Kingdom gunning to turn the tables on Absolute
Round Two of the Champion Sprint Series, and Sacred Kingdom should be right back on his pedestal after today's Group One HK$4.5 million Chairman's Sprint Prize (1,200m) showcases the dashing riches of sprinting ranks.
For not only will Sacred Kingdom (Gerald Mosse) and Absolute Champion (Brett Prebble) renew their rivalry, but the race sees the return of the one horse capable at his best of taking the sprint crown ahead of either of them.
At his best is the operative phrase, as Medic Power (Douglas Whyte) returns from a lay-off due to his heart irregularity in November. We have seen horses win this season first-up after the same problem, but Medic Power's past record suggests he is short of his top first-up under any circumstances, so the headline pair may just have his measure today.
For the Ricky Yiu Poon-fie-trained Sacred Kingdom it is the race that should straighten that crown back up on his head after the king of the sprinters was outfoxed by Prebble and narrowly downed by David Hall's sprinter in the Centenary Sprint Cup.
It wasn't pleasant for his legion of fans, who took remarkably short odds about Sacred Kingdom that day, but even they had to admire Prebble's brilliant waiting game on the winner.
After a bump at the start, Sacred Kingdom was back with Absolute Champion early before Mosse did what has been successful in the past - allow Sacred Kingdom to start taking himself up to the leaders from before the halfway mark.
Prebble didn't go with him immediately but kept his powder dry at the rear, allowing Sacred Kingdom to use some petrol in dealing with the leadership before unleashing Absolute Champion at Yiu's star.
Ironically, Sacred Kingdom had to do what Absolute Champion didn't enjoy doing 12 months before when his colours were lowered at long odds-on in the same race by Scintillation.
He was busy for much of the race doing one thing or another instead of playing his own sit and sprint game, while Absolute Champion only had to go full speed for 250m.
Absolute Champion bounced back to win the Chairman's Sprint last year and Sacred Kingdom has every chance of doing just the same today.
Once again, Prebble will likely be stalking Sacred Kingdom looking to find a chink in his armour but, if the race plays out differently and the right Sacred Kingdom stands up, Absolute Champion might have to settle for second this time.