11/22/2004 1:00AM

Silent Witness remains unbeaten


Silent Witness returned from a seven-month absence to win the $386,100 International Sprint Trial at Sha Tin on Sunday, extending his career record to 12 victories without a loss.

The victory in the five-furlong Group 2 race by Silent Witness, an Australian-bred gelding trained by Tony Cruz, sets him up perfectly for a defense of his Hong Kong Sprint title on Dec. 12. On Sunday he spotted nine rivals five pounds each while recording a one-length victory over Able Prince. Ridden by Felix Coetzee, Silent Witness, the odds-on favorite, covered the straight five furlongs on good-to-firm ground in 55.90 seconds. Cape of Good Hope, who had finished third and fourth in a pair of Group 1 sprints in England this summer, finished three lengths back in fourth.

Also at Sha Tin, The Duke (17-1) outgamed Meridian Star by a head to take the $386,100 International Mile Trial, the local prep for the Hong Kong Mile.

At Kyoto, Durandal (3-2) successfully defended his title in the $1.78 million Grade 1 Mile Championship with a two-length score over Dance in the Mood. British invader Rakti, winner of both the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot this year, missed the break and finished 14th of 16.