There may be no Lord Kanaloa this year, but three Japanese runners headline a world championship of sorts in the HK$18.5 million Longines Hong Kong Sprint, where seven internationals take on seven locals.

Sprinters Stakes one-two Snow Dragon and Straight Girl are joined by Group Two winner Little Gerda in an attempt to make it three wins in a row for Japan.

Ireland's Sole Power and Gordon Lord Byron both return to the meeting for the third time, and they are joined by Australian veteran Buffering and Singapore's Spalato, who finished second-last in the Jockey Club Sprint on Sunday.

The locals are led by international Group One winners Lucky Nine and Sterling City, with the first four home in last Sunday's lead-up - Peniaphobia, Smart Volatility, Flagship Shine and Golden Harvest - all making the cut.

Aerovelocity was last in the Jockey Club Sprint after meeting with severe interference, but his prior rating was enough to gain a start.