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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Silent Witness, flawless as ever, makes it 15 wins for 15 starts

Every time he steps on the racecourse his name becomes engraved that bit deeper into Hong Kong racing folklore and today's events at Sha Tin were no exception: the genuinely sensational Silent Witness pummeled his way to a 15th straight success in the Centenary Sprint Cup (Gr.1-1,000m).

The world’s top ranked turf sprinter maintained his perfect career record in his customary eased-down manner and is now set fair to equal Citation and Cigar's North American record of 16 consecutive victories when he next starts in the Chairman's Sprint Prize, the final leg of the Champion Sprint Series, on April 3.

Ridden as usual by Felix Coetzee, Silent Witness raced about a length behind the speed early on, assumed control at halfway and drew away inside the final 200m to score by two lengths on a rain-affected track from Country Music with Multidandy four and a half lengths further behind.

Tony Cruz, Hong Kong's leading trainer, trained the first three past the post to reinforce his superiority in local Group One events. Silent Witness’ latest success took his bankroll beyond HK$40 million.

No horse has ever impacted on Hong Kong racing like this powerful five-year-old bay Australian-bred gelding.

In December last, Time Magazine listed him alongside world leaders in politics, sport and business as one of the People of the Year.

This week a tribute website www.silentwitness.com.hk was launched by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and his trainer Cruz has reportedly called for the HKJC to erect a statue in his honour at Sha Tin.

Meanwhile, owner Archie da Silva confirmed that his peerless champion would step up in distance for a first time to 1,400m in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (Gr.2) on April 24 before taking him his talents beyond Hong Kong for the first time.

“If Tony and Felix think he can stay a mile, then we will aim for the Yasuda Kinen in June. If not we will go for the Sprinters' Stakes at Nakayama later in the year. We won't be going to Royal Ascot with him, though.”

Da Silva, part of the HK Country Club Racing Syndicate that owns the runner-up Country Music, added that the latter could travel to Europe in the summer should he be invited.

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