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Little Mike can bounce back in Hong Kong Cup

Little Mike established himself as one of the best ten furlong horses in training last year with victories in the Arlington Million and the Breeders’ Cup Turf. The tough gelding is among the outsiders for the Hong Kong Cup after finishing only seventh behind Magician last time out but there are reasons for anticipating an improved showing.

Trainer Dale Romans believes that his rivals were determined not to give him too much rope with his usual front-running style this year. As a result, Little Mike has come under pressure earlier in his races and they have now started to settle him off the pace.

Prior to his Breeders’ Cup defeat, he had just got the better of a thrilling dual with Big Blue Kitten in a Grade One over this distance. If he gets a good lead, he can use his acceleration on the home turn and will be difficult to peg back.

Cirrus Des Aigles has been an uneasy favourite in the ante-post market with fears concerning his ability to handle the fast ground. He was officially the highest-rated horse in training at the start of the year but took a while to find his best form.

A smooth victory at Longchamp was followed by a close second to Farhh in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. He will be difficult to beat if he can reproduce that form but he is yet to win on a firm surface.

Military Attack is joint-favourite following a good third to Endowing and Akeed Mofeed in the Jockey Club Cup. He has to make up a length and a half and a head on that pair but loves this fast surface.

Andrew Balding runs Side Glance who won the Mackinnon Stakes in Australia under a superb ride from Jamie Spencer. He should run well again here but a better outsider may be Jeremy Noseda’s Grandeur.

The grey loves to hear his hooves rattle and five of his seven victories have been on ground faster than good. Ryan Moore partnered him to an easy victory at Goodwood earlier this year and is reunited with him here. At odds of around 25-1, he could reward each-way support.