The key destinations on horse racing's annual global journey are familiar to any fan of the sport but the individual storylines that play out along the way are what define their position on the year-end stage.
America's turbulent racing year started with a dramatic Kentucky Derby demotion and rumbled on with equine welfare front and centre at the Breeders' Cup.
The remarkable Frankie Dettori continued to drink at the fountain of youth ahead of his imminent 49th birthday, stealing the Royal Ascot show with seven winners and lighting up the European scene like never before with 19 G1 successes.
France and Australia upheld national pride by bucking a trend to keep their cherished Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Melbourne Cup trophies at home, while the burgeoning influence of Japan was highlighted by a string of major G1 successes all over the world.
And so we come to the final stopping-off point on international racing's 2019 merry-go-round.
Hong Kong has its own challenges as the latest edition of the LONGINES HKIR draws closer but racing continues as a welcome distraction and this year's showcase on 8 December has a great deal to live up to after last year's historic clean sweep of all four G1 contests by the home team.
World-class horses, jockeys and trainers are gearing up for one important final push as Hong Kong shows its sporting face to the world again.
And, with Aethero, Exultant, Beauty Generation, Zac and Frankie topping the bill, the final act of international racing’s 2019 circus has all the makings of a blockbuster.
Programme and timings
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