02/02/2011 1:18PM

Sacred Kingdom going for third Chairman’s Sprint Prize


Sacred Kingdom, Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year in 2010, will step back up to six furlongs on Saturday at Sha Tin in the $577,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize, a Hong Kong Group 1 sprint he won in 2008 and 2010.

An Australian-bred 7-year-old, Sacred Kingdom snapped a two-race losing streak last out in taking the five-furlong Centenary Sprint Cup and will go off as the short-priced favorite on Saturday with Brett Prebble riding.

Trainer Ricky Yiu discounts accusations that Sacred Kingdom is no longer top-class at six furlongs, the distance at which he won the Hong Kong Sprint in 2007 and 2009. His last two victories, though, have both been at five furlongs, and he has not won at the longer distance since landing this race last year.

He was, however, a sharp three-quarters of a length third behind J J The Jet Plane and Rocket Man two back in the Hong Kong Sprint. On Saturday he will not be facing anything of that caliber. Dim Sum, three-quarters of a length second in the Centenary Sprint Cup and the winner of this race in 2009, tries him again. Others with a chance include Joy and Fun, the winner of the Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint on the Meydan turf last March but only 11th in the Hong Kong Sprint. Green Birdie beat Rocket Man in the KrisFlyer International Sprint in Singapore in May but was only seventh in the Centenary. Ultra Fantasy flopped in both the Hong Kong Sprint and the Centenary after a winning trip to Tokyo in the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes.

A victory for Sacred Kingdom would be his 18th in Hong Kong, tying him for the local record with the great sprinter Silent Witness and the handicapper Super Win.