Kingdom 'may be more a miler than a sprinter'
Trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie and jockey Danny Nikolic (pictured) asked fans of Sacred Kingdom to be understanding in the wake of the gelding's first defeat in six starts at the hands of a monster called Medic Power.
Sacred Kingdom, who had equalled Absolute Champion's 1,200m course record of 1:07.8 at his previous start, was given the run of the race by Nikolic but struggled in the final stages as Medic Power sliced 0.1 seconds from that mark and removed him from the record book.
'I think, the way this horse is racing, he may be more a miler than a sprinter,' Yiu said.
'At his last start, when he drew wider, Danny went back on him and the horse really appreciated it. Today, from a better barrier, he was ridden closer and didn't have quite the same finishing speed.'
Nikolic said the three-year-old son of Encosta de Lago just didn't give him 'the same feel' as he had when accelerating between horses to beat Regency Horse last time.
'I think, comparing the two runs, he's definitely a bit better when ridden more quietly in the early stages,' Nikolic said, 'and he may want further.'
Yiu said he will consult the owners about the possibility of running in the HSBC Premier Cup on June 9. 'If he really wants further, this race is 1,400 metres and will give us a chance to see,' Yiu said.
Caspar Fownes, on the other hand, was delighted at the huge performance of Catbird gelding Green Birdie, who stormed down the outside to finish second.
'I'm very excited, and he would have finished a bit closer but for being held up at the 400 metres,' Fownes said. 'No one ever likes getting beaten, but I'm delighted with the horse - he'll be a cracker next season.'