It was the showdown before the showdown, as the champions from opposite sides of the world flexed their muscles in preparation for Saturday's clash of the titans in the $8 million Group One Champions Mile. Local idol Silent Witness, it must be said, set the bar high. Under race rider Felix Coetzee, he had his usual preparatory gallop three days before a big race, flying out of the stalls and putting 400 metres behind him in 21.7 seconds, paced as well as equinely possible by proven Class One sprinter Fokine. Some 15 minutes later, it was the turn of brilliant British filly Attraction, Europe's champion three-year-old filly last season and winner of four Group Ones at a mile over the past 12 months. Attraction, ridden by assistant trainer Mark Billingham, familiarised herself with the Sha Tin course proper, galloping 1,200 metres in 1:24.1, the last 400 metres in 23.8 to the complete satisfaction of both rider and attendant Carrie Sanderson. With a set of legs that came from somewhere other than a veterinary textbook, Attraction is an ungainly mover in her slower paces, but once she's up to full speed, she's all thoroughbred. Hong Kong racing circles are bubbling with anticipation of the clash of these two great racehorses who, between them, have raced 29 times for 26 wins. 'I've been keen to learn more about Silent Witness and, from what I can gather, he and Attraction are actually very similar,' Sanderson said. 'Last night, a friend was explaining the racing characteristics of Silent Witness and I kept butting in and saying, 'That's what she does'. There were so many similarities, it was quite uncanny. 'They are both big and powerful, with loads of muscle. They both race forward and have superior tactical speed, they both have great acceleration and both love a good fight. 'Obviously, any horse that can win 17 races in a row and remain unbeaten like Silent Witness must be a good horse, so we respect that very much. 'Everyone tells us Silent Witness is a freak, but I can tell you, Attraction is a freak also.' When Silent Witness pulled up after a breeze that made the trees sway, there was no evidence of the power gallop he'd just turned in. His breathing was normal, he was completely relaxed, he was barely warm and he immediately dropped into his now-familiar lazy mode, living life with total economy of effort. 'I'm very happy with him,' trainer Tony Cruz said. 'And Felix was happy with him too. He said the horse felt just perfect, as good as ever.' While the training techniques of Cruz and his rival, distinguished Yorkshireman Mark Johnston, are as different as chalk and cheese, the success they've achieved with these horses is much the same. Attraction has won nine from 12, including her first eight in a row. In the early part of the season, she won three 'classics' in succession - the English 1,000 Guineas, the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes. The countdown to Saturday's big mile is subject to conjecture about the likely track condition, with Hong Kong having been deluged with rain since Monday, although much of it had abated by yesterday, with Sha Tin receiving just the occasional drizzly shower. Course manager John Ridley has notified that, in order to provide the best-possible ground, the movable rail will be in the B+2 position, in other words six metres out from the true. But he said the forecast is for clearing weather and the track is most likely to be classified as good. Cruz isn't concerned about how the ground comes up for Saturday - firm, good or yielding, it's all the same to his unbeaten star. 'I've said I'd prefer firm ground for this race, but if you look at his record, his two runs on yielding tracks have been very comprehensive wins,' Cruz said. 'That's why he's a champion. Wet tracks, dry tracks, early in the season or late in the season, 1,000 metres through to 1,400 metres and hopefully on Saturday, 1,600 metres. 'He's one of a kind.'