Although the distance bears no comparison, it would create some of the most excitement in Australian racing since Phar Lap took out the 1930 Melbourne Cup under 62.5kgs, if Australian bred Hong Kong superstar Sacred Kingdom could be enticed to contest the trifecta of races in Melbourne early in 2010 which make up what is arguably Australasia's sprint championship.

A juicy enticement for Sacred Kingdom to contest the races, in order the Lightning Stakes (Flemington), Oakleigh Plate (Caulfield) and the Newmarket Handicap (Flemington), could be a rich bonus for the winner of all three.

Sacred Kingdom

It would also provide the opportunity for Victorian racing and breeding to pay homage to a home bred racehorse who added to his reputation as one of the world's best sprinters of recent years when he took out the Hong Kong International Sprint for the second time on Sunday.

The now 6-year-old gelding Sacred Kingdom was bred by the Calvert family at their Kornong stud at Cheatham in mid west Victoria using Australian bred Group 1 winning sire Encosta de Lago, once then at Blue Gum Farm Euroa, but now at Coolmore in the Hunter Valley, and Courtroom Sweetie, a minor Sydney winning sister by another Australian bred racing star and good sire Zeditave to dual Group 2 winner Love of Mary.

Sold for $200,000 at the Inglis Melbourne yearling sale, Sacred Kingdom is the only stakes winner among Courtroom Sweetie's nine foals.

When Sacred Kingdom won the Hong Kong International Sprint on Sunday, beating a field that included visiting leading sprinters from Australia, America, Europe and Japan, it took his record to 21 outings,13 wins, four minor placings and HK$32million (about Aust$4.9million) and virtually assured he will be the leading sprinter of the year in the World Thoroughbred Rankings. It is a distinction he shared at the end of 2008.

Sacred Kingdom's grip on the 2009 title prospects was also boosted by a win in track record time in the Singapore International Sprint in May and a handy fifth of 14 in the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot the following month. He is Timeform's highest rated sprinter of 2009.

His victory in this year's Hong Kong International Sprint continued the remarkable dominance of the race by Australian bred horses, winners of all the eleven runnings of it. All the winners except one, Queensland bred, owned and trained Falvelon, however, have been Hong Kong owned and trained.

Now a good sire from use at Innisplain,Qld, Falvelon contested the Sprint three times for two wins and a third. Coincidentally, he from the only crop of foals by Alannon, a half-brother to Sacred Kingdom's maternal grandsire Zeditave.

The last five renewals of the International Sprint has seen both first and second fall to Hong Kong based Australian sired sprinters.

Beaten only a half length after coming from the outside barrier, the distinction of taking second money this year has fallen to the Gerry Harvey, Baramul Stud, Hunter Valley bred 5-year-old stallion One World.

He is a son of another Coolmore sire, Danehill Dancer, and the modest Hurricane Sky winner River Serenade.

Sold at the Magic Millions sale at the Gold Coast for $150,000, One World has won seven sprint races.

One of the tragedies of Hunter Valley breeding in the past 30 years has been the deaths of Jack Sheppard - in his sixties and his son John.They had the Gyarran stud at Muswellbrook and enjoyed success through an English mare by name of Sheeaun which they bought at a Sydney sales.

Sheeaun produced six winners for them including Lauriat (six wins included the AJC Frank Packer Plate, fourth Caulfield Guineas) and his Bletchingly half-sister Kilmarie (a Listed winner). Kilmarie became the dam of three stakes winners including Ride the Rapids, grandam of One World.

Sacred Kingdom was one of four Australian bred Hong Kong trained winners on Sunday's10-race program.The others were Mr Celerity (by Fusaichi Pegasus), Heartline (by Show a Heart) and Algarve (another runner by Encosta de Lago). Bred by J.D. Sommerville, NSW, Heartline was sold to New Zealand as weanling for $17,000 in 2006 at the Magic Millions National Sales at

Gold Coast, a market which that year saw her dam, Naturaline, sell empty for $3,500.

Also very impressive at the meeting was Happy Zero, the odds-on favourite who finished a half length second to American bred Good Ba Ba when he won the HK$16million Hong Mile for the third successive year.

Reared at the Widden Stud for K.F. Leung, Sydney and sold to Hong Kong for $425,000 at the Inglis Easter sale, Happy Zero is a winner of seven races, including Group 2 and 3 events, got on a cross of Golden Slipper winners, Danzero over the Canny Lad mare Have Love.

Picture - Sportpix
Brian Russell Bloodstock Media Service Published 21/12/09