Sacred Kingdom can join Silent Witness in elite club, Yiu says
Trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai is confident Sacred Kingdom will join Silent Witness and All Thrills Too as a dual winner of the Group Two Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday, on his way to claiming a third Hong Kong Sprint next month.
The race formerly known as the International Sprint Trial has proven a great pointer to the feature International Group One in December and Yiu is hopeful his champion can once again pick up the double over his pet 1,200m course.
Yiu oversaw Sacred Kingdom's final gallop on Wednesday morning and is now looking forward to showing international raider Rocket Man and the young local sprinters that 'The King' is still on the throne.
'He's doing really well, as well as he usually does after he's had his first-up run,' Yiu (pictured) said. 'I'm expecting him to run very well again, he has maintained his condition from his 1,000m win and Brett Prebble says he is feeling good in his trackwork.
'He had his final gallop on Wednesday morning and it was a strong piece of work that really says he will race well on Sunday. It's an exciting race to go up against Rocket Man again, and I'm very much looking forward to it.'
Last time Sacred Kingdom met Rocket Man was in Singapore in the KrisFlyer International of 2009, where he downed the local champion by a neck on home soil.
Rocket Man's return raid has been made all the more difficult after he drew barrier eight for the HK$3 million race, two stalls to the outside of Sacred Kingdom in six.
'What can you do? It's the luck of the draw, but eight is better than 12,' Rocket Man's trainer Patrick Shaw said. 'Felix [Coetzee] will have to work out something from there. At least, he knows the Sha Tin well and that's a huge advantage for us.'
The sensational line-up of speed also includes the John Moore-trained One World, the rejuvenated Cerise Cherry and flying filly Sweet Sanette, but much interest will be focused on the performances of exciting young talents Lucky Nine and Little Bridge.
Danny Shum Chap-shing has decided to throw his unbeaten galloper in the deep end after all, and has come up with barrier four, while Caspar Fownes will saddle Lucky Nine, who has won five of eight starts, but will have to overcome gate 12.