In theory, Group One races are the pinnacle of achievement, the grand finals, the ends to which all the paths hope to lead, so it is a paradox that the most engaging aspect of Able Friend's attempt on the HK$10 million Stewards' Cup today is where his likely victory will take him next. Dubai? Sydney? Or is there another plan?

Neither his rivals, nor anyone else will be game to suggest Able Friend (Joao Moreira) is in danger of defeat after doing handstands to beat the same horses in both the Jockey Club Mile and Hong Kong Mile at his last two appearances.

Of course, it is a horse race and such defeats do happen - it's just that nobody will be willing to say out loud that it will.

To play devil's advocate and look for a way is a thankless task, but it seems certain we won't see a repeat of that huge tactical blunder the Gold-Fun team made on international day, when the six-year-old turned up as pacemaker for John Moore's star. It not only blunted whatever weapons Gold-Fun had, it ensured the field would break up so that brief moment when Moreira needed clear room on Able Friend was quickly over.

Strange tactics aside, there appears little or no pressure today as Beauty Flame takes the front, Gold-Fun(Douglas Whyte) sits at his outside or on his back and everybody else folds in behind.

That will give Gold-Fun more of a chance to get past the leader at the 300m and set up some kind of break, and a slower tempo increases the possibility of a bunching field and Able Friend finding traffic if he happened to go through rather than around.

But he is drawn out, should race outside runners, and runs sub-22 second final quarters on the bit - acceleration that takes him from lengths off his competitors to joining them in 100m.

Punters who find the long odds-on not to their taste will be looking for the quinella and the favoured combination looks sure to be with Gold-Fun. Richard Gibson's gelding never runs a bad race, will be the one who benefits most from the tempo scenario and seems logical.

But last year's winner, Blazing Speed (Neil Callan) is never to be underestimated when he gets the cover he likes, and that should happen today, and the surprise packet quinella horse is the favourite's stablemate,Rewarding Hero (Nash Rawiller).

Although he is yet to tackle this sort of race, Rewarding Hero consistently finishes his races off quicker than most of his rivals, aside from Able Friend. From gate one, he should be the horse getting the short way around and railing up behind the leaders turning for home.