The barrier draw has made the race less clearly defined than it might have been otherwise but John Size-trained Thewizardofoz should throw down the gauntlet to other Derby-bound four-year-olds by winning the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1,600m) today at Sha Tin.
Thewizardofoz (Joao Moreira) has looked the horse to beat in this Group One since late last season when he put three brilliant wins together at his first three appearances at the races.
He is bred to be a star - by Redoute's Choice out of a champion New Zealand middle distance mare, Princess Coup - and certainly looked one when this season began.
The gloss was knocked off him after two defeats in his first two starts this season at the hands of Blizzard (Gerald Mosse) and then Celestial Smile, but there were excuses each time and Thewiz was back to his best last start, strolling home in Class Two with Blizzard relegated to second.
He goes to 1,600m for the first time but the distance shouldn't be any issue - the draw, however, is more of a query.
John Moore probably controls the pace in this race, as Dashing Fellow has become a leader this season and his stablemate Basic Trilogy is also likely to take a role near the lead as he did first-up and also in his races in Australia.
Another Moore runner, Werther (Hugh Bowman) also has the talent to be handy but is more likely to be camping just behind the speed, as he did when a winner on international day at his first run here.
So much for the speed on the inside half of the draw but then we have to consider what Thewizardofoz (gate nine), Lucky Bubbles (gate 12) and Sun Jewellery (gate 14) will do.
From Size's comments last week, he doesn't think that having to go forward would unsettle Sun Jewellery (Ryan Moore) and Brett Prebble sounded similarly confident about Lucky Bubbles relaxing, but what we have seen is that Thewizardofoz can get keen so he may be the one of the three to steady out of the gates and find cover.
Still, the race doesn't look all that fast-run, with the main half-a-dozen chances most likely to be somewhere in the front half of the race and keeping a good eye on each other, even more reason to think the pace won't be fast.
Size has a powerful hand, with Sun Jewellery the highest-rated horse in the race on handicap ratings and a last-start Class One winner, something that doesn't that often turn up in the form for the Classic Mile. Ryan Moore has the issues to solve regarding the draw but also a versatile galloper to work with but questions over distance are probably more pertinent.