06/27/2005 12:00AM

Silent Witness again Hong Kong Horse of Year


Silent Witness garnered repeat honors as Hong Kong's Horse of the Year and champion sprinter for the 2004-2005 season at the annual Hong Kong Jockey Club Champion Awards presentation Saturday night.

Owned by Archie and Betty da Silva and trained by Tony Cruz, the 6-year-old gelding landed his second Hong Kong Sprint title as well as his second Hong Kong Sprint Series championship this past season.

Although his record of 17 lifetime races without a loss was ended by Bullish Luck on May 14 in the Champions Mile, his first attempt at that distance, Silent Witness ended the season as the highest-rated turf sprinter on the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings.

A narrow third-place finish in the one-mile Yasuda Kinen on June 5 at Tokyo, his first try away from Sha Tin, hardly dampened his achievement. Cruz said at the awards ceremony, however, that Silent Witness would return to sprinting for the remainder of his career.

After an attempt at his third straight Hong Kong Sprint title on Dec. 11, Silent Witness will be aimed at the Global Sprint Series, which includes races in Australia, Japan and in England at Royal Ascot. The inaugural edition of that series was won this year by the Hong Kong-based Cape of Good Hope, who received the Special Achievement Award for his accomplishments, which included winning Group 1 races in both Australia and England.

The Cruz-trained Bullish Luck was named champion miler, while Vengeance of Rain was named both champion middle-distance horse and champion stayer for his victories in the Hong Kong Derby, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Hong Kong Champions and Chater Cup, all Group 1 events.