Kingdom to race one more time
Former world champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom has at least one more engagement in his career, with connections deciding to press on to the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m) on April 1.
Trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai said yesterday the eight-year-old had pulled up fit and well, despite finishing 11 in the Chairman's Sprint Prize on Sunday.
'He is fine, he pulled up OK,' said Yiu. 'But his dash at the finish seems to be getting shorter and shorter now.'
Yiu said Sacred Kingdom would not run over 1,200m again, with his two sound efforts this season both coming over the minimum distance down the straight course at Sha Tin.
'The plan is to give him a break, freshen him up again and then we will see how he is,' Yiu said. 'There is no decision to retire him yet. If he still seems to be in good shape, then the owner and I are looking at the 1,000m race for him. He won't go 1,200m any more.'
The seven time Group One hero and winner of almost HK$46 million in stakes suffered the biggest margin of defeat in his career when 44/4 lengths away in the Hong Kong Sprint in December at 1,200m, but his performance on Sunday at Sha Tin was a new low, with the gelding more than eight lengths behind Joy And Fun.
He needs one more victory to equal the Hong Kong record of 18 career wins held by Silent Witness.
In other news, trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah will appear before the Jockey Club's appeals panel at 2pm tomorrow afternoon to appeal his record HK$250,000 fine under Rule 150 last month.
Leung was fined after being found guilty of an improper act for participating in voting to decide upon a stable transfer for a racehorse trained by him, China Good.
Stewards described the breach as 'a direct conflict of interest and being in contravention of a previous direction given to him by the stipendiary stewards in 2008 that he was not to, either directly or indirectly, participate in any administrative functions associated with any registered syndicate's ownership of racehorses.'
Leung will be hoping for at least the same result he had last time he took a HK$250,000 fine to appeal in 2002.
On that occasion, Leung was fined under the rules dealing with being party to a running and handling offence by jockey Eric Saint-Martin, but both men had their penalties reduced on appeal and Leung's fine was cut to HK$100,000. Should the appeal fail, Leung's fine will stand as the record for a trainer jointly with Patrick Biancone, who was fined the same amount in 1996 over a string of drug positives.