05/13/2005 11:00PM

Silent Witness's win streak ends at 17


The perfect 17-race record of Silent Witness came to an end on Saturday when he was beaten a short head by his Tony Cruz-trained stablemate Bullish Luck in the Group 1, $1 million Champions Mile at Sha Tin.

In his first try beyond seven furlongs, and only his second beyond six furlongs, Silent Witness put up a brave front-running performance as the 1-5 favorite. Always about 1 1/2 lengths clear of the field, Silent Witness and rider Feliz Coetzee were challenged by Bullish Luck at the furlong pole and only beaten in the final strides. British invader Attraction, the winner last year of both the English 1000 Guineas and the Irish 1000 Guineas, missed the break and never really got into contention, weakening to finish 11th of 13 in her first start in more than seven months.

Bullish Luck, at 8-1, owes his victory to an enterprising ride from his French rider, Gerald Mosse. Although breaking from post 2 just outside Silent Witness, Mosse was instructed by Cruz to take an outside route, but he decided on a ground-saving ride along the rail. Towards the rear early on, Bullish Luck, a gelded son of Royal Academy, moved into contention entering the 2 1/2-furlong stretch. He angled out approaching the furlong pole and nailed Silent Witness near the line. His time for the mile on good to firm ground was 1:33.70.

Cruz said that he was "a bit disappointed for Silent Witness but I'm happy that I train Bullish Luck too. His owner, Wong Wing Keung, is a very good friend of mine."

Bullish Luck was only a short head second to Alexander Goldrun in the

1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 12, and had since won the Groupo1 Stewards Cup and the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy at Sha Tin, both at a mile. He will travel to Tokyo for the June 5 Yasuda Kinen. If he wins he will earn a $1omillion bonus for having landed both legs of the Asian Mile Challenge.

Meanwhile, the 6-year-old Silent Witness will go on vacation.

"He needs a break now and will come back [in the autumn]," said owner Archie da Silva. "We'll have another crack at this race next year. I'm very proud of him because he has proven he can stay a mile."

Rakti crushes Lockinge foes

Rakti annihilated a strong field in the $372,000 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, leading virtually throughout to land the Group 1 mile in track-record time by five widening lengths from longshot Mac Love.

Making his first start since having finished seventh in the 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 12, the 3-2 Rakti soon took over the lead from Australian invader Elvstroem, setting a fast pace on the unusually firm straight mile course. Quickening under Philip Robinson at the quarter pole, Rakti gave no one else a chance as he smashed the old course mark for a mile by 1.60 seconds, stopping the clock at 1:33.59.

The 40-1 Mac Love chased the winner home, with two-time Group 2 Sandown Mile winner Hurricane Alan third. Dubai Duty Free champ Elvstroem faded to fourth, with Group 1 winners Le Vie dei Colori and Grand Emporium sixth and seventh, and Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Antonius Pius last of eight.

A 6-year-old son of Polish Precedent, Rakti had won the

1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes at Newmarket two years ago and had scored in the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes and the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last year. Trained by Michael Jarvis for Gary Tanaka, he will be pointed to Royal Ascot at York for the Groupo1 Queen Anne Stakes at a mile on June 14.