Racing in the famous silks of past champion Sacred Kingdom, the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Graceful Kingdom has big shoes to fill but he caught the eye with a runner-up performance in the Class Four Mediterranean Sea Handicap (1,200m) at Sha Tin.
Graceful Kingdom was purchased for A$120,000 (HK$960,000) by Yiu at the 2011 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale in Australia for owner Sin Kang-yuk. He showed progress in each of his six trials for Weichong Marwing, but Tommy Berry was the rider of choice in his debut as a market drifter behind odds-on pop Bobo Dragon.
The three-year-old faded back under a good hold to a position behind midfield after breaking alertly and was then niggled to get his mind on the job coming to the final bend. He was ridden hands and heels while cornering in, but responded when asked to overhaul Bullish Boy for second - 3¼ lengths behind the effortless winner Bobo Dragon.
Graceful Kingdom still looks to have some filling out to do, but will be parading in the winner's circle in no time over sprints up to 1,400m.
The youngster is a good-looking type by the smart and precocious Fairy King stallion Encosta De Lago, the same sire as Sacred Kingdom and 38 other local winners, including Group winners Ultra Fantasy, Liberator and Admiration.
His dam is the Redoute's Choice mare Rate The Choice, who was unplaced over 1,200m at Geelong in her only start in Australia, but is a three-quarter sister to Bradbury's Luck, a Listed sprint winner and a product of the terrific racehorse and producer Skating.