Gold Ship may not be in Dubai with his compatriots this week, but the performance of the five year old in the Hanshin Daishoten reminded us that he is sure to be a potent force this season.
This was an important race for Gold Ship, whom had struggled to show his enthusiasm to compete with the very best in his last three outings, but despite his clear preference for the Hanshin track - a course at which he has a three-for-four record - his keenness to take hold of his races once again was clear to see.
It feels like an eternity ago that the five year old dethroned the dual Japan Cup winner Gentildonna at this track, notably by the same distance of today's three-and-a-quarter length winning margin, and most notably his performances in the Japan Cup and Arima Kinen were uncharacteristically poor.
Today, off a career high equine weight of 510kg, Gold Ship reversed the form of last year with Admire Rakti as well as defeating the Japanese St. Leger third, Bande.
The next stop for Gold Ship is set to be the Tenno Sho (Spring), back up at Group I level, which will see him take on the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe third placed finisher, Kizuna. Red Cadeaux, Dunaden and Now We Can have also been nominated to the race by their European trainers.
Elsewhere at Nakayama, Rosa Gigantea began what could be for connections as he dethroned Asia Express with a strong performance in the Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes - a recognised trial for the Japanese equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas.
Asia Express seemingly struggled with the pace of this contest early on, before running on strongly through the final stages, but it was not enough to erode a one-and-a-quarter length deficit at the line.