Trainer Tony Cruz is now taking the career of Hong Kong's world beater Silent Witness one race at a time, and has refused to commit the champ to anything beyond the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup at 1,400 metres on April 24. In the afterglow of the champion's 16th successive win at Sha Tin on Sunday, Cruz decided to err on the side of caution on the question of whether Silent Witness would press on and tackle the $8 million Champions Mile - the first leg of the new Asian Mile Series - at Sha Tin on May 14. 'We're taking this one race at a time,' Cruz said. 'If he runs out the 1,400 metres strongly, as we expect, then we can make a decision about the Champions Mile. 'But if he happened to be beaten because of the distance, we would stop right there and from that point on, he'd be restricted to sprinting races again.' When asked if Sunday's power-packed display at the end of a fast-run Chairman's Sprint Prize had given him additional confidence about Silent Witness's prospects of staying the metric mile, jockey Felix Coetzee echoed Cruz's cautious approach. 'I don't think there's anything to be gained by making a statement one way or the other at this point,' said the South African master horseman. 'The first thing we have to focus on is the 1,400 metres race in three weeks time. Personally, I don't think he'll have any worries getting that distance but he still has to do it. After that race, we'll be much better placed to make a judgment about the mile.' Whether or not Silent Witness will be as superior at 1,600m as he is at 1,200m is something that will be critical to the immediate future of Hong Kong's greatest-ever racehorse. If he takes on the Champions Mile, and wins, he becomes eligible for a US$1 million bonus if he can annex the second leg of the new Asian series, the Group One Yasuda Kinen (1,600m) in Tokyo the following month. The Yasuda Kinen is the race in which Fairy King Prawn became Hong Kong's previous best thoroughbred advertisement, winning the big race against international competition in June, 2002, for owner Philip Lau Sak-hong, jockey Robbie Fradd and trainer Ivan Allan. Newspapers and internet sites around the world acclaimed the performance of Silent Witness yesterday, though many erroneously referred to his 16th successive win as a 'world record'. Silent Witness equalled the performance of his great-great-great grandsire, the immortal Ribot, in winning his 16th successive race and remaining unbeaten. Sixteen on the trot (but not undefeated) is also the North American benchmark, held jointly by 1948 American triple crown hero Citation and the champion middle-distance dirt racer of the mid 1990s, Cigar. If Silent Witness wins again on April 24, he will draw level with one of the greats of New Zealand racing, Mainbrace, who won 17 straight (including the 1951 Great Northern Derby) on the way to a full career record of 25 starts for 23 wins and two placings. The mighty Australian racehorse Ajax, a son of leading sire Heroic, won 18 straight, beginning with the Linlithgow Stakes at Flemington in November, 1937. The sequence came to a shock ending in the 1939 Rawson Stakes at Rosehill, when the champion was controversially beaten at odds of 1-40. Eighteen was also the number of unbeaten starts of the fabled English stayer, Eclipse (born 1764), an ancestor of an estimated 80 per cent of all thoroughbreds, Silent Witness included. Nineteen straight was the hallmark of another pair of New Zealand-bred champions, Gloaming and Desert Gold, multiple Group One winners in Australia and New Zealand more than 80 years ago. Like Mainbrace, their compatriot of a subsequent era, Gloaming (a gelding) and the filly Desert Gold won the Great Northern Derby at Ellerslie before their Australian campaigns. Tungsten-tough Desert Gold (foaled 1912) won her 19 straight as part of a 36 from 59 career record, that also included 18 minor placings. Gloaming, who came along three years later, became even more famous, winning 57 of his 67 starts and placing in nine other races, only once out of the first three. In the 87 years since Gloaming, a number of champions have threatened their 'record' but pulled up short. Australia's wonder horse, Tulloch (foaled 1954), pulled up at 12 straight wins, Kingston Town at 11, Phar Lap at 14 and Bernborough at 15. However, when it comes to extended dominance that includes races now recognised as Group One, the 19th century Hungarian filly Kincsem stands alone. This iron maiden retired in 1879, unbeaten in 54 starts. Kincsem took in major events in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France and England, as well as winning Germany's biggest race, the Grosser Preis von Baden - now a leg of the World Racing Series - three times. And spare a thought for one of racing's legends who doesn't make the list: Native Dancer, winner of 21 from 22, but beaten a short head in the 1953 Kentucky Derby. Note: In racing jurisdictions where there is no recognised Group racing, the record belongs to a horse called Camarerol, unbeaten in his first 56 starts in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 1953-56.