Kingdom will be fit to defend Sprint crown - Yiu

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 October, 2008, 12:00am

Trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie remains hopeful champion Sacred Kingdom will be fit enough to defend his Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint crown in December after receiving a positive veterinary report this week.

Yiu said X-rays of Sacred Kingdom's left foreleg showed the hairline fracture of the sesamoid, originally identified on September 6, was healing well.

'The shadow [representing the fracture on the X-ray] has almost gone completely, so it looks like he will make a complete recovery,' Yiu said. 'The plan is that we will give him another 10 days off and by then everything should be in order for him to begin normal work.'

When the fracture was identified after a dismal showing in a pre-season barrier trial, Yiu and the veterinarian initially thought the problem was a stone bruise. But further examination showed it to be much more significant.

The discovery of the sesamoid fracture put an end to his bid to emulate Silent Witness by winning the Group One Sprinters' Stakes at Nakayama in Japan this Sunday. In reality, clouds also still hover over his Hong Kong Sprint ambitions, but Yiu remains hopeful.

'He's a very athletic horse and does not take very long to get fit,' Yiu said.

'We have been swimming him for the past week and will continue to do so, and hopefully he will get the all-clear to begin cantering late next week.'

With an international rating of 123, Sacred Kingdom was ranked the world's top sprinter last season, with wins in the Hong Kong Sprint, the International Sprint Trial and the Chairman's Sprint Prize.