Witness a star

After enduring a spring from hell, Danny O'Brien provided further evidence at Moonee Valley just what a rollercoaster ride racing can be.

With only a solitary city win to his name during the Spring Carnival, O'Brien made it four winners from as many metropolitan races when Star Witness made an impressive debut in the Tatts Group Plate.

O'Brien trained a winning treble with his last three runners at Sandown on Wednesday before Star Witness completed the quadrella.

While the colt still has much to learn, Star Witness, the first crop from former champion Starcraft, made a telling impact on both O'Brien and jockey Nick Hall.

O'Brien described Star Witness, a $150,000 purchase from the Magic Millions sale, as a "quality colt" who is the pick of the juveniles in work at his stables.

Hall said that once Star Witness learned about the racing caper, he could be "exceptional".

Star Witness is related to Ferocity, an Ascot Vale Stakes winner for O'Brien, who noted the colt would not be pushed towards the $1 million Magic Millions on the Gold Coast in January.

"It's such a hard task getting them going the reverse way and travelling them up to the Gold Coast in the hot weather," O'Brien said.

"We'll probably come back in a couple of weeks for a Listed Race and then look at him for the autumn. He's such a natural, he's one of those horses that is very mature physically and mentally and he's been thriving."

Star Witness, a drifter from $3 to $3.70, just grabbed Flokkati, backed from $4.60 to $3.80 second favourite, to win by a short half head with a half neck to third-placed Josimar ($15).

Johnnydrama ($3.50 fav) faded to finish sixth.

Danny Nikolic, rider of Josimar, fired in a protest against the winner alleging interference over the concluding stages.

Nikolic said that as his horse began to close fast near the 100 metres, he was taken four to five horses off his course by Star Witness.

"He (Star Witness) took my running when I was finishing over the top of him. I had to put the stick away, it cost me momentum and cost me winning the race," Nikolic said.

Hall agreed his colt had shifted out, but said it would have been impossible for Josimar to make up the difference between the horses inside the final 40 metres.

Stewards, chaired by Alan Reardon, dismissed the objection.

Reardon agreed with Hall that the proximity of the interference to the winning post made it impossible to reverse the placings.

Story by Adrian Dunn, to view Herald Sun story click here

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's wesbite click here

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