little in the way of a lead-up programme. Packing Winner was beaten just over a length in fifth place by Doctor Dino last year with only one run since his summer spell but that's the programme and it isn't about to change. Thumbs Up, who looks a genuine stayer, would likely turn up for the Vase with a Sha Tin Trophy and Cup Trial under his belt, but Fownes' need to lift Young Elite's rating at least has produced a fortunate by-product. The gelding has already had two runs with the trainer trying to get his handicap rating high enough and quick enough to make the cut. Naturally, he still has to earn his run in December but he lost nothing of his reputation in the Sa Sa Ladies' Purse defeat under a big weight and the boot will be on the other foot in the International Cup Trial next month when he has fitness on his side, as well as a five-pound advantage at the weights over the Group One stars. While he may have only one more race before international time, Young Elite's preparation overall will look a reasonable grounding for a top-grade 2,400m race and the programme won't allow for much more than that. If Fownes is right and that's when we will see the gelding really blossom, he could be right in the mix with home-track advantage. While on international week, the Jockey Club will surely kick a public relations goal if Canadian jockey Chantal Sutherland is here for the International Jockeys Championship (IJC) as expected. Emma-Jane Wilson, also Canadian, was the first female rider to take part in the IJC in 2007 and later returned for a stint as a club jockey. Sutherland promises to be an even better drawcard, not the least as she is so much more visible outside of North American racing. Readers may have caught the Animal Planet reality television series Jockeys, in which Sutherland features prominently with some of America's star male riders, and it only starts there. Her stunning good looks have brought her a parallel modelling career as well. Sutherland has been featured in high-profile publications like Sports Illustrated and Vogue, she was listed in People magazine's '100 Most Beautiful People' and a Canadian cosmetics firm signed her in 2008 as the face of their product advertising. And she can wield a whip, too, apparently.