03/13/2004 1:00AM

Silent Witness goes 10 for 10


Silent Witness extended his unbeaten record to 10 races at Sha Tin on Saturday with a handy score in the Centenary Sprint Cup.

In defeating Cape of Good Hope by 2 1/2 lengths in the five-furlong, $577,350 sprint, the Australian-bred Silent Witness equaled the record for consecutive victories in Hong Kong set by Co-Tack in 1983. Sent off at less than 1-5, he led all the way in this second leg of the Hong Kong Sprint Championship, covering the distance in 56.20 seconds.

With $2.74 million in his bankroll, Silent Witness will attempt to complete the Sprint Championship triple in the Chairman's Sprint Prize on

April 25, after which owners Arthur and Betty da Silva and trainer Tony Cruz will decide whether to send Silent Witness to Royal Ascot.

Silent Witness's biggest victory came Dec. 14 in the Hong Kong Sprint when he defeated South Africa's champion sprinter National Currency, who died under mysterious circumstances in Dubai on Thursday after having apparently recovered from a foot abscess.

The 6 1/2-length winner of the listed Al Shindagha Sprint in his first start on dirt at Nad Al Sheba on Feb. 5, National Currency had been ruled out of the Dubai Golden Shaheen after the abscess was discovered, but he later developed laminitis and a pedal bone problem and had to be euthanized. His connections, who were aiming National Currency at Royal Ascot and the Breeders' Cup Sprint, believe the foot abscess may have been caused by a bite from either a snake or a scorpion.

A 5-year-old son of the Danzig stallion National Assembly, National Currency won 10 of 15 starts for earnings of $490,210.