LOCAL champion River Verdon is 6-1 joint second-favourite with English bookmakers, Ladbrokes, to take the inaugural running of the International Vase at Sha Tin a week on Sunday. Winning Partners, hero of last season's International Bowl, is 7-2 favourite for a repeat under the world's best big-race jockey, Mick Kinane. Neville Begg, Winning Partners' trainer, also has one of the favourites in the International Cup betting in the shape of Deerfield. Ladbrokes, the first firm to open an ante-post book on the 2,400-metre Vase, the 1,400-metre Bowl and the 1,800-metre Cup, rate Deerfield at just 6-1 to follow on from Sunday's St Andrew's Challenge Quaich success. He is one of three co-favourites, the others being Australia's State Taj and Britain's Emperor Jones. Mike Dillon, Ladbrokes astute director of public relations, has stolen another march on his betting rivals by yesterday issuing ante-post prices for all horses in every one of next Sunday's showpiece events. And he has good reason to do so with the races covered live back in Britain on Sky television. Dillon, an increasingly regular visitor to the territory these days, commented: 'Racing in Hong Kong is steadily gaining popularity in Britain and the prospect of such competitive international fields, plus live television coverage, will further raise the profile of these fascinating races. 'Yet again they have attracted very competitive fields with runners from internationally renowned trainers and a host of the world's top jockeys. 'They have been very hard to price up because there is nowhere else which produces such an international flavour to a meeting and the first running of the International Vase further enhances the worldwide reputation of these races.' As far as the Vase is concerned, Ladbrokes reckon that the three horses River Verdon has to fear most are beaten Melbourne Cup favourite, Top Rating (5-1), Melbourne Cup fourth and subsequent New Zealand Cup winner, Double Take (5-1), and the British runner, Urgent Request (6-1). Dillon added: 'This is going to be a race of some quality, deserving of its Group Two status.' Ladbrokes made one of their rare pricing errors last season when offering 7-1 about Winning Partners. They are much more cautious this time round with Dillon saying: 'Last year Winning Partners was heavily backed with us and he's the obvious favourite to land the spoils again, especially with Mick Kinane riding. 'But watch out for the American runner, Megan's Interco (6-1), who finished fourth to Barathea in the Group One Breeders' Cup mile. 'The Dubai-based Heart Lake (10-1) should also be respected as he has solid Group form to his name in Ireland.' There could also be plenty of support for New Zealand hope, Bundy Lad, who as the 25-1 outsider of the field looks like a good value. Dillon and the Ladbrokes form team are pretty sweet on the chances of Emperor Jones in the Cup as he forced Barathea all the way to the line at Royal Ascot this summer. Dillon said: 'The Cup is an ultra-competitive event in which it is impossible to find a clear favourite. 'For us the interesting overseas challenger is Emperor Jones as he has some top class form in the UK and has been trained specifically for this race in Dubai.' FULL LADBROKES ODDS International Bowl: 7-2 Winning Partners, 6 Megan's Interco, 8 Happy Money, Soviet Line, Young Ern, 10 Rouslan, Heart Lake, Sound Print, 14 All Thrills, Simonstad, Nijinsky's Gold, 16 Gold Mountain, 25 Bundy Lad, King's Seal. International Cup: 6 Deerfield, Emperor Jones, State Taj, 7 Makarpura Star, Super Fit, 8 Alflora, Volochine, 10 Pure Lust, Right Way, River Majesty, 16 Mighty Avanti, 20 Fujiyama Kenzan, Lee's Bid, 25 Mahoenui Lass. International Vase: 5 Double Take, Top Rating, 6 River Verdon, Urgent Request, 8 Sadler's Image, 10 Hear That Bell, Red Bishop, 12 Double Trigger, 14 Real Success, Survey King, Wonderful Way, 16 Sterling Town, 20 Alriffa, Eishen Tennessee. Note: English odds do not include the stake so 6-1 River Verdon at English odds represents 7-1 on the Hong Kong tote.