Star Witness First Off The Blocks At Royal Ascot

By: Ryan Clark
June 10th, 2011

Star Witness will be the first of the Aussies in action at Royal Ascot when he takes to the track in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday.

All reports are that he’s handles the long haul flight with ease and is settle into his new surroundings comfortably.

He’ll but put through his final track work later today Australian time to just give him a final tune up before the feature event.

Trainer Danny O’Brien has made the English journey before back in 2006 with Glamour Puss and he’s confident he has the horse right to make a big impact on Tuesday.

“I’ve been over here before and got beaten but didn’t want to come back again unless I had one with a good chance and I think I’ve got one now,” O’Brien said.

“If Star Witness turns up in the form he was in for Melbourne Cup week, which I hope he is, then he is going to be hard to beat.

“He is also six months older and stronger from then. He was super impressive in a barrier trial before getting on the plane out here.”

O’Brien is thorough in pointing out that this was not a spur of the moment trip and that as far back as when he was a two-year-old it was something he had in mind.

“Coming to Ascot has been at the back of my mind ever since he won his second start and we’ve been pretty conservative with him this season because of that,” O’Brien said.

“He’s only raced twice since Melbourne Cup week in November and that has been by design because I was thinking that the races that would really suit him were up here.”

Making the trip easier is his travelling companion Hinchinbrook which will be in action the following Saturday in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee.

It’s a race that he too could compete in depending how he runs on Tuesday and how well he pulls up from the event.

Star Witness will not be seen racing again in Australia and will instead be sent to Widden Stud to begin a life as a breeder.

If he could add an international Group 1 win to his resume it would drastically increase the value of his service fee and make him an incredibly attractive prospect for broodmare owners.

Helping his cause is the experience ride of Stephen Arnold who has had success in England before with a win in the Kings Stand Stakes as recently as 2009 on Scenic Blast.

O’Brien is confident everything has fallen into place for a huge performance on Tuesday and he’s enthusiastic about what it will mean for him and the wider Australian sprinting reputation.

“It’s great that the Australian horses keep travelling to England and we hope to keep up the good record at Royal Ascot,” O’Brien said.

“The race is no afterthought and I certainly think he’s capable of winning.”

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