Green Birdie contributed to Hong Kong's most successful international season by winning in Singapore in May, and the late bloomer is forming the spearhead of an early season assault on two of Japan's best sprint races in the coming weeks. However, much interest this season, aside from the bulging international race calendar, will also come from sorting through the next wave of horses pushing to be world-class contenders - with many of our established stars now getting on in years. Viva Pataca, Able One and Fellowship are now eight-year-olds, and Sacred Kingdom and Green Birdie are seven. The door is open for rising stars Entrapment, Super Satin and Brave Kid to step into their shoes, but big race trainer John Moore, who boasts Happy Zero and Collection in that category, doesn't believe it is a fait accompli that the older generation will roll over and hand the mantle to their younger counterparts. 'I don't think the older fellows like Viva Pataca and Able One are done quite yet,' Moore said. 'It's true they are getting older, but they still have plenty of mileage in their legs and they have proven they are up to the best in the world. Sometimes, the younger horses never quite live up to their early promise.' Moore said Happy Zero had recovered from the lower back injury he suffered at Ascot in June and would return on September 25, in time to be readied for the Hong Kong Sprint in December. Last season our horses recorded their best international season, winning four of the six local international Group One races, before Joy And Fun won in Dubai and Green Birdie landed the KrisFlyer Sprint in Singapore. The Caspar Fownes-trained Green Birdie will leave for Tokyo on Thursday, ahead of the HK$11 million Group Two Centaur Stakes on September 12. His main target is the Group One Sprinters Stakes on October 3, which carries a purse of HK$18 million. 'He's going very well and I was very pleased with his trial on Friday,' Fownes said. 'He came back to Hong Kong after his win in Singapore and let down nicely, and since he's come back into work he's just gone bang and has come to hand very nicely.' The winning Kranji partnership of Green Birdie and jockey Mark Du Plessis will also be continued in Japan, with the jockey to fly up from New Zealand for both races. Green Birdie will be joined by the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Ultra Fantasy, who performed strongly at the top level last season but was withdrawn from a trip to Japan in March when star stablemate Sacred Kingdom was struck down with a bout of colic as the pair were being loaded on to the plane. 'Ultra Fantasy will only race in the Sprinters Stakes,' Yiu said. 'He's getting on in years and it is better for him to be ready for one race. 'It is disappointing there are no early-season races for him in Hong Kong to get ready, because the Class One sprint on opening day only allows for horses up to a rating of 120 and Ultra Fantasy is now at 121.' The international raids won't stop there, however, and trainer Peter Ho Leung is flying in-form stayer Mr Medici to Melbourne on September 20 to target the Group One Caulfield Cup on October 16. Leading French jockey Gerald Mosse has been pencilled in for the ride on the top-class stayer. 'He hasn't had his break yet because I needed to keep him fit, but the horse is going very well,' Ho said. 'He may have a race or two before he leaves but he won't race in Australia until the Caulfield Cup because of the time he must spend in quarantine in Melbourne.'