Silent Witness Still Perfect With Bauhinia Win

Silent Witness cruised to a 1 3/4-length victory over stablemate Country Music in Sunday's $576,000 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy at Sha Tin racecourse, extending his perfect record to 14-for-14 in the first leg of Hong Kong's championship sprint series.

Competing over 1,000 meters (five furlongs) on a straight course, Silent Witness and jockey Felix Coetzee moved to the outside in the final 200 meters and ran away with the victory for trainer Tony Cruz, who also conditions the runner-up. The final time was :55.3, just off the course record set in 2000 by Tajasur.

Planet Ruler was 2 3/4 lengths farther back in third.

The reigning Horse of the Year in Hong Kong, Silent Witness was recently rated the top grass sprinter in the world in 2004. He swept the Hong Kong sprint series last year. Afterward, Cruz confirmed that the 6-year-old Australian-bred son of El Moxie would go for the sweep once again.

Coetzee said Silent Witness was bothered early in the race when Able Prince, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, was pushed to the lead and crossed their path when shifting in.

"Able Prince crossed him a bit sharply early and we touched heels with him but as soon as he saw daylight he just went on with it," the jockey told Racing Post. "He hit the front early but he was always in control. I could see the shadow of Country Music coming at him but he scooted away again."

Stewards reviewed the incident and issued a warning against Soumillon.

Cruz said Silent Witness is set for three more races for the rest of the season: the Centenary Sprint Cup on Feb. 27, Chairman's Sprint Prize April 3 – the second and third legs of the championship series – and Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup on April 24.