'He's still the highest-rated sprinter in the race and this will be his chance to prove whether or not he truly is world class' The fame of Hong Kong's unbeaten sprinter Silent Witness has spread far and wide, with 11 of the world's foremost handicappers tipping him to make it eight from eight in the $10 million Hong Kong Sprint (1,000 metres) tomorrow. Only two of the panel of 13 handicappers advised punters to play away from the Tony Cruz-trained, Australian-bred sprinter, who polled 122 out of a theoretically perfect score of 130 points. And Ciaran Kennelly, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's head of handicapping and international race planning, suggests form students should allow Silent Witness a bit more credit than the face value of his 118 international rating. 'On strict interpretation of his win in the International Sprint Trial (November 22), he could be rated higher than 118 and he may well be better than that,' Kennelly said. 'But I decided to wait until he proved himself against international competition before formally recognising it. 'He's still the highest-rated sprinter in the race and this will be his opportunity to prove whether or not he truly is world class. Already, he's a better horse than Fairy King Prawn was when he won the Hong Kong Sprint.' South African handicapper Ryan Skelton was the first to deviate from the norm, throwing his support behind his country's brilliant sprinter National Currency. Skelton said: 'I rank him as one of the best sprinters we've ever seen in my time in South Africa.' Falbrav, the short-priced favourite for the Hong Kong Cup, was another one to go close to a clean-sweep in the handicapper poll. He too earned 122 of a possible 130 votes, with 11 handicappers tipping him to win the $18 million race. However, the recurring theme from many of the handicappers was the lingering doubt about Falbrav's durability. Said Britain's Nigel Gray: 'If he comes here and runs his race, I think he will win it. But Falbrav has been running all year, in nine other Group One races in a number of countries, so perhaps there could be some doubt.' Japan Racing Association handicapper, Dr Isamu Kosa, gave an interesting insight into the strength of this year's invasion from the Land of the Rising Sun, remember it is just two years since they went away with three of the four trophies on international day. 'In the Hong Kong Mile, I like Lohengrin who is a speed runner,' Kosa said. He is the record holder for 1,600 metres at Hanshin and he was second in the Prix du Moulin (Grade One) in France this year. They key is whether he can keep up a good pace if there are some other fast runners. 'I think our other horse Admire Max is a very fresh horse, and the hardest to beat, while I respect your top local horse Olympic Express and have him as third selection,' Kosa added. The Japanese handicapper also gave top marks to Eishin Preston in the Cup, as the rising seven-year-old attempts to claim his fourth Group One race at Sha Tin. The 13 wise men were unanimous in their view that the Hong Kong Vase (2,400m) was the toughest of the four international events. Ireland's Gary O'Gorman used the example of Hong Kong Derby heroine Elegant Fashion to contrast the evenness of the Vase field to the quality of the Cup lineup. 'If Elegant Fashion was in the Vase, she would be my top selection,' O'Gorman said. 'But being in the Cup, which is so strong this year, I can't find her to run a place.' ORDER OF MERIT Handicapper's selections 1-2-3 gained 10, 6 and 3 points: CUP: Falbrav 122, Eishin Preston 65, Rakti 48, Weightless 6, Bright Sky 3, Elegant Fashion 3. VASE: Imperial Dancer 49, Warrsan 45, Indian Creek 41, Vallee Enchantee 32, Kalabar 25, Polish Summer 22, Maktub 18, Fields of Omagh 6, Roosevelt 6, Sabiango 3. SPRINT: Silent Witness 122, National Currency 67, Grand Delight 28, Acclamation 15, Dantana 6, Cheerful Fortune 3, Deportivo 3, Firebolt 3. MILE: Olympic Express 67, Lohengrin 65, Admire Max 56, Special Kaldoun 28, Firebreak 10, Lucky Owners 9, Ninetyfive Emperor 6, Telegnosis 6.