Sacred Kingdom stuck in Singapore after virus scare

Sacred Kingdom stuck in Singapore after virus scareChampion Hong Kong sprinter Sacred Kingdom and the Luca Cumani-trained Presvis are among four horses stranded in Singapore after three of the gallopers reacted positively to tests for a potentially lethal disease.

Singapore authorities have detained Presvis, California Memory and Wigmore Hall after the trio showed reactions to tests for the Nipah virus, a deadly affliction similar to the Hendra virus.

Sacred Kingdom has tested negative to the Nipah virus but remains in quarantine in Singapore as he was housed next to California Memory.

Sacred Kingdom finished sixth in last Sunday’s KrisFlyer International Sprint while California Memory, Wigmore Hall and Presvis all missed the placings in the Singapore International Cup.

Sacred Kingdom’s furious trainer Tony Cruz told the South China Morning Post the detention of the star speedster was “a joke”.

“This is the kind of thing that might happen in the countryside but I don’t understand why they even test for this on racehorses which are in a strict quarantine environment and to suggest three horses are positive for this is … well, I don’t believe it,” Cruz said.

“If the horse really had this, he would have respiratory problems and would already be dying, but he is very healthy, he is eating well and doesn’t have a temperature. I’m sure the blood profile would not show any problem.

“Fortunately, there is no race coming up for California Memory. He is finished for the season and going for a break, but this is just going to delay his return home and Sacred Kingdom can’t leave without him either.”

Singapore authorities are awaiting the results of further tests to arrive from Australia before making a decision on clearing the horses to travel home.