02/27/2006 12:00AM

Sprint star Silent Witness fails to fire in Hong Kong


Silent Witness suffered the worst loss of his brilliant career at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday when he was beaten five lengths into seventh place by Scintillation in the Group 1 Centenary Sprint Cup.

The winner of 17 of his previous 19 starts and undefeated in all 17 of his starts at sprint distances, Silent Witness raced in seventh place virtually throughout in the $580,000 stakes. The 1-2 favorite, unraced since having won the Sprinters Stakes in Japan on Oct. 2, Silent Witness closed the gap slightly at the quarter pole but failed to menace the leaders.

The 3-1 Scintillation, meanwhile, came with a stirring late run under Eric Saint-Martin to defeat Hong Kong Sprint winner Natural Blitz by a half-length, with Hong Kong Sprint runner-up Planet Ruler a half-length farther back in third. The time for the straight five furlongs on good to firm ground was 56.30 seconds.

A Group 3 winner going a mile on New Year's Day at Sha Tin, Scintillation will be aimed by trainer Danny Shum at the six-furlong, Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize on March 26. No decision has been made about Silent Witness's next race.

Later, the 8-1 Super Kid captured the Group 1, $1.03 million Hong Kong Gold Cup by a head from Bullish Luck. Super Kid covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.80.

* Hat Trick, winner of the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on Dec. 11, finished a dull 11th in the 1 1/8-mile, Group 2 Nakayama Kinen on Sunday, thus casting doubt on his participation in the Dubai Duty Free. Hat Trick failed to handle the yielding ground as the 14-1 Balance of Game sped to a five-length victory over Daiwa Major.