THE rapidly improving Soviet Line can take the Group Three International Bowl back to Newmarket, England, this afternoon. The son of former crack sprinter, Soviet Star, has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past two months and should really have come into the competitive 1,400-metre Bowl with four straight wins to his name. But he was pocketed against the rails when beaten just over a length into second in the Group Two Challenge Stakes over 1,400 metres at Newmarket last time when ridden by Pat Eddery. Walter Swinburn, who comes into the Bowl on a personal high, having ridden four winners in the first two meetings of his winter sojourn, is back in the saddle today. He commented: 'It was just one of those things at Newmarket which happens to us all at some point. Pat would have needed a helicopter to get out. He simply had no racing room at all.' Swinburn, who knows the Hong Kong scene inside-out after many welcome winter stints in the territory, added: 'My fellow has improved considerably and, providing he has handled the travelling, should mount a serious challenge. He's a good horse all right.' Soviet Line started his run of wins this autumn with a Listed success over Kempton Park's sharp 1,600 metres, but it was his neck success in the Kiveton Park Stakes, a Group Three event at Doncaster's St Leger meeting, which really marked him down as a gelding that was going places. His victims in the Kiveton Park, which has been won by some similarly improving types who go on to hold their own in much better company than Group Three, included none other than Emperor Jones who must be a big chance in the International Cup. Soviet Line has a very good turn of foot and, unlike a number of the British challengers for the Bowl in the past, should not find himself run off his feet. Winning Partners is the big local hope in the Bowl, having won this race in tenacious style from the English filly Marina Park last season. There was cause for concern as far as Winning Partners goes towards the backend of last season when he was beaten in a terms race down the straight 1,000-metre course when heavily favoured by the weights. He was then carrying his head awkwardly in his work and had his limitations exposed in the Group One Yasuda Kinen in Japan. But trainer Neville Begg appears to have revitalised Winning Partners who reappeared to run a strong and luckless third to Happy Money over 1,235 metres at Happy Valley when not acting round the tight city track or getting a clear run in the straight. It was a performance which led to a somewhat controversial sacking of stable jockey Darren Gauci who had only ridden Winning Partners that once. Mick Kinane, arguably the best big-race rider in the world, is back on board today and it was the multiple Irish champion who did the business on Winning Partners 12 months ago. Since that Valley run, Winning Partners has worked extremely well for Kinane as well as trialling impressively down the straight. It is harder for Begg's six-year-old this season, there can be no doubting that, but he comes into the race going as well if not better than ever and he does have home advantage - the importance of which is underlined annually by the Breeders' Cup series and the Japan Cup. The Irish-trained, Dubai-based Heart Lake is likely to give them all a fight to the line. Like Soviet Line he is progressing with each and every run and is rated one of the main dangers by Kinane who has ridden him to victory in Ireland and then watched his subsequent wins. 'He's a genuine Group horse all right, there's not much doubt about that,' said Kinane. 'He's also the right type of horse for this race as he got better and better throughout the summer and he is likely to be one of the main threats to Winning Partners. I'm well aware of that.' Heart Lake was sent straight to Dubai to be prepared for the Bowl once it was known that he had a run in the race. It is a preparation which has left the three-year-old chestnut colt in superb nick. He simply could not look better in the mornings. The Australian challenger, Rouslan, has been another to impress in his work leading into the Bowl. His trainer, the Randwick-based John Morish, has given him a careful preparation to peak at the right time and is not coming to the Bowl as any afterthought. This race has been the target for quite some time and he certainly cannot be left out of tierce consideration. The American runners, Megan's Interco and Nijinsky's Gold have both impressed many good judges since arriving from the States. Megan's Interco has the marginally better form of the two, overall, having gone close against the highest turf company. He should be suited by the likely fast pace of the Bowl. Nijinsky's Gold, in contrast, likes to come home late and hard, so he won't mind a fast pace either. There has been a lot of talk this week about the New Zealand runner, Bundy Lad, who is a massive chestnut, straight out of the sprinting mould. He has beaten some of the very best sprinter-milers in the Southern Hemisphere where he has raced especially well on a wet track.