Silent Witness tunes up for Tokyo
Owner Archie da Silva declared 'all systems are go' for the next Japan assault by Silent Witness after the champion's impressive barrier trial win at Sha Tin yesterday.
Da Silva said trainer Tony Cruz had given him a rave review about the performance of his star sprinter, who is being aimed at the $12.7 million Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama on October 2.
'All systems go, we're going to Japan,' the flamboyant owner enthused after learning that Silent Witness had disposed of fellow Group One winner Scintillation in the fastest time of the morning - one minute, 11.1 seconds for 1,200 metres. 'Tony told me he could not be more happy, and that he couldn't have Silent Witness any more ready even if he had a race,' Da Silva said. 'That trial was perfect - just what he required to be at his top for Tokyo.'
Those who took the trouble to kick off the bedclothes to see the trial at 7.10am were treated to a new, more relaxed version of Silent Witness, the world's number one turf sprinter for the past two years.
With Jolly Good Fortune (Way Leung Ming-wai) carving out a blistering early pace, Felix Coetzee allowed Silent Witness to relax in third spot, some six lengths off the lead at the half way mark.
However, approaching the turn, Silent Witness took matters into his own hands. The great gelding gobbled up the leeway ready to pounce on Jolly Good Fortune and Scintillation at the top of the stretch.
In the final 200 metres, it was vintage Silent Witness, arrogantly pricking his ears to remind us just how easily he can do this sort of thing, and never looking remotely close to top gear.
Classic Mile (Group One) hero Scintillation, ridden by Shane Dye, ran a great race for second, officially a length from Silent Witness. A tiring Jolly Good Fortune boxed on for third, while Bullish Luck stormed home late for fourth under Gerald Mosse.
'Felix was very pleased with the trial and the horse has pulled up perfectly,' Cruz said later in the morning. 'I wanted a fast trial, and hoped for a horse of sufficient quality to make Silent Witness stretch a bit. We got both those things - a very quick leader and a Group One horse in Scintillation to give him a decent test.
'It could not have worked out more perfect.'