Sha Tin 1,200m record-holder Absolute Champion has gained a late call-up to the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint after the defection of British sprinter Red Clubs. The visitor, who is owned by former Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli, came down with a temperature shortly after arriving in the city and a blood analysis still shows a significantly elevated white cell count. Jockey Club international racing manager Mark Player said last night the infection Red Clubs had contracted required treatment, and because that treatment was being given within seven days of a race, the horse would be ineligible to start under the strict drug-free racing rules. 'But the most important consideration is the welfare of the horse and it was in his best interests that he received the appropriate veterinary treatment,' Player said. Absolute Champion, winner of the Group Three HSBC Premier Bowl on October 29, had been specifically set for the Sprint by trainer David Hall, who bravely rolled the dice and refused to run the gelding in the Sprint Trial over 1,000 metres on November 19.