02/22/2010 12:00AM

Sacred Kingdom comes through


Sacred Kingdom remains the world's premier sprinter after his unsurprising 1 1/4-length victory in the Group 1, $580,000 Chairman's Sprint Prize at Sha Tin on Sunday. Although stuck on the rail in sixth place into the stretch, the 6-year-old Australian-bred son of Encosta de Lago quickened under Brent Prebble to lead just inside the eighth pole and won rather decisively.

In taking his sixth Group 1 race in Hong Kong, the 9-10 Sacred Kingdom beat Sunny King, with Happy Zero a further 1 1/2 lengths away in third. The time for the six furlongs on good ground was 1:09.23. Sacred Kingdom has now won 15 of 23 starts for earnings of $4.7 million.

His next start is up for grabs. Trainer Ricky Yiu seems to be leaning toward staying at home for the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup at seven furlongs on March 14, victory in which would give Sacred Kingdom the three-race Hong Kong Speed Series title. Owner Sin Kang-yuk, however, suggested that his next stop could be for the six-furlong Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo in Japan on March 28.

"It's getting close, so we have to make a decision," Yiu said. "We will definitely give another thought to going to Japan but there's also a fair chance of going for the bonus in the Queen's Jubilee Silver Cup."

Victory in the $580,000 Silver Cup would earn Sacred Kingdom a bonus of $257,000. First place in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen is worth $1,050,000.