To use a racing metaphor that Tang, a steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and keen follower of the turf, would appreciate, the scratching of the race favourite at such a late juncture opens the way not only to a cohort of standby runners taking their place in the stalls but also to the sort of unpredictability and last-minute betting plunges that are a feature of all the region's major gambling bourses, from the Lisboa and Galaxy casinos in Macau through the race tracks at Shatin and Happy Valley to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Central.
While for Rita Fan Hsu Lai Tai this may represent the last chance to have a tilt at the political world's greatest sinecure, for Regina Ip Lau Suk Yee, the woman who makes Macbeth look as if he wasn't even trying ambition-wise, this has something of the air of a trial run about it, as she tests the water for her big putsch in 2017. Meanwhile, dear old Jasper Tsang Yok Sing has deciced to play the humility card by saying that he's not sure that he's qualified for the job, but he may well enter anyway. Perhaps he feels he can take a crash course in becoming a global leader in just 11 days, the time remaining before nominations close for all this nonsense.
In the meantime, the men in Beijing will need to take a break from their own manoeuvrings for power as the succession to President Hu Jintao hots up, and decide which dickhead in their renegade territory in their renegade southern province to back. For this they may be grateful that they will this year get 10% more time in which to finalise their anointing. On the other hand, they may be on their way to thinking the unthinkable and deciding to let the lunatics appoint their own asylum chief.