There may be no dominant force like Lord Kanaloa in this year's Group One Longines Hong Kong Sprint, but a trio of Japanese entrants will attempt to give the country a third win in as many years in the HK$18.5 million race.

The troika is headed by Sprinters Stakes one-two Snow Dragon and Straight Girl, with Little Gerda, a Group Two winner at her most recent start in September, also making the trip.

Lord Kanaloa won the Sprinters Stakes-Hong Kong Sprint double in both 2012 and 2013, but he was in the market in the Sprinters Stakes both times and won strongly, while Snow Dragon started 45/1 in the same race and prevailed in a blanket finish.

The three meet seven locals, headlined by international Group One winners Lucky Nine and Sterling City, and four other global sprinters in a world championship of sorts.

Joining the Japanese runners from abroad are Irish sprinters Sole Power and Gordon Lord Byron, both returning to the international meeting for the third time.

Sole Power finished second to Lord Kanaloa last year and returns in similar form, having won his second King's Stand Stakes in June and second Nunthorpe Stakes in August.

Gordon Lord Byron tackles the Sprint for the first time, having finished fourth twice in the Hong Kong Mile, and is coming off a last start win in the British Champions Sprint.

Australian veteran Buffering, a four-time Group One winner who made his name as a bridesmaid to top sprinters Black Caviar and Hay List, travels abroad for the first time and gives his trainer Robert Heathcote a first runner on the world stage.

The last of the internationals has already been seen at Sha Tin - Singapore Derby winner Spalato, the somewhat surprising joint top-rater with Lucky Nine, is down to run despite a disappointing second-last in Sunday's Jockey Club Sprint.

The winner of that race, Tony Cruz-trained Peniaphobia, is aiming to become the first three-year-old to win the Sprint, and he will be joined by the three horses who finished closest to him in the lead-up - Smart Volatility, Flagship Shine and Golden Harvest.

Paul O'Sullivan's Aerovelocity was last in the prelude, but struck severe interference for much of the straight and his first-up win in the Group Two Premier Bowl was enough to get him into the field.

However, the locals meet Lucky Nine and Sterling City five pounds worse from the Jockey Club Sprint, arguably both horses should have been in the finish with a little luck.

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