Silent Witness, the most successful horse in the history of Hong Kong racing, will be retired after his run in the Centenary Sprint Cup (HK-I) on Sunday.
Trainer Tony Cruz and owner Archie da Silva made the decision in view of a degenerating condition in the 7-year-old's hind joints.
Silent Witness won 17 straight races from his debut in December 2002 until April 2005, a feat that attracted global attention as it took him beyond the 'unbreakable' records set by his European ancestor, Ribot, and the American champions Cigar and Citation.
The streak included eight group I wins including two Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint titles and two Champion Sprint Series grand slams during 2003/04 and 2004/05. His 18th success arrived in the Sprinters' Stakes (JPN-I) in Tokyo in October 2005. To date he has won over HK$62 million, a Hong Kong record.
The Australian-bred son of El Moxie was twice voted Hong Kong's Horse of the Year. Even more impressively, he was the world's top ranked turf sprinter for three seasons.
"It will be an emotional saying goodbye to him after everything he has given us. All the memories will come flooding back, but it's best that he retires now and with honor. Anything else just wouldn't be right for a horse like him," da Silva said.
"All good things come to an end," Cruz added. "He made us all so proud -- Archie and Betty, myself, Felix [Coetzee] his jockey, his stable lads, the riding boys, all my staff -- we all are very proud to have been associated with Silent Witness. In the end, time has caught up with him and just his sheer bodyweight means that we can't put much more pressure on his legs. It will be very sad to see him go, but it has been a real privilege to have had him in our stable."
Connections say Silent Witness will spend his retirement at "Living Legends," the international home of rest for champion horses outside Melbourne, Australia.