03/14/2008 12:00AM

Sha Tin site of intriguing match


The Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday will offer Hong Kong racegoers the classic dilemma of choosing between a sprinter stepping up to seven furlongs and a miler cutting back a furlong. The $577,000 Group 1 contest will feature a duel between the world's highest-rated sprinter, Sacred Kingdom, and Hong Kong's champion miler, Good Ba Ba.

The race will also be the first time that a winner of the Hong Kong Sprint (Sacred Kingdom) meets a winner of the Hong Kong Mile (Good Ba Ba).

The Hong Kong Jockey Club's handicapper rates Sacred Kingdom, recent winner of the six-furlong Chairman's Sprint Prize, three pounds better than Good Ba Ba, who is coming off a win in the one-mile Stewards Cup, but the feeling is that the one-turn seven furlongs over Sha Tin's course may be more to Good Ba Ba's advantage.

With Olivier Doleuze aboard, Good Ba Ba is taken to spring a mild upset over Sacred Kingdom, who will be ridden by Gerald Mosse.

The two-time defending title-holder, Joyful Winner, and last year's Hong Kong champion miler, Armada, absent for exactly a year, may be in the race for a minor placing.

In the $2 million, 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Derby for 4-year-olds, Helene Mascot can return to winning ways at the expense of Green Birdie, who beat him by three-quarters of a length going 1 1/8 miles in the Hong Kong Derby Trial.