There really wasn't any second way to slice the Mercedes-Benz Classic Mile on Sunday after Beauty Flash's hollow win - there is your Derby favourite, fellow aspirants, now what have you got? Historically, he was the most impressive winner of the race since Olympic Express simply rounded them up from the rear to win the Classic Mile eight years ago, then did much the same in the Derby. Opponents will take heart from knowing there is some water to flow under the bridge between now and March 14, though the river isn't exactly breaking its banks and you query Tony Cruz's four-year-old at your peril. It can be argued that the chestnut got the front very easily and didn't have any nuisances once there, but the sectional times of the race suggest he didn't exactly walk. In fact, his first 800 metres was run faster than average, with the gelding then getting a breather around the circle from the 800m to the straight before he kept going at a good speed to the line. He certainly did not fly down the straight, but then he had no need to dig down for anything more as the chasers were always at a respectable distance. That's the question the Derby will answer but probably not the Derby Trial - how much was still in the tank? Considering the way that 1,800m races are conducted at Sha Tin, with the long steady run down the back straight for the first half, Beauty Flash must surely win the Derby Trial too and that might not answer any questions that might remain. That kind of race lends itself to the on-pace runner and the non-stayer, and even Floral Pegasus had a canter around in that before he was beaten a nose in the Derby, outstayed by Vital King, and he never did really go on to establish himself as anything more stout than a top-class miler. The Derby itself can be a different style of race altogether due to the difficult start, virtually on the turn out of the straight and turning all the way to the 1,400m. That can see a horse like Beauty Flash working somewhat harder if he doesn't draw well, but still, as the records show, Classic Mile-winning form is good form. Helene Mascot is the only other horse to have won both races in recent times, but the list of those who won it and ran well in the Derby is a long one. Thumbs Up last year, Floral Pegasus in 2007, Tiber in 2004 and Self Flit in 2003 all won the Classic Mile then ran second in the Derby. Even Sunny Sing (2006), who arrived somewhat unannounced in the Classic Mile, finished fourth in the Derby with no great pretension to being a true winning hope. Only the sprinter Scintillation (2005) never made it to the Derby after beating a field of sprinters in the Mile, with connections quite sensibly heading elsewhere and leaving the Derby to Vengeance Of Rain. And that's your last eight Classic Mile winners - two won the Derby, four ran second, one fourth and the other didn't run. There's no doubting it is a key race, however different in style it might be from the main event. What is in common for those Classic Mile victors who were beaten in the Derby, was that, almost every time, they were beaten by something they hadn't left behind over the mile. The exception was Lucky Owners, who suffered a shock defeat at long odds on in the Classic Mile behind Tiber but turned the tables on Derby day. None of Elegant Fashion, Viva Pataca, Vital King or Collection took part in the Classic Mile before emerging victorious in the Derby so, if Beauty Flash is to be beaten, history might suggest that his greatest dangers come from another path. But where? Formerly, there was a Class One 1,600m event annually on Stewards' Cup day, which proved a great alternative guide to the Derby but that has been deleted from the programme. The nearest to it must be Sunday's Class One at 1,400m, and John Moore and Darren Beadman had every right to be happy with Irian's performance in that. What is worth noting, beyond the hype of the German colt's big price tag, is that this is the fourth time the yard has produced an import with such a good reputation on the way to the Derby and the other three - Tiber, Viva Pataca and Collection - all proved to be the real thing. But they too were beaten on debut here. Irian was unsuited by the draw or the tempo, but unfurled a ripping final section from the rear, running down the home straight some four lengths faster than Beauty Flash. He carried significantly less weight and the race was of a totally different style, so that is deceptive evidence taken as raw, but it was the run of a horse who should not lose his boom for the sake of not winning. His final split was the third fastest of the day behind only Special Days and Presto, both of which have shown the ability to produce big sectionals in the past - not many horses here consistently finish a race as fast as Presto - and they were both hard fit and at the top of their form, while Irian will improve in condition. Those will be the hooks of hope on which Moore hangs his panama hat for Irian's Derby prospects at this stage and he does have other European Private Purchases still to come but they are running out of time. Everyone else can probably just cross their fingers and hope that Beauty Flash simply doesn't stay, and we might not find that out until the last 200m of the Derby itself.