Sunday 4 December 2016

O'Brien confident Star Witness can make history

Marcus Armytage

Published 06/07/2011 | 05:00

Star Witness may have hit the woodwork a couple of times inside five days at Royal Ascot but he gets one last chance to make racing history on Saturday by becoming the first Australian winner of the £400,000 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

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Many, including Ascot winners Choisir, Takeover Target and Scenic Blast, have tried to take the July Cup back to Australia since it became part of the Global Sprint Challenge but all failed.

However, if trainer Danny O'Brien learned anything from his reconnaissance with Glamour Puss five years ago, it was not to go to England as an afterthought.

"We brought him over just needing the run in the King's Stand, although we still hoped to win it," O'Brien said. "But because of that he has held his form."

Yesterday the colt, who will go into quarantine straight after the race on Saturday before returning home to assume stallion duties, worked over the last five furlongs of the July Course under his jockey Steven Arnold.

"The horse didn't appear to have any problems with the dips and rises," said O'Brien. "He was strong through to the line in the gallop. Steven felt Star Witness was at home on the course -- I'm sure there are some horses which don't handle it.

"He's as good as he was on Golden Jubilee day. He ran really well that day without the conditions being quite in his favour and he's certainly not gone backwards since. There is never a Group One in a country like England that is going to be easy and if we can win it we will have done a very good job."

Meanwhile, Blue Bunting will seek her second Classic of the year in the Darley Irish Oaks at The Curragh on July 17.

Godolphin's filly has already rewarded her connections by winning the English 1,000 Guineas and produced another respectable effort when fourth in the Oaks at Epsom.

"Blue Bunting seems in good form and runs in the Irish Oaks," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

Crisford was able to provide an update on some of the team's other stars, starting off with Rewilding. "He's in good form, and goes for the King George," he said. Saamidd has only been seen once this season, when well down the field behind Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas, while the winter 1,000 favourite White Moonstone and the smart recruit from Dermot Weld, Dubai Prince, have not been out this year.

Crisford said: "White Moonstone is in light training and we hope Saamidd will be back quicker. We'll have to see if White Moonstone comes back this year, while Dubai Prince is back in training and should be back later this year. Hopefully Saamidd will be too." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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