Hong Kong’s champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom has run his last race. The Australian bred superstar finished well back in the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy on Sunday.
Owner Sin Kang and trainer Ricky Yiu made the decision to bring down the curtain after Sacred Kingdom dropped out to beat just one home in the G3 feature down the straight course at Sha Tin.
Sacred Kingdom (8g Encosta de Lago – Courtroom Sweetie by Zeditave) was named the world’s top turf sprinter for three years in a row from 2007 to 2009 and the gelding was recently listed on the world rankings for the fifth successive year.
“We don’t want to race him above 1000 metres now and there isn’t another race for him like that until next season,” Yiu explained. “That’s six months away and he will be a nine year-old.”
Sacred Kingdom won 17 of his 36 starts, including 7 Group 1 sprints, and he will likely be returned to live out his days in Australia. “For me, he was on a par with Fairy King Prawn as the best horse I have trained,” Yiu added. “He was on that level and I keep dreaming that I will train another one as good.”
A local hero year after year, Sacred Kingdom was Hong Kong’s 2009-10 Horse Of the Year and he was twice named Most Popular Horse of the Year. He missed most of the 2008-09 season with a fractured sesamoid and he was also sidelined in 2010 following a near-fatal colic attack as he prepared to board a flight to Japan.
Sacred Kingdom was bred in Victoria by Kornong Stud owner Noel Calvert and sold for $200,000 at the 2005 Melbourne Inglis Premier Sale. His dam is a Sydney winning sister to Love Of Mary, a G2 winner of the VRC Edward Manifold Stakes and MVRC Champagne Stakes.