Owner and trainer differ over what to do next following disappointing seventh The Silent Witness camp has some hard decisions to make in the wake of the gelding's first-ever sprint defeat yesterday, where the champion laboured home in seventh place behind heavily backed Scintillation. The world's best sprinter for the past two years was emphatically dethroned, coming in 51/2 lengths behind the winner in a performance that had nothing to recommend it, and offered little hope for the immediate future. After the race, owner Archie da Silva and trainer Tony Cruz had vastly differing ideas about the race and the gelding's immediate future, with Cruz wanting to press on and Da Silva preferring to spell the gelding. 'I think he's just rusty - he needs racing,' Cruz said. 'He's older now and like all of us, as we get older we change. Even when Silent Witness was at his best, 1,000 metres was never his best distance - it's always been a bit sharp for him. 'They definitely went too quickly for him today. We saw a hint of it in Japan when Calstone Light O went out with a big lead and Silent Witness couldn't go with him, but he was too strong in the final 200 metres. 'I think his best distance is probably 1,400 metres. We'll continue and he'll run next in the Chairman's Sprint Prize [March 26]. There's really nothing else left for him.' Da Silva was stoic in defeat but was the first to acknowledge that the great sprinter - winner of 18 of his previous 20 races and unbeaten at 1,400 metres or less - was yesterday a shadow of his former greatness. 'There must be something seriously wrong for him to run like that,' a concerned Da Silva said. 'Leading up to today, if he had galloped poorly once more on Thursday I would have told Tony not to run him. But his work was better and we've gone to the races but the horse obviously is not right. 'I haven't spoken to Tony about this yet, but I like the idea of sending Silent Witness to Lindsay Park in Australia and let him run around a paddock for a few months, let him get back to nature. 'He arrived here in 2002 and has never had a decent break, he's been in the stable all the time. If he has a good spell now, he could come back here next season and perhaps get back to where he was.' Stewards ordered a full veterinary inspection of Silent Witness but were none the wiser after the doctors had completed their work. 'The vets found nothing out of the ordinary,' chief stipendiary steward Jamie Stier said. Jockey Felix Coetzee, who has been on board Silent Witness in each of his 21 races, said his worries started very early in the 1,000 metres dash. 'After 200 metres, I was a bit concerned,' Coetzee said. 'After 400 metres, I thought, 'From this point, you're going to really, really have to lift'. But he didn't lift at all, and very soon after I knew we were no hope. He just didn't kick like he normally does. It just wasn't there.' Lindsay Park is the stud farm that belongs to former Hong Kong-based trainer David Hayes. If Silent Witness ends up going there, it will be an ironic twist to a long saga as far as the Australian horseman is concerned. Hayes trained the Da Silvas' previous good horse, Prime Witness, and was all set to be the trainer of their new 2002 private purchase griffin, Silent Witness, when Paulene Cruz intervened. At a social gathering one day she said to Da Silva: 'You're Portuguese, my husband is Portuguese, you should be supporting him.' And as simply as that, the best sprinter in the world left Hayes's stable before he'd even arrived.