01/30/2009 12:00AM

Sacred Kingdom making return


Sacred Kingdom will attempt to wrest back leadership of Hong Kong's competitive sprint division on Sunday when he faces the recent Hong Kong Sprint winner, Inspiration, in the $580,000 Centenary Sprint Cup, a Group 1 event to be run on Sha Tin's straight turf course.

Unraced since taking the six-furlong Gome Sprint Cup on May 1, Sacred Kingdom was the highest-rated sprinter in the world in 2007 after his victory in that year's Hong Kong Sprint. Five for six lifetime going five furlongs at Sha Tin, he sustained a sesamoid injury last fall and missed the Hong Kong Sprint won by Inspiration at 67-1.

Sacred Kingdom put in a sharp performance in a five-furlong, Jan. 20 barrier trial, a kind of semi-official test for horses coming off a long layoff because of injury or bleeding problems. If he is ready off that effort, he will be difficult to beat.